My article was in today’s newspaper. It is a combination of several of my recent devotionals.
How does unbelief creep in? I felt this question pop into my mind when I read Matthew 17:20. Jesus was answering His disciples’ question. He said, “…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
The issue is not the size of our faith. Unbelief creeps in when we allow the devil’s fiery dart-lies to penetrate our mind. It also comes in when we waver in what God’s word instructs us to do.
James 1:8 says that those who waver are double-minded and therefore unstable. Their faith borders are not secured. Faith is a resolute, unshakeable, and steadfastly rooted truth that is hidden in our heart. It is surrounded with thankfulness.
In Colossians 2:5 Paul commended the church, “…rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” He went on in verses 6-7 to say, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 says to take every thought captive. That does not mean that we take every thought apart to see if it has a lie in it. It means that we hide God’s truth in our heart. It is this inward truth that will rise like a sentinel to thwart any lie from entering in the first place.
Those lies that we dialogue with become part of our own thought processes. They seed into the soil of our hearts unknowingly. That is the stealth activity of our enemy. It is essential to remember that not every thought is of our own origin. As each lie is hidden, it is gathered into a stronghold which wars against us from inside.
All fiery darts come from the outside. Ephesians 6:16 was written so we could stop them from entering. It says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
How then does our faith quench fiery darts? Quench means to suppress, thwart, and extinguish. It’s a word that describes how our enemy seeks to destroy our faith. The opposite of suppress is to express. The opposite of thwart is to succeed in victory. The opposite of extinguishing is to ignite.
We are warned in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 4:30 says to not grieve the Holy Spirit. Verse 31 listed the enemy’s tactics. He works through people that are under his influence through the lies they have believed.
It says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice.” Verse 32 helps us to come in the opposite spirit. It says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another; even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Paul’s further instructions are in Colossians 3:12-13. It says, “Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
The underpinning of our faith is forgiveness. As we are forgiven, we are to forgive in the same manner. Matthew 18:35 says that unless we forgive from our heart, God the Father will send tormentors.
Could the Lord be using folks in your life that you are at cross purposes with? What He allows always has His purpose ingrained in the fabric of the trial. It is tightly woven so that nothing can thwart it.
Proverbs 27:17 Amplified says, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (to show rage or worthy purpose).” We are to be iron sharpeners not friction igniters.
Proverbs 15:1-2 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” We are to exemplify the Lord’s character at all times. He uses adversity to reveal the hidden lies that undermine our faith.