Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Help my unbelief!

In many ways I have always thought the most impressive statement by a simple person in the bible is the father, who in response to Jesus' question if he believes that HE can heal his daughter says, "I believe - help my unbelief!"

This is the heart of the Christian life, the Christian daily struggle against sin. I love using this image, especially in bible classes - and as I have a tendency to start a verse and have the people finish it. . . I'm afraid I'm conditioning them to shout out "Help my unbelief!" whenever they hear the words "I believe."

The thing is - maybe it needs to be shouted. I think that perhaps as a Synod we have forgotten that second part - help my unbelief. We have forgotten that the only reason why we have belief is that God indeed helps our unbelief. It's that whole third article thing - I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength. . . .

We (that is the Synod) love the focus on "I believe" - see what we do, see what we are doing for Jesus, see how we grow, grow, grow (irregardless of whether or not even from a simply worldly view if our "actions" are impressive). We have forgotten the "help my unbelief" - that we exist as a Church not to be a place where people get to show Jesus how cool they think He is, but we are fundamentally a place where God helps His people's unbelief through His Word.

As the Church - our focus needs to be on "help my unbelief." In fact, the times when the Church has gotten into the most trouble is when belief has simply been assumed or those who were weak in belief were looked down upon.

When asked what a Pastor's "job" is - the standard, rote answer is "preach the Word and administer the sacraments." We can shorten that. "Help people's unbelief" is a briefer answer that says the same thing. Would that we as a Synod were to remember that!

1 comment:

Danny Mackey said...

Amen, brother!