Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Give Me That Old Time Religion"1 (Lyrics)
I live in a busy, distracted society, in which many have no belief in the Lord God, His Son Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. There are so many things vying for my attention: my job, social media, following the news, spending time with friends and family — not to speak of reading time in my large collection of books! I feel distracted, too, and unbelief tugs at my heart at times, especially when a critical comment derails me or an unkind person puts me down. If I even thought that this was anything new, I have no further to look than in the book of Hebrews, whose writer addressed fading belief and enthusiasm for God among believers.
Hebrews 3:12-15 – Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is still called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." (NKJV)
Unbelief is not taken seriously today by many nominal Christians. It's a real unwillingness to acknowledge and trust in the living God, and a conscious choice to walk away from Him, to be in opposition to Him. Not believing in God's greatness and loving promises can seriously weaken a Christian, especially one who has lost connection with God's church. I am wired for connection to God, and I need the constant charge of encouragement from other Christians not to become hardened to sin's deceitfulness or to allow unbelief to creep in.
I connect with what the father of the spirit-possessed boy said in Mark 9:24 — "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" When unbelief tugged at my heart, and church services were suspended in the past year, I turned to favourite Christian authors, like Max Lucado and Rick Warren, for a boost of encouragement. Another favourite author is C.S. Lewis, and I enjoyed his space trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus, and That Hideous Strength. Through the adventures of the main character, Ransom, Lewis speaks much to my struggle to keep believing in the face of criticism and opposition. There is also the encouragement of spiritual music, in all its forms, to lift my heart to joy and hope in His presence.
Let us all listen to His voice while it is still called Today, recognizing our need for our Lord, and renewing our faith in Him.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, as we struggle to keep our eyes on You, even when pressed on all sides by unbelief and criticism, we pray that we will hear Your voice in Your Word, Your faithful writers, and Your musical praise sung by other believers. Amen.