[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 11 October 2015 ]
What’s the difference between disbelief and unbelief? Disbelief is refusing to believe right from the beginning. Unbelief is when you believed in the beginning, but you encountered something that made you stop believing.
Many of us actually experienced unbelief – because of doubts.
Read | Matthew 14:28-31
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Did you start with great faith and then suddenly, you took your eyes of Jesus onto the things that got you afraid? Do you feel like you’re sinking in the “halfway”? When Peter was facing this, Jesus said, “O you of little faith” and then He continued with, “Why did you doubt?”
Doubt sinks you, but faith keeps you afloat.
Doubt comes in when your focus changes
Doubt will happen, imperfection will occur, tests will come, but it’s important to know that having little faith is alright as long as you purpose to grow your faith.
When Peter started, he was aware of the challenges, but he got stuck after looking closely at the boisterous wind. Perhaps the expected challenges have not changed, it is your focus that has changed.
Having faith to not only start but to also finish
The world says, “All good things must come to an end.” But if God is good and He is good all the time, and if He is still alive and at work, then we don’t have to accept that good things will cease even in bad times.
Read | Mark 5:21-43
When Jairus and Jesus were on their way to Jairus’ house, people came to announce that Jairus’ daughter was dead and there was no need to trouble Jesus anymore. But Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
When Jesus entered the house, He pronounced that the child was not dead but sleeping. The crowd ridiculed Him for saying that. Then, Jesus drove out all those who have unbelief and disbelief and did a miracle in front of the people who had faith – the resurrection of the child.
Where does doubt get his voice, does it come from anger, frustration and betrayal? Because I know where faith gets his voice – from God.
Read | Romans 10:17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Doubt can cause you to have fellowship with other doubters. If you dislike your boss or your teacher, you might find others who also dislike your boss or teacher and form a clique. Alternatively, you could choose to push by faith and hear what faith is saying. Jairus chose to hear Jesus when doubt tries to enter.
All it takes is having faith as small as a mustard seed
Read | Matthew 17:19-20
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Same thing here, the reason the disciples could not cast out the demon was because of their unbelief, also known as doubt. Why does Jesus say is faith like a seed? Whenever we sow a seed, we can expect it to grow into a mature and fruitful tree. So, change your seed of doubt to a seed of faith and grow your faith.
Your idea of great and good will be challenged
When you’re in a place of doubt, the good things in your mind will be tested. And when they are tested, you must follow God’s definition of good. For example, your good might be, “I must study at University A!” But in the end, you’re in University B. If you understand God’s definition of good, you will know why God has placed you there.
Read | James 1:2-8
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Ask God for wisdom in faith and He will give it liberally and without reproach. But if you doubt, you will receive nothing from the Lord.
You could be saying, “I’m not as excited as I first was when I stepped into this church, into this relationship, into this project. There are so many things that have eaten up my passion. How can I come back to this place of faith, and only believe.”
Jesus who is in a place of faith will grab your hand and pull you out. But it is your decision now, do you continue to walk in the path of doubt, do you start walking in faith and rely on God?
Written by Jayden Thean
Edited by Hailey Chung