You Know You’re in Unbelief When…

This week, I’ve been at the School of the Circuit Riders in Lancaster, PA and have had an amazing time of breakthrough and ministry! The ultimate goal of the school is to train people to share the gospel and to make evangelism a lifestyle, not a duty done out of fear, performance, and striving. I’ve been really wanting to live that out, so this conference was an answer to prayers.

I’ve been blown away by how powerful the conference has been. I thought it was going to be a bunch of hyped-up motivational sermons on obeying the Great Commission, and then practice sharing the gospel to one another before hitting the streets of Lancaster city for street evangelism.

There was definitely a lot of that, but it went so much deeper! YWAM did a great job organizing this school and its content. The leaders recognized that we can only step into the fullness of God and HIs plans for us when we know who we are in Christ and just how great and wonderful God’s love is! Revelations of God’s love/our identity, and joyful repentance of specific fears, were major reasons why everyone at this conference experienced so much breakthrough and freedom.

I think one of the most powerful sessions for me came when I realized how much unbelief I harbored in my heart. As a side note, I got the title of this post from one of the speakers at the conference, but I don’t remember his name so I can’t give him credit 🙂 —- Later edit: the speaker was Brian Brennt and the unbelief handout comes from his amazing discipleship workbook called “Big Ten: Ten Truth Encounters Everyone Must Have.”

The content below comes from a handout on unbelief. Even the leaders, major big-time missionary revivalists, confessed some of these below, and we all had a great time repenting out loud (there is definitely power in making declarations!).

After checking off what we each struggled with, we then went through the steps of renewing the mind so that we could find healing. The steps of this process:

1. Repent (joyfully, because God wants and wills to heal!)

2. Ask for forgiveness

3. Receive that forgiveness so you aren’t tempted to ask for it again 🙂

4. Ask God to replace the lie with a truth. Listen to what He says. Then receive it in faith and walk out that truth until it becomes settled in your spirit.

So here are some characteristics of unbelief:

  • Makes up its own mind about what God can and can’t do, what He will or won’t do, and how He does or doesn’t operate.
  • Finds its own methods for accomplishing God’s business, both personally and corporately;
  • Looks inward instead of upward.
  • When motivated by fear, unbelief may manifest itself in self-protective coping mechanisms, similar to those encountered when dealing with insecurity and inferiority
  • When stemming from pride or rebellion, unbelief can be masked as realism, intellectualism, or practicality
  • More often than not, unbelief is cloaked in a critical, religious spirit, as in the case of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.

Recognizing unbelief:

  • I find myself being disappointed – even offended – that God doesn’t seem to work as I believe He should, or to answer my prayers in the way I’d like.
  • When I hear of others’ experiences of God’s presence, power, or answered prayer, I am skeptical. My usual first reaction is to try to analyze or disprove their claim.
  • I try to pass off a critical spirit as being a Berean spirit (meaning, “spiritually discerning” and “protecting”).
  • I am critical of the direction and methods of church and ministry leaders.
  • I tend to be suspicious of others.
  • I wonder why the Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to talk to me or use me as powerfully as He uses others.
  • I doubt that God really speaks to or uses others as they claim, because I don’t see Him speaking to me or using me in those ways.
  • I tend to be self-sufficient and independent from others. If I’m honest about it, I tend to be self-sufficient and independent from God.
  • I first perceive people and situations as “impossible,” rather than “possible with God.”
  • I am not confident that I have spiritual authority through Jesus Christ.
  • I am not motivated to pray consistently, and I have little interest in intercessor prayer or spiritual warfare prayer.
  • Prayer is usually a last resort for me. I try to figure things out or work them out for myself first. My actions would indicate that I believe that God helps those who help themselves.
  • I succumb to habitual behaviors and addictions (coping mechanisms) to comfort me when I feel discouraged, afraid, hopeless, hurt, etc.
  • I think my situation, my sins, my fears, my marriage, my spiritual life, etc will never change.
  • I panic when I receive bad or distressing news, or even the suggestion that something bad or distressing may occur.
  • I tend to be worried, fearful, and anxious about many things
  • I fear that my children, or other family members, will never be saved.
  • I try to control people, situations, and even God, because I am afraid to let go and trust Him to care for them, to lead them, to protect them, to save them, etc.
  • I am skeptical of the present-day supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
  • I fear taking the risk of praying and ministering boldly with others in areas like healing and spiritual freedom.
  • I fear stepping out in faith in response to confirmed revelation God has given to me or to others in the body of Christ.
  • Visible circumstances have a stronger influence on me than do the written Word, spoken words, or the character of God.

Unbelief fears that God doesn’t, God can’t, and God won’t. Faith believes that God does, God can, and God will!

Copyright © 2011 City Central. All rights reserved.

I have made my mind up to be not be discouraged, even if God doesn’t work the way I thought or wanted Him to. I will keep up good works that Jesus modeled in His ministry in faith!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:9

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My Helper

I’m coming to realize that there is never going to be a time in life where I don’t find myself walking into the unknown or into challenging situations where I don’t need God’s help. I’d like to pride myself on being strong, but truly I am weak, but then again, I’m strong in Christ. I’m literally experiencing the joy of the following verse:

But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

2 Cor 12:9

I’m trying to get my spirit and soul used to the fact that I will always be dependent on Him. There are always going to be questions, challenges and an emptiness that only He can answer and satisfy. I literally depend on Him for everything. It’s always easier to try to face these questions, challenges, and emptiness in our own ways, but I’m finally beginning to realize I literally have no other option but to seek God in all of this if I want the best possible life. The reason why it’s hard is because it takes time and faith to get to know and experience God, the Invisible One, in this all-satisfying way.

When I was walking without God up until 2008, my life was a mess, even though I had gotten a good degree from a great university and landed some respectful, high-paying jobs. But I was desperate inside, grasping at things in the dark.

Now, five years later, as I’m maturing in my walk with the Holy Spirit, I’m coming to experience Him in every situation of my life as my Helper who gives me strength when I need it.

I depend on Him not just for the long-term, “big” things of life like finances, direction/guidance, and relationships, but even in the small things of every day life. If I live life well today, then I set myself up for long-term success.

For example, when I need help against my own laziness, God always answers me and gives me the motivation I need to exercise or get something done. Literally, just the other day, as I was napping (but didn’t really need to), I physically felt the arms of the Holy Spirit nudge me gently on my back. It was totally miraculous and maybe the first time I’ve felt His physical touch. I’ll never forget it.

I share this miracle to point to God’s awesomeness, His faithfulness, and His incredible love for His children – not to highlight myself. I’m not anymore deserving of this kind of faithfulness than anyone else. I’m just as limited and weak as the rest of mankind. But as sinful and weak as we are, it makes no difference to God, we are loved just the same. We are forgiven and saved through the sacrifice of Christ, and His love knows no bounds!

Often, I need “a filling up” of hope, encouragement, and joy, He always supplies it in His way and His time. It’s rarely the instant gratification my flesh craves, but His way is much more satisfying, and it’s always a surprise how He does it!  The more I choose to wait for His response, the more I experience His deeply satisfying comfort, and the more my love for Him deepens as I begin to trust that He always responds to the pains and groanings of my heart.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31

Sometimes it’s hard for me to receive this kind of love from Him, because my human mind thinks I have to repay Him some how, or that I’m asking for too many blessings. But He’s been teaching me that He longs to be my Comforter, my Provider, my Strength, my Wisdom, my Judge, my Defense, my Light and expects absolutely nothing in return. He just wants relationship with me. And in fact, it’s a life that learns how to wait and receive His love through prayer and expectation that most glorifies Him. So all I can do is learn to receive His love, His Spirit, His blessings, His teachings, His corrections. With all this receiving, it becomes impossible for me to not walk out in all that He has for me:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31