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