The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ” I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mar 9:24)
Recently, while studying and preparing lessons from Hebrews, I spent some time thinking about what the Hebrew writer refers to as the “sin which clings so closely.” For years, I taught that this is individual sin. The sin is a sin that clings closely to you. It is the sin you have to fight daily. I taught that this sin my be different for you that it is for me. I may struggle with issues of selfishness and you may struggle with a lack of honesty. I taught that our since our tendencies vary our sins vary.
While I still believe that, I recently began seeing the “sin which clings so closely” through a different lens. I believe that this sin manifests itself in different ways in different individuals and even different ways within each individual, but is at the core the same sin.
Consider the context of Hebrews:
- Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. (Heb 3:12)
- So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Heb 3:19)
- For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Heb 10:37-39)
- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
The sin that clings closely is weak faith. When I put my will before God – I am demonstrating a lack of faith. When I act out selfishly, my faith is in me and not in God. When we lie, cheat, steal, live immorally, live worldly, when do what God says not to do AND when we don’t do what He says to do, we are living in unbelief. When I trust the world’s answers over God’s answers – I am not believing God. When we change worship to “bring people in” we are saying God’s word is not enough – we are showing a lack of faith. I can go on. But I need to stop to pray.
“Father, I believe, help my unbelief. Increase my faith.” In Jesus’ name.