Monday, April 22, 2013

The Rubble of Doubt and Unbelief

This is a continuation of some thoughts springing from the Rocky Mountain Bible Mission’s Shepherd’s Conference, held April 16-18 in Missoula.  Speaker Joel Van Hoogen spoke on Removing the Rubble from the Wells of our Salvation, based on Genesis 26:12-18.

After challenging us to pursue a deeper life in Christ, Joel went on to explode some of the rubble that the enemy would love to use to fill the wells of our salvation. 

The first type of rubble he discussed was doubt or unbelief.  This is a failure to reckon on an all-powerful, active God.  When we are caught in this kind of thinking, God becomes an intellectual or even a sentimental notion to us.  He becomes an abstraction, rather than a personal God. 

What we are missing here is the idea that God is active in our world and that we live every day for His glory and under His gaze.  In the midst of doubt or unbelief, we miss that He is personal in our lives.  That He is able to act beyond what we can fathom with our human minds.  That He is sovereign in His purpose and plan for our lives and our world.  We become like the audience of the book of Hebrews who were warned against an evil, unbelieving heart that can lead a person away from the living God. (Heb. 3:12)

So, how do we know when the rubble of doubt or unbelief is starting to fill the wells of our salvation?  First, it will show up in your prayer life.  Your prayer will be rote and unfeeling.  It will be a recitation or an obligation.  It will be casual and ordinary.  It won’t be an entrance into the very throne room of God.  It won’t be filled with awe and reverence.  It won’t be overwhelmed with the glory of God or by the fact that we have the privilege to enter into the very presence of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Second, this rubble will show up in our private life.  Are you concerned if someone knows about your private life?  Is there anything you would like to hide from them?  Are we concerned with the opinion of others?  Are we more concerned about the opinion of others than we are of the opinion of God?  Are we unconcerned about a lack of holiness before God in our life?  Have we become like the elders of Israel, sinning in the dark, in private, thinking that God does not see their sin or that God is unconcerned about their sin? (Ezek. 8:12)

And third, the rubble of doubt will show up in our expectations in life.  It will show up in the solutions we offer to our problems. It will show up in how and where we direct others who come to us for counsel and advice.  You see, when the rubble of doubt and unbelief is starting to pile up in our well, we no longer really believe God is a life-changing God.  We no longer really believe God can transform us or those around us.  We would rather trust “tips” for a better marriage or “lessons” in integrity than the life-altering, soul-transforming power of God.  In essence we have given up on God and His ability to change – both ourselves and others.

Can you relate to any of this?  If so, there is hope and it is found in the truths of our salvation.  In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the apostle tells us that:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

God is active in our lives.  As a result of our new life in Christ, we have been granted all things for life and godliness.  Because we are a new creation, imparted with a new life in Jesus, we partake of the divine nature.  We are not gods, but we do have the life of God in us through Jesus.  As a result, we have escaped the corruption of the world.  We recognize sin still clings, but our real identity in found in our new life in Christ.  It is a life that can and will empower our prayers, bring holiness to our lives and change the way we see God’s work in our lives and the lives of others.

It is time to remove the rubble of doubt and unbelief from our lives through repentance, allowing the refreshing life of Christ to bubble up in everything we do.

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