Praying til Pentecost Day 24
"Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." John 20:29
Roadside traffic signs are some of the least appreciated message boards in the world. No one takes them seriously. The "YIELD" sign has to have the greatest inferiority complex. Does anyone ever really yield to the traffic that is already on the main artery? Usually the first response of most drivers is to speed up and squeeze in ahead of the opposition as if a checkered flag is just a few feet away.
The various speed limit signs do get not much respect either. Regardless of the number that is posted on them, they are always rounded up or ignored altogether. Unless there is the presence of the resident patrol officer or state police car, the warning sign does not get much notice.
Flashing lights on the dashboard of a car, or bells that ding with warning signals are meant to be aids in caring for a vehicle or to be careful to buckle up for a safe trip. People have been known to put black tape over the lights and disconnect the seat belt bells. They were the same people who inspired the great Madison Avenue campaign for an oil company, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."
The fifty days that separated the disciples from the gift of The Promise of the Holy Spirit were filled with unbelief. The unpardonable sin is the sin of unbelief, and Christ followers should be on the alert for any sign of it creeping back into their lives.
What are some of the signs that should not be ignored?
- Unstable in the face of crisis; talking more, and praying less.
- Nearsighted: determined to live on the basis of "Seeing is believing."
- Bitter: annoyed with God's habit of exposing lack of faith, and a lot of fear in your life.
- Embarrassed by the magnitude of God's promises and the wasteland of your reality.
- Locked in the prison of previous experiences and conventional wisdom.
- Impatient with the pace of events leading up to God's provision and deliverance.
- Exhausted by the effort it takes to make God look good to unbelieving people.
- Fear of consequences resulting from God's failure to get in on your agenda or on your schedule.
Jesus marveled or wondered at the unbelief of the people of His hometown who could trust Him to heal them, but could not find the faith to believe in Him as their Savior. His assessment of the day's work was different from those who had seen him perform miracles in their town. He was of the opinion that He had been unable to do any great work (miracle) there except heal a few people. The last word on the subject says much about what Jesus thought was important. "He wondered at their unbelief." (Mark 6:6)
When Jesus encountered an honest man who cried out, "Help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24) He met him at the point of his need, and helped him through the barrier of unbelief.
Principle: Unbelief is the flashing light on the dashboard of your faith that points out something is not right under the hood of your heart.
Jesus felt very strongly about unbelief in any form, and He especially warned against speaking any blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31)
In Greek language, "faith" and "believe" are clearly kissing cousins. They have the same root system, and bear a similar fruit. "Believe" is the verb form of the word "faith." To believe is more than an intellectual assent to a list of dogmas, the checking of the box on a membership card, the signing of a church covenant, or the successful completion of a catechism class. Belief is profoundly rooted in a faith. A person becomes a "believer" when they put their trust and confidence in the Person of Jesus Christ as their only hope of forgiveness and hope of salvation. Belief is an event and a process. It is an instantaneous response to the call of Christ on one's life, but it is also developed into much more by constantly placing it into action in obedience to His commands.
The Risen Lord came into the lives of His disoriented and discouraged disciples to deliver the good news of His victory over death, and the promise of the Holy Spirit who would be sent to them when He ascended into heaven. They would have difficulty grasping what He was saying until the Holy Spirit took hold of them. The result was a transformation of weak men into powerful spokesmen for the cause of Christ.
When the warning signs of unbelief are flashing in your face, and distracting you from the signs that God has posted along the way, don't forget to pray, "Jesus take the wheel!"
Quote of the Day: "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you!" John 20:21