Help My Unbelief
If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ll be honest. I’ve been exhausted. Drained by commitment, emptied of all passion. I’ve been filled with drudgery where there used to be delight. My calling got exhausting.
And to continue in that honesty, one of the main reasons why the calling gets exhausting is because there’s a tinge of unbelief in my heart. Okay…maybe more than a tinge. Maybe more like a smige…or a morsel…or a spec. Alright…maybe it’s more than that…more like a smorgasbord, a plethora, a multitude. Maybe the level of unbelief grows to such an aptitude of doubt that any sort of belief has been all but blotted out. Where the heart was once full of hope, excitement, enthusiasm and optimism, it’s now been stained with doubt, distain, discouragement, and pessimism. When unbelief floods the heart, belief seems to have nowhere to go, but possibly the head. And when belief is relegated strictly to the head, exhaustion sets in.
Why can’t the head believe if the heart doesn’t? Well, the head believes based on facts. The head believes based on proof. The head believes based on the science and the structure and the logic. But the heart has the capacity to operate differently. The heart believes Truth. The heart believes Love. The heart believes the Spirit.
Where the head functions naturally, the heart functions spiritually.
And an unbelieving heart has the wrong spirit to prevail over a naturally functioning head.
Remember Paul’s remarks to the Philippians in his last chapter to the church…
I have strength for all things through Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians 4:13 AMPC
Sorry y’all…I’m so amplified! I love this version of one of the most quoted and easily memorized Scriptures because it beckons you to take a closer look at exactly what this strength is and where this strength derives.
How often do you say to yourself, “I am ready for anything!”? How often do you affirm your calling by stating, “I am equal to anything that comes my way!”? These assertions aren’t the type of self-talk that comes from a fact-based, proof-seeking head. These convictions have to come from a firm foundation of a Truth-believing, Spirit-led heart.
So when the father of a possessed little boy comes to Jesus with an issue, he’s challenged to choose the heart over the head. He’s basically asked to choose what he believes spiritually over what he sees naturally. He has the great debate between the head and the heart. And after he fills Jesus in on all the natural affairs of his son’s situation, Jesus questions his spiritual posture.
21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.”
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.”
Mark 9:21-24 ESV
This is as real as it gets. Is this not our cry daily in a calling that looks like there’s no way it will ever come to fruition? Is this not our plea every time the struggle gets real? Is this not the desire we have when the odds are stacked up against us? I hate to go out on a limb and say this, but the response the father gives in Mark 9:24 may be the realist response ever written in the Bible. (Cue the mic drop.)
Honestly, how many times have you wanted so desperately to believe when everything and everyone around you says that there’s no reason for you to believe? And when it’s a calling directly from God, it’s going to take much more than a natural eye and a logical head to see it through. At that point, this ain’t natural. It’s spiritual. And the worst thing you could do is set about accomplishing a spiritual task and go about a spiritual journey with nothing more than natural tools and practical rationale. Your calling will become exhausting.
If that’s you today, realize that the natural bent has overtaken the spiritual aspect of your calling. Pray that God strengthens you through Christ as in Philippians 4:13 and through belief as in Mark 9:23. This strength is spiritual and has the power to overcome any natural posture or position that you’ve previously taken. This kind of strength reminds you that what your calling purposes to accomplish has nothing more to do with you than the mere fact that you were chosen to see it through. This kind of strength enables you to be in awe of what God chooses to do in your life, through your life, to empower and encourage the lives of so many others. This kind of strength emboldens you and reminds you that the work will be completed, no matter how far you run or how many excuses you make. This kind of strength presses on in your weakness, creating power where naturally we would be pathetic.
So while we believe, let’s be real with God and address the place where we really need help…in our unbelief.