- So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Rom. 10:17)
- And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)
- The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Lk. 17:5)
God’s Word tells us that in order to come to God in a way that pleases Him… we must have faith and it must be activated. We must believe that He exists and be found earnestly seeking because we know it holds a reward. Our entire relationship with God is based on faith. By faith we believe He is real. By faith we pray expecting Him to hear and answer. Faith is something that we practice and exercise… it is active. Let those words sink in, “without faith, it is impossible to please God”.
Faith is Heaven’s Currency:
Faith moves mountains and shifts atmospheres, because it is the currency of the heavenly realm. Although it may start small, faith has the ability to develop and grow. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. They could feel that their faith had limits. Though they had faith for some things they knew they needed more. Deeper revelation requires and stimulates faith to stretch and grow. The bigger the devil the more faith we will need to overcome him (Rev. 12:11). We are not of those that shrink back, but we press forward, to the saving of the soul (Heb 10:39). We do not doubt, we endure and gain a renewal of our confidence. Asking God for more faith does not make us weak. It makes us honest. It causes us to see and admit that we have limitations and we need more of God’s resources.
Faith is a Gift and a Fruit:
Where does our faith come from? Is it something that we alone must work up? The Apostle Paul tells us that “Faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God”. Faith is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-10). God has given to each one a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) and as we read God’s Word and digest it into our spirits, faith increases like a fruit ripens. When I read about God’s faithfulness and His power over darkness, I am encouraged to believe for greater things. I sense power and strength welling up inside of me when I read that nothing is impossible for God! I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13). You see, that is my faith talking and my soul knows very well… He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4).
Demons work hard to deceive and bring all kinds of oppression into our lives. Satan acts like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), because he knows the impact of a fully equipped Child of God (Jn. 10:9-10)(Eph. 6:10-12). Remind yourself that life is a wrestling match and there is power available in Christ to overcome him… the oppressor! Contemplate some of the following ways in which you have found yourself in the midst of battle…
- Accusation: To be plagued with unworthiness and guilty feelings
- Affliction: To inflict something hard to endure
- Fearful Expectations: To consistently assume the worse outcomes
- Harassment: To annoy or wear us out by frequent attacks
- Influence: To exercise power over us to affect our mood
- Opposition: To resist or hinder seemingly simple tasks
- Torment: To cause severe suffering of body or mind
- Torture: To punish or coerce by inflicting excruciating pain
- Unbelief: To create deceptive and unreasonable doubts
- Worry: To disturb or destroy our peace by persistent torment
How Does Satan Oppress:
The question arises whether or not demons know our thoughts. Are demons able to read our minds? The answer seems to be that if the demons are “inside” a person that they can, but they cannot if they are on the “outside”. For most of us, we fight the battles of his oppressing, tormenting or accusing lies and threats. It seems obvious that demons do find ways to plant thoughts in our minds, so they must know what we are thinking by observing our behavior! They study us and attack our weakness, confusion and failures.
I believe the first goal demons have, is to prevent us from receiving forgiveness and salvation in Christ. If that fails, they work at preventing Christian maturity. They try to shut us down and make us ineffective. Their chief strategy is to try to get people to turn away from God. They do this through many forms of oppression such as temptation, shame and isolation. Any way they can challenge God and His Word, they will fight for control over our hope and faith. Demons lie to us and work hard to get us lying to ourselves! Remember the devil is a thief, looking for easy access to unguarded treasures!
Another form of harassment is accusation and criticism. Demons will interject condemning thoughts into the minds of anyone who is willing to listen. They particularly like to stir up the past with thoughts of, “You really should have…” or “If only you had done… (whatever) differently”. Demons are on a “seek and destroy” mission. They can “gang up” on us to undermine our sense of reality and control our behaviors. They take advantage of our “blind spots”, and they love it when we are physically or emotionally weary… it makes us vulnerable to defeat. They attempt to affect every area of life: spirit, soul, and body. They don’t play fair, in fact they don’t play at all! They will kill us if we allow it!
“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Mt. 12:22)
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed“. But He answered her not a word… Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”. And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table”. Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire”. And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Mt. 15:22-28)
Healing & Deliverance:
The word healed means to be made whole or cured of something. When Jesus healed those with unclean spirits, He was making them whole and restoring them by removing those unclean spirits. By “casting out” the unclean spirit deliverance was achieved and freedom allowed the person to regain their sense of balance and reason! What Jesus was dealing with was spiritual blindness caused by a demonic stronghold in the mind. The Biblical idea of an “unclean” spirit is simply to identify what that spirit does to the human soul… it pollutes and defiles the thinking process so that the person looses control of their ability to reason. When a person is oppressed by the devil, they will often be confused and disoriented… “blind” to the realities right in front of them. Jesus would heal the oppression, by casting out the unclean spirit and speaking the Truth of His Father’s love (Jn. 15:9)! He would say things like, “The Father loves Me, and in the very same way the Father loves Me, I have loved you… therefore, abide in My love.”
Jesus was the Truth in human flesh and He carried the authority that challenged every lie that stood in opposition to reality from God’s perspective. Notice that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and went about healing the oppressed. The beauty of His ministry was that He brought the Kingdom message… with Kingdom power and authority. The Good News is that no power on Earth or demons of hell can stand against the revelation of Truth as anointed by the Holy Spirit. Today, it is not normal to be unable to process your thoughts. Its not God’s will for anyone to feel confused and oppressed by the devil! But for healing and deliverance to bring freedom… we must allow the Truth to break in, anointed by the Holy Spirit; and set our minds free from spiritual blindness!
Jesus’ words: “These things I have spoken to you (and over you) while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (Jn. 14:25-26)
“…Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27)
Bridging the Gap between Our Ability and God’s Call:
- 1. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
“He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 1:21-22)
The Greek word for anoint is chrio, meaning ‘to smear or rub with oil’… and when used in the New Testament it speaks to the idea of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon and within the believer to achieve great exploits.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18)
Just as Jesus was “anointed” and “sent” to fulfill God’s purpose, we are also anointed and sent to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we receive God’s power to do the work He has called us to do (Acts 1:8)(Eph 3:16). In the Old Testament, Prophets, Priests and Kings were the classes of people anointed with oil, foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah; and also signifying that the anointing sets God’s people apart for service to Him. In the New Testament, anointing is not a substance or impersonal power, but the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit still sets us apart to do all that would fulfill the Will of God in our generation. We need to highly value and treasure the Spirit and His anointing. This means…
- Maintaining an intimate relationship with Him and being filled with the Holy Spirit! (Eph. 5:15-18)
- Being sensitive to obey Him and follow His timing! (Acts 13:2)
- Valuing accountability and honoring God-given leadership! (Eph. 4:11)
- Treating His Presence and anointing with honor and respect! (Eph. 4:30)
As you do this, you can trust His anointing and Presence to be evident and fulfill the call of God in your life. So, if you are wondering how to get the supernatural results God intends for your ministry… remember that the source is not you; but the Presence of Christ and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
- 2. The Grace of God
If you are unsure where the strength will come from to achieve what God has called you to do? Then you are right where God wants you! Just remember what the Apostle Paul heard from God and how that redirected his focus and his praise.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)
God’s grace, “charis” in Greek, refers to the undeserved favor of God freely given to us in Jesus Christ. Grace also refers to God’s empowerment in our service for Him:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor 15:10)
This enabling grace relates to our specific calling from God:
“Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake.” (Rom 1:5)(1 Cor 3:10)
When the call of God is daunting, remind yourself that you are of God and “the Christ in you” has already overcome the world!
Have you ever noticed that when God calls people in the Bible, He always gives them a job or ministry to do that is beyond their natural ability? Even Jesus comes to Earth with a task that could never have been accomplished without God’s help! Jesus came to fulfill all of the Old Testament Law and the Prophetic Statements made about Him. He would carry the weight of the task laid upon His shoulders as the “Anointed One” – the “Christ” or “Messiah”. And in like manner, we carry the assignments of heaven in the same way; as Christians, “little anointed ones”… so to speak. We have been anointed by God in the same way that Jesus was anointed by the Father (Acts 10:38). We go about doing good deeds and healing all who are oppressed of the devil, because God is with us (Jn. 14:12)(Mt. 28:18). Amazing, yet quite daunting, when you ponder the ramifications of it… cuz’ really – we can’t do any of it without Him!
Its Bigger that You!
So, that God-sized dream knocking on your heart’s door, or that ridiculous passion that seems like more than you can handle in your own strength; it is probably from Him. And here’s why: because its way bigger than you! God has designed us to partner with the Holy Spirit in our service. He uses weak and feeble, ordinary people so that He gets the glory (1 Cor 1:27). But here’s the good news…
He can handle it and He is with you!
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)
It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”
The Spirit of Unbelief:
The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!
I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!
Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”
Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.
So – here’s the point…
- Stop living without meaningful communication with God!
Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)