During the three years of Jesus’ ministry, there was one thing that hindered His ability to work miracles more than anything else—unbelief. In Nazareth, for example, Jesus’ neighbors and childhood friends refused to accept Him. He was met with resistance and as a result, “He did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58). Just as unbelief hindered Jesus’ ministry in the first century, unbelief continues to hinder believers today. In fact, there are two ways Christians practice unbelief that keep them from experiencing all the Lord has for them.
1. By Not Knowing God’s Word
God has given His Word to mankind so that we can know Him and better understand His will. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” What a glorious gift the Lord has given us! And yet, how many Christians resist picking it up and reading it? How many believers do not make Bible study a part of their lives? Sadly, if we don’t know what God has already told us in His Word or if we ignore the wealth of knowledge and wisdom contained within it, then we will surely fall into unbelief. We will begin to trust the world’s wisdom instead of God’s.
2. By Not Acting on God’s Word
Of course, knowing what the Word says and acting on it are two different things. If we refuse to act on the Word, then we limit the influence it can have on us. For instance, we may know how to stand in faith, but if we refuse to do it, we won’t reap the rewards. James 1:22 tells us, “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” If we want to enjoy a Spirit-led, faith-filled life, we must not only give the Word a premier position in our lives—reading, studying, discussing, praying about and memorizing it—we must also act upon it. For example, among other things, we must:
- Forgive – Matthew 6:14-15
- Love – 1 Corinthians 16:14
- Give – 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Live with Integrity – Proverbs 11:3
Living a life of faith and enjoying the benefits of a life of faith take effort. One of the first steps to both is removing unbelief from our lives. By focusing on the Word and acting upon what we learn from it, unbelief will be removed and we’ll enjoy the Spirit-led life that we desire to live, filled with faith. Then we’ll know with certainly that “with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37, KJV)!