Day 4

Warning Against Unbelief

from the Hebrews reading plan

Hebrews 3:7-19, John 3:16-21, Romans 11:1-6

BY Andrea Lucado

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 3:7-19, John 3:16-21, Romans 11:1-6

Hands down, my favorite day of the year during elementary school was field day. On field day, each class wore matching t-shirts and competed in outdoor events like the 100-yard dash, Red Rover, and the ultimate team challenge: tug-of-war.

I always felt a rush of nerves as my class stepped up to the rope to compete against the other classes in our grade. I was tall and lanky, not the strongest kid, but I knew none of that mattered in tug-of-war, because it took everyone’s strength to win, not just mine. And when I got tired, I could loosen my grip knowing my classmates would pick up the slack.

Our passage today points to this type of teamwork—not in the context of field day, of course, but in the context of faith and the community effort it so often requires.

We can assume some individuals from the community addressed in Hebrews had been loosening their grip on their faith, swaying toward unbelief, the type of unbelief that leads to rebellion against God. The writer warns, “Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

As God’s people, we have a long history of this type of unbelief. From the Israelites wandering in the desert, to the early church addressed here in Hebrews, to Christians today—our tendency is to believe in ourselves and our own way over God and His. Fortunately, the writer of Hebrews provides a strategy to guard ourselves against unbelief:

“But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today,
so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception” (v.13).

In other words, if you want to stay away from unbelief, stay together.

The more I walk this road of faith, the more I realize how corporate the practice of faith must be if we are going to maintain it. The very nature of our faith is communal. We serve a triune God who from the beginning has been committed to communing with us. So much so, that He came to be with us in human form through the person of Jesus Christ, who then died so that we might commune with God for eternity.

We are not meant to believe alone. I think this is why the writer of Hebrews so earnestly warns against unbelief, and then in the same breath reminds us to encourage one another. When I am on the brink of unbelief, it is always community that pulls me back to the truth of the gospel. If I’d had to face the other team alone, I surely would have abandoned the rope long ago. But knowing I have others there who have strength when I don’t has provided the encouragement I’ve needed to stay in the game.  

This is why I find this passage so hopeful. Just as much as it is a warning against unbelief, it is also a reminder that we don’t have to go up against unbelief alone. Because our Messiah is our companion, we have companionship with each other.


Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer, Texas native, and the author of the memoir English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find Andrea laughing with friends at a coffee shop or creating yet another nearly edible baking creation in her kitchen. One of these days she’ll get the recipe right.

Post Comments (67)

67 thoughts on "Warning Against Unbelief"

  1. Lisa Nowka says:

    Sorry…this spring we unexpectedly lost her younger sister. They were extremely close and she says she just doesn’t believe an all-powerful good God would have taken her sister. She became a believer when she was a preschooler. I used to hear her talking to God and praying on the baby monitor in their room.
    It was devastating to lose our youngest sweet girl and my heart is broken that the fallout has submarined our remaining daughter’s faith! Her Christian friends have really let her down. They haven’t known how to fix it so have just pulled away. She needs a christian community so badly but found out she has stopped going to church too.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Lisa, we’re so sorry to hear this. Praying over you and your family during this time. We’re so grateful that you’re reading along with us and are a part of our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. Andie Monteleone says:

      I’m praying for her and your family. I’m so sorry.

    3. Lauren says:

      Lisa – I too lost my youngest sister 7 years ago and it rocked my faith. I kept God out of my grief for a long while and that was the most painful and lonely time. I’m so saddened to hear friends have pulled away. Mine did not know what to do either but they showed up and they encouraged me to allow myself to grieve. Church was hard for awhile too but it was the body of Christ who stepped in and did so many things for my family during that time. A counselor or a grief support group might be helpful. Those were crucial for me. Praying for her heart – God will forsake or abandon her. Or you! She will maybe follow your example of pressing in and working
      On your grief.

    4. Laura Losh says:

      Lisa, I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter and to hear how your other daughter is struggling. Father, please surround Lisa and her family with your love. Let them feel and see your presence in their lives. Open her oldest daughters eyes to see your goodness and love that she may turn toward you in this unimaginably difficult time. You are good Jesus even when this world is the worst, we thank you for giving us hope that Lisa and her girls will one day be reunited with you in Heaven. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

    5. Emmeline Minchala says:

      Praying for her and your family!

    6. Heather Haveman says:

      So sorry for your family’s loss! Praying for healing, strength and that His peace will cover you!

    7. Laurel McDermott says:

      Prayers for your daughter and your mother’s heart! My first husband took his life, it was awful as you can imagine and the boys walked away from God. 3 months later their youth director was taken in a senseless accident. It rocked my younger son badly. I prayed faithfully for my kids. (If I’m honest the second death rocked me as well.). There is a purpose and a plan. A few years ago a young man walked into a coffee shop and came up to my younger son and said God put his face in front of him in a dream and could he sit down with him. The result was a friendship and a return to God in a new and fresh way and I am learning from my younger son’s faith now as well. Still praying and believing for the faith of the older son to be restored. God is there, He still hearts the prayers of a mom, I believe your daughter will return as I believe my other son will return. And there will be great rejoicing. Thank you Jesus!

    8. Bethany Welborn says:

      Praying for you. Also, my friend just published a very raw and helpful book on grief. It’s called Swallowed Up byJ.L. Gerhardt. Maybe it would help and comfort you and your daughter as your grieve.

  2. Lisa Nowka says:

    Please pray for my 21 year old daughter. This spring we l

  3. Ashley Toothman says:

    Pray for me please. I’m struggling with a lot of unbelief. I also don’t have community. My husband and I have been through a lot of hurt and loss. Some involving the church. Some family things. I don’t have anyone else really to reach out to so please pray for me. Thank you.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Ashley, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for you during this time and are so grateful that you’re a part of our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

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