Both belief and unbelief bring the greatest challenges in life as they dispute with each other. Both require you to reason through personal preference, emotions, and the call of God on your life. This is precisely what Thomas faced when confronted with the resurrected Lord Jesus. Jesus challenged both his belief and disbelief by saying; “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27).
Sin is crafty; deceiving humans into thinking that as long as you are in spiritual negotiation mode, all is well. Well, sin is a liar! Paul warned of people like this; they are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). How does this happen? At some point they choose to be content with knowing a little about Jesus without actually knowing Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Dispute over ownership
For them, unbelief wins the internal dispute over who has the right of total ownership of their lives. Here is the heart of spiritual anxiety. Sin says “relax, eat, drink, be merry.” (Luke 12:19). Jesus says “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). The dispute over your soul is powerful and demanding of total control by both sides. Yet only Christ offers peace from God with eternal life as the result of belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Only Christ offers eternal companionship, faithfulness and security.
With such an amazing commitment from Christ to those who believe, it’s understandable that he requires total surrender from those who believe. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Half-hearted belief can only produce discontentment, insecurity, and a spiritually fatalistic view of life.
The basic difference is that partial belief, while thinking of itself as religious, is selective as to which parts of God’s Word it chooses to believe and obey. Convenience and compromise tends to be the goal of weak or counterfeit belief. The Psalmist however, shows us the right attitude; ”Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments” (Psalms 119:66). “My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word” (Psalms 119:81). “I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end” (Psalms 119:112).
The soft-hearted solution
I encourage you to develop a soft-hearted attitude towards God’s Word. An attitude that genuinely seeks after God’s truth. To obey without arguing, and with a humble long term view in mind. This attitude gets God’s attention because it’s pleasing to Him. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:8-10).
God’s arch enemy will most likely try to distract you from such genuine belief which surrenders to the Lord. He’s shrewd; he knows how to put obstacles in your way. He’s always placing things and people in your life to dishearten and side tract you. He’s the master of discouragement; taking your attention away from loyal obedience to Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Remember, Satan works hard at these things in your life because he knows that Christ has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Christ” (Colossians 2:15). Only in Christ can victory be had; victory that lasts through this life, past the grave, and into eternity.