A father pleads with Jesus to help his demon-possessed son. “‘If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ 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!’” (Mark 9:22-24).
This father received the revelation that his beliefs were the critical factor in what he and his family would experience. In response to this revelation, he asked Jesus for supernatural help to strengthen his faith (beliefs). We would be wise to do the same.
Jesus was basically saying, “You are not a victim of a reluctant or powerless God. You are a powerful person who can change circumstances and make a tremendous impact through what you believe.”
Our faith is meant to get stronger and stronger. It is designed for growth and increase. This growth is part of being sanctified and conformed into the image of Christ (Hebrews 10:14, Romans 8:29).
Abraham is our example to follow in progressively getting stronger in believing.“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).
“Abraham did not waver . . .” From my perspective, it looked like Abraham had some big waverings, but God looks at our faith journey differently than we do. Just because we are not fully convinced yet in an area of life does not necessarily mean we are doing something wrong.
How do we ensure our faith is being strengthened? Let’s look at two important verses. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), and “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). It is important to understand that in our “renewing the mind” journey, our faith is to be mainly in God’s completing power (“finisher of our faith”) than it is in our ability to believe right. We truly fix our eyes on Jesus with an eager expectation of seeing His goodness in our life.
What then are the areas of our lives that we can expect to be led into being fully convinced? Here are five:
Theological Conclusions – “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). We are being strengthened toward being fully convinced in our doctrinal beliefs. The Bible is clear on the most important matters about what is right or wrong but in some areas of life, there can be a difference of interpretation about God’s will. In some situations like what is mentioned in Romans 14:5, two people can have a different conclusion and both be right.
God’s Promises to Us – “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). We have already mentioned this verse, but I could not resist having you read it again.
Our Assignments and Decisions – “Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing” (Acts 11:12). Like Peter, we will do seemingly illogical things because we have a big God story that causes us to be convinced it is the right direction.
The Amount We Give of Ourselves to Something – “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). We are being strengthened to consistently decide cheerfully what to give or not to give in money, commitments, time, etc.
Answered Prayer About Wisdom – “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). Jesus is finishing our faith to believe we will always know what to do in every situation.
Look through this list again. You can expect each of these five aspects of your life to become fully convinced. This is exciting. Thank God right now that He is finishing your faith in each of these areas.
Finally, there is a progression concerning God’s callings and assignments for us. It is illustrated in the life of Gideon (Judges 6 – 8).
It’s ridiculous – if we are not hearing a word from the Lord that is very contrary to our past experience, we are not hearing high enough promises for us
It’s possible – we know we are starting to believe when our hope-level starts to rise
It’s probable – we do not give up, and our faith is being strengthened
I’m fully convinced – Even though the promise has not happened yet, I know it will
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Thank you, Lord, for helping us be fully convinced people. As we do, we will become the answer to the world’s needs.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.