Help My Unbelief
Priscilla Van Sutphin
Was listening to Mark today & Chapter 9 where the father asks Jesus for help, he says “ I believe, help my unbelief!” I thought at that moment. Someone could ask, why would he say, I BELIEVE, but then say “help my unbelief” . You either believe or you don’t don’t you ? But the thing is we can have faith, but our faith has to be perfected in Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us in our walk of faith. Faith is a gift as well as coming from the reading of the Word, & all the miracles we see in the bible.
But deeply resident in most of our hearts, there are areas of unbelief in our hearts. John Sandford talks about this as the root of most of the issues of our hearts that need healing from all kinds of aberrations.
Luke 11:33-36 NKJV says 33 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light."
The Amplified says it this way…
Luke 11:33-36 AMP 33 No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or crypt or under a bushel measure, but on a lampstand, that those who are coming in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (z your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness. 35 Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your entire body is illuminated, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright [with light], as when a lamp with its bright rays gives you light.
The Amplified talks about your eye as your conscience being sound. I felt this refers to our way of PERCEIVING things, our vision. In the Old Testament is says, that His people perish for lack of vision. Well our vision has to do with a lot of things, not just dreams and visions, but the way we perceive things. A deaf and dumb spirit and spirits of blindness come through idolatry and try to block the ability of people to see clearly, or hear and speak clearly, or to understand what is said by someone else.
I remember when I was married, that my husband and I had a terrible issue with sometimes hearing what the other said, entirely wrong, and the Lord showed me deaf and dumb spirits working to cause strife.
One time in Church on a Sunday morning I saw a deaf and dumb spirit going back and forth in front of the pastor as he spoke and I felt the Lord gave me understanding it was trying to inhibit his words from being heard or understood clearly. I prayed & it disappeared.
It looked like those photos of aliens with no
hair, & triangular heads, & no ears.
Back to the subject:
Unbelief is the spirit of this age, that has been growing & manifesting powerfully in many lives. Many Christians will be overcome if they don’t get it out of their hearts. And we need to cry out like the old man, LORD HELP OUR UNBELIEF, heal the unbelief in our hearts, rout all that opposes the truth LORD ! Because we need to stand strong in our faith, & not be moved.
I remember watching that movie Zeitgeist, & the second half was all about undermining any kind of religious faith, & a powerful spirit of unbelief came in the room at the time, & it was very difficult to resist. I felt the Lord showed me that this was the spirit arising with the rise of the antichrists, that has been working to draw people away from faith in JESUS.
Jesus said, “When I return, will I find FAITH on earth”
Part of article now removed by John Sandford...
Many Christians never experience the wholeness & freedom God has for them beyond their initial conversion. The problem of belief in God has never been solely to convince the conscious mind. If it were, He would need only to raise up brilliant debaters & apologists rather than pastors, teachers, prophets & churches that nurture. Paul wrote: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; & with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10, KJV, emphasis added).
It is easy to confuse deep, heartfelt conviction with mere intellectual assent & to think salvation is thereby accomplished. I do not mean to say that anyone's conversion experience is thereby invalid, but that it did not finish the process. We have been too easily convinced of completion.
When belief in the heart, to whatever degree, opens the floodgates of understanding to the mind & conviction to the spirit, & we respond in the sinner's prayer to invite Jesus in, we are redeemed & justified. Our sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb & our destinies are changed from hell to heaven. We are once & for all time fully saved.
But the experience of conversion is not all there is to being saved. Salvation has a larger meaning than justification, redemption, being born anew, going to heaven or all these put together.
Redemption, justification, being born anew are entrances to the process of growing into salvation (see 1 Pet. 2). Going to heaven is the end product. All of what happens in between, the process of sanctification & transformation, is the major part of salvation, which means "to become whole, to be healed."
When we ask, "Have you been saved, brother?" we mean redeemed, justified, born anew & going to heaven. Well & good. But perhaps the question is confusing. If we mean, "Has the Lord gotten hold of you, paid the price, & set your face toward heaven?" every born-anew Christian ought to answer with an unqualified, "Yes, I'm saved, & I'm going to heaven."
But concerning the process in this life of being saved, none ought ever to reply that it is all done. Each one should answer, "I'm saved, & I'm being saved every day," because "by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14, NASB).
Although every believer is in process, he knows by faith that positionally he has already been made perfect & is already being raised up to sit with Christ in heavenly places (see Eph. 2:6). Whatever further conversions of the heart we explore ought never to be taken to imply that our first conversion was invalid or insufficient.
On the other hand, no matter how dramatic or conclusive that conversion was, we run the risk of crippling our abundant life the moment we build a tabernacle as though it once & for all finished the process it, in fact, only began. The heart needs to be transformed anew every day, or we fail to grow in Jesus. Indeed, that is our primary definition of growth in Christ—further & further progression of death & rebirth through continuing inner conversion.
Continual conversion of a believer's heart moves the heart from unbelief to belief & repentance. This happens as the light of God's Word reaches into the dark, hidden recesses of the heart, & prepares it to produce good fruit (see Matt. 13:3-8).
Historically, in America, sanctification has come to mean striving to live up to the law on the base of a supposedly transformed character. That struggle all too often has led to judgmentalism because tragically, the transformation had never been complete.
True, we are washed clean at the moment of conversion, & our consciences sprinkled (see Heb. 9:14). But not all the character has been transformed at that moment.
Jesus is not yet that firmly seated as Lord in the inner depths of many Christians. It must hurt the Lord deeply that in churches considered most sound, sin so often still runs rampant, even among the leaders. Or where obvious sin has not reared its head, so little fruit of the Spirit is seen.
In such churches, conversion may be complete in the conscious mind, but the heart remains almost untouched. And that is the crux of unbelief - our souls must be healed to be whole. All the pain & hurts of the past need to be laid at the cross.
The Lord must be allowed to fully occupy each believer's heart. This will be accomplished through the weapon of the Word of God being spoken to one another through preaching of the Word, the ministry of small groups, & through diligent, intercessory prayer for & love for one other. As the Word touches the places of unbelief in our hearts, we will arise in conversion to take up the battle cry against the flesh & make it our joy to plunge to inner death & rebirth.
PURITY OF HEART
Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (KJV). Mark again those words, "pure in heart." Jesus was saying that those whose hearts are purified come to understand & embrace God for who He actually is.
The inference is that because our hearts are not pure, we impute to God motives & ways that are not His. We do not see God, but only our projection of Him.
The Scripture teaches: "We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, 'I love God,' & hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also" (1 John 4:19-21, NASB).
Here we see that the impurity is hate. Our hatred of fellow human beings colors what we see of God—or prevents it altogether.
This is one of the primary facts that necessitates continual conversion of the heart. Our hidden & forgotten judgments, especially against our fathers & mothers, prevent us from seeing God as He is.
"He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness," wrote Solomon (Prov. 20:20). Our judgments made against our parents in childhood, usually long forgotten, have darkened our spiritual eyes. We do not see ourselves, others, life or God accurately.
Many times people have come to us saying: "Don't talk to me about a loving God. Why doesn't He stop all the wars, or at least prevent some of the bestial things men do to men, sometimes in the very name of religion? Or doesn't He care?" We have all heard statements like that.
Being prayer ministers, Paula and I never try to defend God. We avoid theological debates. We know the answer is not a mental one but a matter of an impure heart. We merely ask, "What was your father like?"
Invariably we uncover a history similar to what the person has imputed to God—cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and so forth. No matter what the mind may learn in Sunday school of a gentle and loving God who "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16), the heart has been scarred and shaped by reactions to our earthly fathers.
As a result, we often project cruelty, insensitivity, desertion, criticism and other negative factors onto our understanding of who God is. Our minds may declare His goodness, but our behaviors reveal what the heart really thinks: "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7, NKJV). Until we are able to forgive our natural fathers for the hurts they may have caused in our hearts, and repent for the judgments we have formed against them, we will not be able to truly see God as gentle, kind and lovingly present in our lives.
REPENTANCE FOSTERS HEALING
I (John) had a gentle, kind father who was a traveling salesman and gone much of the time. During the summer of 1979 I found myself puzzling over why thoughts of unbelief so often trooped through my mind.
In airports or while driving on busy freeways, I would find myself thinking, How can God really be concerned about every detail of all these people's lives? Or, How can He actually know every hair that falls from every one of these teeming millions of heads? (SeeMatt. 10:30.)
My mind insisted, "This is purely a logical matter. After all, that's a reasonable question to ask." But my spirit was not at rest.
Finally I thought to ask the Lord; He instantly replied: "Your father had little time to notice what you were doing." That revealed my inner world of judgments. I had judged, "Dad wouldn't see, compliment, affirm or care."
Nevermind that he did, in fact, do those things when he was home. My bitter root grew because he wasn't always there. So, of course, God wouldn't be there for me. And I worked so hard for Him!
Those thoughts plagued my mind most especially whenever Paula & I were busy serving the Lord. The little boy had been hurt because he worked so hard & received so little notice for it, & the grown-up subconsciously expected God to treat him like that, too.
Following the revelation, repentance was easy & joyous. I have never since been bothered by such nagging doubts. Now I do not merely have belief, but surety of knowing & feeling that my Father sees & approves of my service to Him. Now I have abiding fellowship with Him, in heart as well as spirit (see 1 John 1:3).
How many of us have come to our parents for something, & they said, "We'll see," & then forgot about it? Or our parents made a promise to buy us something, but either it never arrived or came so late that the joy of it was gone. Covertly, that colored our faith in God.
What kind of anger did we push down & forget, because we thought, It's not good to be angry with Dad & Mom. What kind of resentful judgments did our hearts cherish & our minds forget?
SEEING GOD AFRESH
Perhaps the most important way we all fail to see God is in the most basic—love. Few of us had parents who could, & did, take the initiative to regularly comfort & give affection when we needed it.
Most of the people I have ministered to insist that their parents did not initiate action appropriate to their needs in childhood. Many complain that their parents never showed affection at all. That clouded our hearts' picture of God, no matter what our minds learned to think of Him.
The entire Bible is the history of God taking the initiative to come to deliver all mankind & us personally. We see that basic fact, if we have eyes at all to read. But in the daily practice of devotional life, we strive to reach a God who we actually think in our hearts may not be listening after all, & we feel alone.
Our hearts see God clothed in our parents' mannerisms. In such areas we are unconverted in heart. All mankind's history teaches us at our hearts' level that God is created in our image instead of the other way around.
Our own personal history is the fabric by which we see God. And all our judgments become colored glasses that darken the face of God (see Is. 55:8-9).
From the moment of our first conversion, the Holy Spirit is given license to work upon our hearts, to reveal & convict. The Christian life of sanctification & transformation is therefore summarized: "Beloved, now we are children of God, & it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2–3, NASB).
After many years of ministering to others, Paula & I are still discovering more & more areas in which our own forgotten but still active childhood judgments of our parents have blinded our eyes to God. And we had good, loving, well-intentioned parents.
What of the many who have been so fiercely wounded? St. Paul said, "I press on to know Him" (see Phil. 3:12).
Our first conversion has resurrected our inner Lazarus. Now let us be members of that fellowship of Bethany called by Christ to take the grave clothes off one another's hands, feet and faces (see John 11:44) so we may behold life, walk with Him & hold His hand.