Help me in my unbelief. That is what the man cried out when he wanted his son healed. Here is a bit from that passage:
Mark 9:22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (ESV)
Here is the Young’s literal. See the difference?
Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, ‘If thou art able to believe! all things are possible to the one that is believing;’ (YLT)
I love that. I pray often for Jesus to help me in my unbelief.
Jesus sets us free of our fallen nature and fallen way of thinking. He sets us free from the power of sin. He sets us free from death. He destroys the works of the devil in our lives. He loves us beyond our comprehension. He is right now intently focused on you as you read this post. That is how good He is. That is how awesome He is. That is why He came…to reveal the same nature in our God. So I am sure I have areas where I don’t see all His goodness. I am sure there are areas where I am not believing in all He has for us. There are areas where I doubt He has a plan for “this” or “that” or “whatever.” As a matter of fact I bet there are more places where I doubt than I know about because I am still human. I am still being set free from my fallen processor. I am being set free from world opinion, religious fear, experiential doubt, fallen human reactions and everything else that is not like Jesus. Yep, “help me Jesus in my unbelief.”
Do you think that way? I pray you do. Want to know why? Besides the obvious answer “it is the right thing to do” I want to show you a group that didn’t do that but instead went the other way. They still had stuff but didn’t want to get rid of it. In the end they became what was in their hearts.
It all starts in John chapter 8 with a woman caught in adultery. Maybe you remember the story. Jesus challenges the religious leaders bent on catching Him “breaking the law” by this very well-known statement:
John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (ESV)
The religious leaders back off. She isn’t stoned. She is forgiven. No it is more than that. Jesus tells her He doesn’t condemn her. She did nothing to “pay for forgiveness.” No bulls or goats or blood of any kind. Still Jesus forgives her unconditionally and releases her with the power to sin no more. That is called transformation. That is called liberation. That is why Jesus came. He reveals the Father and sets us free. When we see His love and compassion we are changed forever. Jesus did break the law but He didn’t sin. He was following the law of love. He was in complete agreement with His Father who is love. Yay!
Then Jesus has a long discussion about who He is and how He is the light of the world. This is a pretty famous passage. After some back and forth with the “Jews” it says they believed in Him:
John 8:30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. (ESV)
OK now what?
“You know brother we just need to believe in Him and we are bound for Heaven and escape the torment of hell.”
Can I say with absolute certainty that Jesus didn’t come to give us a ticket out of hell. That is a religious concept with all kinds of strings attached. It is a formula with an expected outcome. Jesus instead came to save us. He came to set us free from all our junk, the lies of the enemy, the deception of man, the fallen nature condition. He reconciles us to the Father. He restores us to a right relationship. He pays us with His life (next post). When we walk in relationship with Him we are transformed by His presence, by His love, by TRUTH. He rescues us from religion and substitutes relationship. That relationship is called “following Him.” Of course we must be willing. Check out what Jesus says to these “believers” next:
John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ESV)
Wow! That is amazing, right? He says if you live in the truth of Me (abide in my word) you are truly following Him. You are surrendered to Him. You are trusting Him. You are being transformed by Him. When you surrender to the truth of Jesus you are set free from the lies of self and the world and the devil and the enemy and religion and everything else not of Jesus. Just like He told the boy’s father in the Mark passage: “If you are able to believe.” Check out what the “believing Jews” say to Jesus next:
John 8:33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (ESV)
Then Jesus says they are slaves to sin and this famous quote:
John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (ESV)
There is this great exchange where in the end Jesus says they are children of the devil. In their hearts they refused to accept the teaching of Jesus. They refused to receive His freedom in truth. They actually were plotting in their hearts to kill Him. Don’t forget, it says they “believed” in Jesus.
At one point Jesus says this:
John 8:47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (ESV)
This is before the Holy Spirit comes. They aren’t born again. They are still living in the lies of their fallen nature. These people still had hate in their heart. These were the people who in the beginning of the story wouldn’t defend the lady caught in adultery. These are the same people who hate anyone not like them. They even call Jesus a Samaritan as their best insult. At the end of this story these people pick up stones to kill Him but Jesus got away.
What is the point? It is two-fold really. Jesus sets us free completely. Think about any area in your life where you have unforgiveness or anger or hatred for anyone. No matter what they have done to you or someone you love or generally how bad they are, Jesus loves them. If He loves them then you can love them. We give Jesus our stuff and He takes it. He replaces the stuff with His love for them. That is the divine exchange. That is the ransom He pays for us to set us free. He liberates us from our bondage to hate and anger (and much more). I am walking proof. I used to be a fighter pilot in the military for a country at war with terrorists. Now I know deep in my heart they need Jesus too, just like me. Only a supernatural, miraculous God can change a heart like that.
Second is what you can expect to confront in your walk. You will meet people who “believe in Jesus” but they are full of hate. They are full of judgment. They are full of anger towards others not like them. They are like these Jews. They need to hear the truth of Jesus. Jesus is self-sacrificial love on a cross so we will know what real love looks like. He forgave while we put Him on a cross. He loved while we rejected Him and beat Him. Only a supernatural, miraculous God can make a heart like that.
We get to live in the freedom of Jesus. Just like Jesus says…the truth will set you free. So if you have junk, give it to Him. If you lack belief, ask for more. If you are hurt and living in unforgiveness, let His forgiveness wash it away. Surrender to Him and let Him save you. If you encounter someone who refuses to hear the truth, pray for a revelation and encounter. One touch from God changes everything.
One revelation of truth will set you free.