On a basic level the name "Battling Unbelief" explains my life. Before I came to place my trust in Jesus Christ I battled with unbelief by fully agreeing with it. This doesn't sound like much of a battle, but lostness is an unrelenting battle. Depravity has a way of not only putting you at odds with others, but putting you at odds with yourself. Ironically, you're so self-centered that you hate yourself, you punish yourself, you're sick of yourself. My unfettered unbelief gave me reason to battle a host of things, most of which had to do with my selfishness. I battled fear, pride, loss of influence, lack of significance, the inability to impose my will on others, lust, insecurity. All of this generated a visible anger at the God shaped void I had in my heart. All of life was a battle, because in conjunction with being at odds with myself I was at odds with the ONE who actually makes all of reality come into agreement. I was in submission to the tyranny of self, rather than in submission to the authority of a Holy and Loving God. God dispels fear, provides significance and offers a will that is higher and more glorious than my own. As I suppressed the truth in unbelief, my battle wasn't so much with the truth, but with my inward desire to remain in unbelief in light of that truth. Romans 1 tells us this is the plight of every unbeliever, proving that if unbelievers are anything, it's exhausted.
After coming to faith in Christ, my battle with unbelief changed. The Spirit of Christ has reoriented my heart. My bent is now to run to God, not away from Him. I am now able to have less concern about my own significance, or about imposing my will onto others, by having a greater concern about His will and His glory. I have given myself away to His mercies and come into submission to His good care. I have believed the truth of the gospel, and no longer have to battle with the weight Truth imposed upon me. However, I still battle unbelief. Every sin and every pattern of sin in my life is a sin or pattern of unbelief. When I lie, even in the smallest of ways, it's because self-preservation is more important to me than what I believe about the truth of the gospel. When I lust it's not because I slipped, it's because carnal thoughts displaced what I believe about the beauty and grace of Jesus. Lust declares that you believe in the worth of the flesh above the worth of the Savior. Ouch.
This clearly explains that belief in the gospel is not a one time event that marked the beginning of my relationship with God. Belief in the gospel marks every step of my life. The gospel doesn't constitute the ABC's of my Christian life, but the A to Z. Believing the gospel is not something I graduated from after a few years of being a Christian, it is the continuum of my existence. Knowing these things, the overriding confession of my heart on a daily basis must be, "LORD, I BELIEVE." But I also must confess with equal vigor, "HELP MY UNBELIEF." Therein lies the battle...therein lies the name.
The third way this title explains my life is that it's tied to my vocation. I'm a pastor, which is to say I work with people, specifically dealing with how they will confront the unbelief in their own life, or how we can together confront the unbelief in our church and the world. I don't see the pastorate as some magical vocation. All vocations come under the Lordship of Jesus, and all work can be done with his glory in view. We all have a calling, and because I am not good at anything else, God called me to teach and work with people. This is no more important than the calling to be a lawyer or a landscaper...it's just not. As long as these callings are being engaged in faith they please God. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin so even pastoring people can be done in a sinful way. Thus my battle rages.
So given the name, this blog is an exercise in how I confront unbelief with the truth about who God is and what he has done in the person and work of His Son, Jesus. This applies to my life as a pastor, a husband, father and friend. This applies to how I work with people and how I engage the world. It's a battle. Peter referred to it as a war of the soul. Paul called it a struggle. He told Timothy it was a fight. My prayer is you fight with me.