Devotional: Unbelief: the remedy
An important barrier in practically applying the truths of our identification with Christ is unbelief. What then is the remedy for unbelief? It's contained in one brief verse of the epistle to the Romans, chapter 10 verse 17:
“ Faith comes from hearing the message.” (NIV)
Note, the opening phrase ‑ "Faith comes..." If you don't have faith, you can get it. I learned this from personal experience. In World War II as a soldier serving with the British forces in North Africa, I contracted a disease which the doctors in that climate were not able to heal. I lay in hospitals in Egypt as a patient about one year. As I lay there I wrestled through many spiritual battles and problems. One of the main problems was unbelief.
I had just about a year previously come to know the Lord Jesus Christ in a very real and personal way. I'd come to accept the Bible as the Word of God. As I lay there I knew enough of God's power to be sure that God could heal me. And I believed that God would heal me if I had faith. But the next thing I would say to myself was, "But I don't have faith.".
But one day I read Romans 10:17 and I grasped those words, "Faith comes from hearing..." If could get faith! I made up my mind at that moment that I would get faith, that I would listen to what God was saying with all my heart and mind until faith came. I want to tell you that faith did come. Faith came through another passage of scripture that I want to quote to you. It's the passage that got me out of the hospital... It's in Proverbs chapter 4, verses 20 through 22:
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they [that's God's words and sayings] are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (KJV)
There are four instructions: attend; incline your ear (which means listen, be humble, be teachable); let them not depart from thine eyes (focus on them, don't look at anything else but the promises of God), and keep them in the midst of your heart. That's real hearing, what Paul calls hearing in Romans 10:17. As we really hear the word of Christ, the message of what Jesus has done ‑ as we close our ears to every source of unbelief, to everything that questions, to everything that criticizes, to everything that undermines ‑ and as we listen with focused attention to what the Bible is saying to us about what Jesus has done on the cross, faith comes.
Now the good news is that God has no favourites. He didn't do something special for me that he wouldn't do for you. Faith comes to anyone who meets those conditions. Faith will come to you just as it came to me.
If you will make up your mind that you're going to fasten your thoughts, your attention, your eyes, your ears on what God says in His Word, that's the source of faith. It's the word of Christ. It's what God has done for us through Jesus Christ "faith comes by hearing..." Don't be discouraged. Get out of that lonely valley of despair. Don't give way to unbelief. "Faith comes by hearing..."
Thank You, Father, that You give faith, by the hearing of Your Word. I want to listen to You Lord, incline my ear to You, I want to keep Your Word in my heart and before my eyes, so Your Spirit can work out in my life the faith I need for the purposes You have set before me. Thank You for Your help and grace, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!