Is it strange to discuss unbelief connected to good things? Many of us would argue, “Of course I believe when things are good. That is when believing is easy.”
But is that really true? When the going is good is believing easier?
I know that in my own life that is not the case. As a matter of fact, I am better at believing during struggles than during success. Struggles break me, lead me to submit, lead me to ask for help…but success, it empowers me, leads me to trust in my own talents, leads me to think I do not need any help.
John Stott, in Basic Christianity, writes, “True faith with translate mental belief into a decisive act of trust.” Believing requires trusting. Believing certainly requires giving mental ascent to certain truths about God revealed in Jesus Christ, but mental acceptance without soulful trust is still unbelief.
Success, at least for me, guides me to rely on myself, to trust in my own strength. Success guides me to turn from giving God all the glory to trying to make a name for myself (Genesis 11, 1 Samuel 15). In other words, success is cause of my unbelief. Thus, although we are saying it for different reasons, I can proclaim like the father in Mark 9, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
I pray that God will confront me with my tendency to blame him for struggles and praise myself for success. I will rethink what I am striving to achieve. I will consider is my life being lived in vain or on purpose.