The Root of Unbelief

Feb 21, 2022 | Blog

So often we labor with a feeling of unbelief without understanding where unbelief really comes from. The disciples faced unbelief when Christ told them, “I’m going to suffer many things, be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (see Matthew 16:21). But they were not ready for Christ to disappear from their sight! That was not what they wanted to see happen. He was supposed to stay here, be the King, and solve all their problems with the Romans.


One of the greatest things God did in creating humanity was to give us free will. God wants us to do His will, but He does not want us to be robots. He does not force mankind to do His will. He wants to work with us and bring us to the place where we delight to do His will (Psalm 40:8). This is what the Lord was pointing out to Peter, “You are only interested in what you want, and your will is set to see that happen” (see Matthew 16:23). This is really what we face.


We see this same unbelief manifesting in the disciples even after Christ’s resurrection. The Lord appeared to them and asked, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38).​[1] They were still struggling with unbelief because their wills had never changed. Yeshua (Jesus) unfolded everything that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, but they still wanted to make Him King on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Yeshua was getting ready to go to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33). He was going to disappear out of their sight and leave them to finish what He began by witnessing to the entire world (Acts 1:8). But they did not want that. Instead they thought, “Now that You’re resurrected, You can really be King. You can stay here, feed us fish and bread every day, and do all these wonderful things for us.” They had their own wants and desires. Likewise, we need to see how deeply our desires conflict with God’s will and desires.


We often think, “I know I’m struggling with unbelief, but if I could just see a miracle or a sign, I would believe in You” (John 6:30, 12:37). You will never believe because of signs or miracles. The disciples not only saw miracles, but they also moved in miracles. Christ sent them out before Him into the villages and they healed the sick and did all the same works that Yeshua did (Mark 6:7, 13). Yet they still labored with unbelief.


Why do we have unbelief? It is because of our hardness of heart that allows our wills to become immovable. Whatever God does still does not change our demands and requirements on Him. The Lord still has to move within the boundaries that we create. We cry, “Lord, fill me with Your Spirit.” And He replies, “It is hard to fill a cup that is already full of its own wants and desires.”
This may seem a little scary, but you are getting ready to walk with God. If you are going to have a relationship with Him, you must open your heart and allow Him to cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Be willing to be led by His Spirit. We have Yeshua as our example, and God will work in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).


[1] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).

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