It was Saturday night, just before ‘lights out.’ So I grabbed my copy of Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol. 1 & 2, and turned to his message “The Sin of Unbelief.” Reading from this book prepares my heart to worship on Sunday mornings. There’s always something I come across from him that drives me deeper in my devotion.
This one was originally preached on January 14, 1855 at the New Park Street Chapel in London. Midway through the sermon, I found what I was looking for. Mr. Spurgeon reaches his third point on how “unbelief disables a man for the performance of any good work.. Yea, even in Christians themselves, unbelief disables them.” He then precedes to share from the life of Peter:1
While he had faith, Peter walked on the waves of the sea. That was a splendid walk; I almost envy him treading upon the billows. Why, if Peter’s faith had continued, he might have walked across the Atlantic to America. But presently there came a billow behind him, and he said, “That will sweep me away;” and then another before, and he cried out, “That will overwhelm me;” and he thought—how could I be so presumptuous as to be walking on the top of these waves? Down goes Peter. Faith was Peter’s life-buoy; faith was Peter’s charm—it kept him up; but unbelief sent him down.
Do you know that you and I, all our lifetime, will have to walk on the water? A Christian’s life is always walking on water—mine is—and every wave would swallow and devour him, but faith makes him stand. The moment you cease to believe, that moment distress comes in, and down you go. Oh! wherefore dost thou doubt, then?
Faith fosters every virtue; unbelief murders every one. Thousands of prayers have been strangled in their infancy by unbelief. Unbelief has been guilty of infanticide; it has murdered many an infant petition; many a song of praise that would have swelled the chorus of the skies, has been stifled by an unbelieving murmur; many a noble enterprise conceived in the heart has been blighted ere it could come forth, by unbelief. Many a man would have been a missionary; would have stood and preached his Master’s gospel boldly; but he had unbelief. Once make a giant unbelieving, and he becomes a dwarf. Faith is the Samsonian lock of the Christian; cut it off, and you may put out his eyes—and he can do nothing.
This excerpt hit me like a caffeine crash. How many times have I failed—proving to be cynical instead of confident in His promises—timid as opposed to trusting in the Author of my faith?
There are times when we can’t see beyond our circumstances, when things are not turning out the way we think they should. And that’s the problem, isn’t it? We give birth to this kind of unbelief, and do so often. Call it a realization that we are powerless in our own strength. That we don’t know what today holds.
Yet, we can pray just like the father of a demon-possessed boy did in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” It is a cry of submission. A prayer for Divine assistance. We too, can ask for God’s deliverance from this sin of unbelief; and then refocus our attention on the assurances found only in His Word.
Remember, He is able (check out Eph 3:20).