What is the opposite of faith?
I asked this question to A Clear Len’s Facebook forum (ACL is the apologetics ministry that I write for) and got the following answers:
Self Sufficiency- 7
Upon reflection, I would agree with the most popular answer. If faith is synonymous with belief, then unbelief is the opposite of belief and thus the opposite of faith.
But then I thought that even if only one of the options above is the opposite of faith, the other six things cannot be ignored. They are still major obstacles to our faith.
So let’s take a look at these 6 hindrances along with a suggested remedy for each one.
6 Hindrances to Faith
1. Self-Sufficiency– “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
I cannot trust in my own abilities to accomplish something and trust in God’s ability at the same time. I must decrease, and God must increase. But if I am constantly increasing, then God must be decreasing! There’s just no way around it.
Remedy: Rely on the Spirit’s strength instead of your own and acknowledge your dependency on God in all things.
2. Doubt– “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).
Doubt is the enemy of a confident faith. Doubt and faith can certainly coexist, but it seems that the more doubt you have, the less room there is for faith.
Remedy: Review the promises of God in Scripture and mediate on what God has done for you in the past.
3. Fear– “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
This is probably the one that gets me the most. If I am fearful, that means I’m not completely trusting God. If I fear something more than God, then that means I believe that something else is bigger and more powerful than God Himself.
Remedy: Pinpoint the source of your fear and the thing that you are trusting in more than God. Read and pray through Psalm 23 and approach our Great Shepherd with your fears.
4. Trusting The Physical– “We walk by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Having physical sight doesn’t hinder our faith; that’s not the issue. The issue is when we start to only trust in the things that we can see and touch. No matter how grim our circumstances appear to us, we know that God is working behind the scenes even though we cannot see Him.
Remedy: Make a list of things that are physical that you sometimes trust in more than God. Then think through why it’s easier to trust in what you can see instead of the God who created all things.
5. Inaction– “Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).
True faith produces works. If we always stand by without putting feet to our faith, then perhaps our faith isn’t as strong as we think.
Remedy: James gives us the remedy in the passage: choose to show others your faith by your works. In other words, go out and do something!
6. Works– “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
Even as people who understand grace, we still try to earn favor with God. But we cannot fall back into the trap of thinking that our good deeds can save us. We must remember that our righteousness comes from Christ alone.
Remedy: Rest in the finished work of Christ by reflecting on the truth of the Good News of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Be still and know that He is God and that He alone has saved you.
The Struggle of Faith
Like the man from the Gospels, we cry out, “I believe; help my unbelief.” The struggle of faith is something we all deal with and experience firsthand. But we are a people who hope in Almighty God. And it’s through our faith that we overcome:
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).