Practical Unbelief

by Susan Sampson

Stop and think. This is what stood out to me from the recent Beyond Belief lecture. Stop and think. So many times the verse in James that says be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) has come into my mind and yet I still struggle with thinking before I speak! Reacting in my flesh instead of stopping and thinking about the path I want to take – flesh- which leads to death or Spirit – which leads to life. I am again reminded of the term from our homework – “practical unbelief.” This is one of the big ways “practical unbelief” still rules my life.

My first job out of college was as a paralegal. I think it was the first week of work and the attorney I worked for called me into his office, handed me a document, and asked me to look for the heirs. Well, I thought he said to look for the “errors”. So I happily went back to my office and thoroughly proofread the document, and pleased with my efforts, presented it back to him. Of course, much to my dismay he looked at me like I was a total idiot and that he regretted hiring me when he said, “No, the heirs – this is a probate document and we have to notify the heirs of the death of our client.”

It is obviously so important that we understand absolute truth and what it is we truly believe. To be aware of the “errors” we are believing and acting upon everyday. I was also remembering a time when someone shared how the treasury department and FBI agents learn to spot counterfeit money. They study the real thing until they know every millimeter of the real bills. They go over and over and over the true bills so they will then be able to spot the false ones. We will not know what is false if we don’t immerse ourselves in the truth of God’s Word.

John MacArthur was quoted in the lecture as saying there is nothing as important as divine truth! And the greatest reality the world possesses is divine truth! Wow! Do I truly believe this? Sitting here in the comfort of my own home, with no kids around, my husband hard at work for his family, and the dryer kindly drying my laundry for me, I would answer wholeheartedly, YES! But then again, there’s that practical unbelief.

It shows up when I hit the snooze repeatedly. When my phone reminder pops up and I don’t look at my Taking the Truth to Heart box. When I forget to work on my memory verses for a couple of days. When I get up from my quiet time and if you asked me what verse I wrote down in my Taking the Truth to Heart box I would not be able to tell you because I forgot what I so convictingly wrote down just hours before. When I get frustrated with my child who left their homework page at school and we have to turn back around (even though I just forgot something earlier that day) and when I put my needs before my husband’s. I’m sure there are so many other ways this is evident.

Praise God for His grace! He knows we are weak and He remembers we are dust (Psalm 103)! Praise God for the body of Christ and for a discipleship ministry that is teaching me how to turn from my practical unbelief and take the truth of God’s Word to my heart and live it out in my life day-by-day. Praise God for the gift of confession and like-minded women who are teaching me how to confess my sins and live in the light and fellowship of other believers. Praise the Lord for His Spirit who lives inside of us and is actively working to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord for sending His one and only Son to live a perfect life that I could not live and die the horrifying death that I deserve.

Our lives truly are not our own. We have been bought with a price. This is true. This what the Lord has told us in His Word. May He give us His grace to truly stop and think about what we have been given, the amazing gift of eternal life, and compare it to the eternal punishment we deserve. So much so that true and humble gratitude and love would well up from the depths of our souls that we would be compelled by the love of God to live the life we have been called to live. Lives of repentance and faith. Love and trust. Peace and joy.

Praying for more grace to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) by putting our flesh to death and taking God’s living and active Word to heart and living it out daily, hour by hour, moment by moment.

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