The Importance of
The Importance of
Believing is a very important part of life in the Spirit. Jesus takes believing very seriously. After His resurrection, Jesus met with Mary and told her to tell the disciples He was alive. Mary told them, but it turns out the disciples didn't believe her. We might think that's understandable; they witnessed His crucifixion after all. But Jesus didn't take the same view.
God is the most positive person I've ever met. He has endless enthusiasm and excitement toward the future, yet too often - like the disciples - we refuse to believe Him about our future.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream. In the dream, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Your present circumstances reveal your prior thinking." I woke up with those words ringing in my ears. I've been pondering them ever since. The inference is that if I change my thinking I can change my future. What if what you and I are living with today is a direct result of what we believed God for? And what if what we have right now is way less than what God would have for us because of the level we believe at. I'd like to suggest that any aspect of our lives that aren't filled with abundance are areas that are way below the glorious standard God has for us. These are areas of our life God wants to do something new in. But if we want something new, it's likely there's an invitation from Heaven to believe for something new.
to the Kingdom
to the Kingdom
There was a point in our lives where we were lost and without a future. Yet we heard the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. When we believed that message we moved from death to life. My question is, what have we done since? What are we doing with our belief now?
We stepped into God's kingdom by believing in all that Jesus did for us. The way we start is the way we continue. Yet I've noticed that in my life there have been seasons where I have stopped believing God when He says things to me. This, inevitably has slowed and stunted my growth in Him.
You'll notice that Jesus says, "The one who believes". Not believed. And this is my next point:
It’s not enough to have believed, we have to keep on believing. Believing in Jesus isn’t something we did. It’s something we do. In the parable of the sower, Jesus told the story of a farmer that went out to scatter seed. The seed ended up falling on four different types of ground. Each type of ground represented a different posture of our hearts. Of the rocky ground Jesus said this.
What's interesting about this group is that they believed for a while. They were genuinely impacted by Jesus's word, but then stopped believing Him. We don't want to be in that group. We never want to stop believing God. Getting saved is awesome, but we were saved for a purpose. Our believing will be one of the things that determines our destiny. It will also determine the speed with which we'll reach it.
Think about it: what prophetic words have you received that you don't believe? What if God is calling you into a destiny that you aren't entering because you haven't believed Him about it. Perhaps it's time to dig out our prophetic words and stir up our faith to believe God for something new. The world needs to see who God has made you to be. When Graham Cooke was with us at Grace Center a number of years ago he said something that struck me:
In the invitation into our destiny, we protest, "I can't do what you are asking". We forget that God delights in calling things that are not as though they were and that He uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. The problem isn't God's calling, the problem is our arguing with Him. The reason for this is that we confuse what He is saying; God doesn't call us because we're great, He calls us because He is great. God wants to demonstrate His greatness through us to the world. In order to move forward with God, our believing has to be present tense.
(but you can always pass)
(but you can always pass)
Did you notice that little nugget at the end of verse 13?
Life will present you with plenty of context to challenge what you believe. The truth is, we are always going to believe in something. We are either going to believe God is right or God is wrong. That’s what all of life comes down to. Therefore it's wise to pre-decide we're going to always believe God. That way, when life comes to challenge what God has said, we will already be prepared.
But what should we do when despite our best efforts, we struggle to believe?
Thankfully, we have a solution. Jesus taught us the key in Mark chapter 9.17-27.
One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk.And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy.The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.
"What do you mean, 'If I can?'" is the center point of this whole passage. At the root of all our reasoning and questioning we often find the same thing: unbelief.
Jesus will call us into things far beyond what we are capable of. If we were capable of them, we'd already be doing them! That's why He has to call us into them. But when He does this, we often pause and run through a list of reasons why what God is saying is not right.
"It's not probable, it's not reasonable," we cry! But when in the history of the world has God been reasonable or probable? It should come as no surprise that He's going to call us into the impossible. It's what we're called to. We are called to return to a place of trusting and obeying.
When facing situations that are far beyond our capability to understand, our attitude should be the same as Abraham:
Our belief in God has the power to change everything in our life. Promises are unlocked and destinies revealed when we believe what God is saying to us. Nations are changed and lives transformed when we simply believe.
The great city of Nineveh was scheduled for destruction.Yet God sent a prophet to tell them of their destiny.
The people believed God and humbled themselves with fasting. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their sin, He intervened and did not bring on them the destruction that was coming. Their believing changed their destiny.
What is it that God is saying to you that could change everything in your life? What are the promises and prophecies He's spoken to you?
Believing needs an
Believing needs an
Believing doesn't happen in a vacuum. Believing has to influence our life. Believing demands a response.
The demons believe that there is one God like we do, but we did something about it. We yielded our life to Him. Our believing prompted a different way of life.
It's not enough that we believe God is good. We have to believe that He wants to be good to us and act like that's true. It's not enough to believe that God wants to bless us, we actually have to partner with His method of blessing and become tithers and givers. It's not enough to believe that God wants to use us mightily, we have to step out and be used mightily by Him.
Believing demands a response. So pause and ponder, what has God been speaking to you about, what has God been nudging you to believe? His word demands a response. Our believing in God will move us forward in God.
Many many years ago I was out for a run and I heard the voice of God say, "Alyn I want you to be a teacher." I believed God had spoken to me, but I tried to ignore it. This was largely because I didn't want to be a teacher. Believing God had spoken wasn't the problem; my response was. Believing is only the start of the journey. If I just stayed at believing, I wouldn't be where I am today. Believing prompted action. I quit my job, I went back to school and I became a teacher. Then I taught in a high school for several years. My believing looked like something.
Believing always proceeds obedience. But obedience has to follow your believing, or your believing is in vain. Do not be intimidated by what God is saying to you. He's a very big God with very big plans for your life, so take a deep breath and reflect on the prophetic words He's said about your life. What's extravagant? What's outrageous? What's ridiculous? Because that's the level God wants you to start believe at. Because you can't believe in a vacuum, your life has to change according to what you are believing for.
God's always going to be doing stuff we might never believe. He's the God of the impossible after all. But all through the Bible we see that God takes great delight in doing unbelievable stuff with His people. You and I are invited into incredible adventures when we are in relationship with Jesus.
When I read the verse above, I don't want to be a scoffer, I don't want to be left wondering what could've happened if I would've just believed. I want to believe and be a part of all that God is doing.
So what is it that God is leading you into that you are having trouble believing Him for? What has God said over your life that you have received with doubt instead of belief? One of the most helpful things I've learned to do is get with trusted friends and process. Expression reinforces impression. Humble yourself and let others in on the journey you feel God is leading into, start expressing out loud what it is God is moving you into. Faith comes by hearing - merely hearing yourself talk and others confirm what you are saying does wonders for believing. Then ask the Holy Spirit for steps to take toward what He's asking. Your steps reinforce your belief.