Friday, August 27, 2010

Faith to Overcome

I keep asking God to increase my faith.

When people or things I love are thrown to the ground, I sometimes feel like the man who asked Jesus to heal his mute, epileptic son. Jesus' disciples had not been able to cast out the spirit, and the man wasn't so sure now that Jesus could do it either. "Have mercy on us and help us, if you can" (Mark 9:22, NLT)

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes” (verse 23).

He looked into Jesus' eyes, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (verse 24).

I expect Jesus' question penetrated this father's best hopes and fears. He believed, but he had his doubts.

Unbelief shrinks God to what we've seen and heard. When the limitations of our mind stop us short of the goal and when trusted experts hit the wall of their own expertise, hope get thrown to the ground like the young man. Our senses and experience lie that we are undone and tempt faith to step back from trusting God.

Those are the best times to turn to our Helper. Those are opportunities to let Jesus help us overcome blocks to belief -- to have overcoming faith. They are occasions for God's Holy Spirit to remind us of His presence and greater power at work in us. (See Philippians 2: 12-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.)

Paul says that hearing comes by faith through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17), and John writes, "The Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13).

Regular hearing, reading and applying God's word, then, is critical for opening us to the Word and the Spirit. They train us to jump unbelief's hurdles.

As we make ourselves available to Christ's transforming word, God's grace helps us hear Jesus asking, 'Do you believe I can do this?'

Yes, Lord. Help me believe.

For Your Consideration

When you become aware of doubt, look for your underlying belief:

Do you assume God doesn't love you? That God is surprised or disappointed by you? Or do you think God is either powerless or disinterested? Are you blaming God for consequences of your own behavior? Or are you projecting onto God? -- How do the scriptures speak specifically to the issue you have identified?

What will you do about your discoveries?

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