What Does the Bible Say about Wavering Faith?

That shimmering band of the horizon on a hot day, as the sun is setting, puzzles and fascinates me. Scientists explain that as cold meets warmth, the air seems to dance.

Light passes through cold air and warm air differently: “Light is bent back and forth as it goes through mixing air. As you look through […] at something beyond it, the light […] is bent back and forth — which makes the object look wavy or blurry.”

A lukewarm faith is sometimes hot and sometimes cold, but when the light of Christ tries to reach through that mixture, it gets distorted.

The light of Christ is a direct line that does not bend if we are steadfast in faith. What does the Bible say about the dangers of wavering faith?

God’s Word on Lukewarm Christians

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelations 3:15-16).

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Aklinés” is the Greek for “unbending,” which is a synonym for “unwavering.” The hot and the cold share at least one thing in common where the Lord is concerned — their faith or their faithlessness concerning the risen Christ is not tossed about; it is unbending.

God’s Word on Straight Lines

The light of Christ guiding us is a straight line. “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me” (Psalm 5:8). His ways are unwavering, unbending.

While we are forgiven for our sins, God does not change his mind about what those sins are. The way back to him is also clear. “With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble” (Jeremiah 31:9).

The straight path is more than a direction; it strengthens. That which is straight is upheld against attacks from the enemy.

Weak and Wavy Faith

Since Jesus is represented by the straight and solid, what is the alternative? By implication, we are weakened by veering away from the Lord’s teaching.

We are “tossed by the wind,” wrote James. Whereas the one who pursues a straight path is like salt (Matthew 5:13), God spits out the lukewarm Christian. A wavering faith:

1. Threatens our security in Christ. A person who does not hold fast to his or her faith can be knocked about easily by the temptations and sufferings of this life.

By contrast, a faithful Christian will stumble but will not fall. “A bruised reed he will not break” (Isaiah 42:3). Jesus proclaimed that “whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).

That scattering, “skorpizó” in the Greek, refers to those who are “routed or terror-stricken or driven by some other impulse [to] fly in every direction.”

To be scattered is to come undone, like a military formation, which falls apart under stress and is destroyed by the enemy.

2. It offends God. Worse than the loss of our peace is the fact that God spits out the faithless. God does not like the taste of a wavering belief.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts (Hebrews 11:4).

A gift of faith, manifested in obedience, pleases our Father.

The Light Is Clear to the Unwavering

Have you ever found yourself in a funk, not really reading the Bible; hardly praying at all; never mixing with other believers who will uplift you and who also need support in prayer? It’s hard to hear God if you aren’t talking to him; difficult to see if you aren’t looking.

Christ’s light shining out of the darkness is often compared to or even artistically portrayed as a ray or a shaft; a thick, straight band. It is not wavy or uncertain but sharply defined, particularly against storm clouds.

If we are being tossed around between hot faith and cold doubt, that light will also spin and form circles and do a dance. It won’t direct us to our Savior.

We have to be disciplined about our walk with the Lord. There will be times when we don’t want to read our Bibles or pray and getting out of the habit is frighteningly easy.

But if you find yourself confused about his direction for your life, the first step to finding it is to obey: Commit to praying, reading, and listening both alone and with others.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

The Unwavering Light Is Warm, Not Lukewarm

Comparing Christ to the light of the sun implies that his light breaks through darkness as a straight shaft to provide direction. Light also provides warmth and comfort.

It’s sometimes refreshing to cool down a little, such as when we are hot from exercise or are in the middle of a hot flush. But warmth is about more than temperature; it’s about feeling.

We have all experienced the chill of unfriendly people, or of relationships gone cold. We also know people who run hot and cold, sending us mixed signals. When Christ entered our lives, however, he did so with unwavering fervor.

John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” He loved the world that much — it’s unthinkable. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

No one loves like God, who has both equipped us to love like him and has also filled us with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

When no one else seems to see or care about you, remember this redeeming love and take comfort. Our Father is inconceivably close, his love is real, unwavering, and warm. We can rely on him, but the only way to recognize his constant closeness is to pay attention consistently.

Sharing the Unwavering Light of Christ

How can we even try to share this kind of love with others? The best thing we can do is to start by sharing Christ. Maybe we will fail to love as he loved, but Jesus never fails.

And if we ever fall off the straight path, we can allow others to watch us being hoisted back onto that unbending road towards Heaven by our merciful Father.

Lord, let us humbly demonstrate this reality to others around us who think they can forget their own path. God, fill us with your light so we can radiate warmth to those who stand chilled by the let-downs of this world. In your Son’s name, Amen.

For further reading:

What Is a Lukewarm Christian?

Can a Christian Doubt God and Still Have Faith?

How Do We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight?

Is it True Once Saved Always Saved?

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

What Is the Spiritual Gift of Faith?

Does the Steadfast Love of the Lord Really Never Cease?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/william87


Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.

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