Christianity is not about what God can do for you; it’s not about what you can do for God; and it’s not about you doing great works in your own strength either. It is about God doing something to you, so He can do something through you.
Even Jesus, God incarnate in the earth, did nothing on His own. In John 5:30 in the Voice translation, He declares, “I have not ever acted, and will not in the future act, on My own. I listen to the directions of the One who sent Me and act on these divine instructions. For this reason, My judgment is always fair and never self-serving. I’m committed to pursuing God’s agenda and not My own.”
Jesus walked in union with His heavenly father to such a degree that He could declare, “I only do what I see the Father doing (John 5:19).” He did not seek His own will (John 5:30). He did not speak His own words (John 12:29). And He did not act alone. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38) and operated as “one with the Father.” (John 10:30)
I love to read and meditate on Matthew 11:27-28 in the Message Bible, which describes Jesus’ intimate relationship with the Father and how He operated in His earthly ministry (his life purpose).
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.” (Matt. 11:27-28 MSG)
This passage amazes me. It not only uncovers the way Jesus lived in intimate communion with the Father, but it promises the same type of relationship to anyone willing to seek it! Like Jesus, we can also know the Father, and through our relationship with Him, fulfill His purposes for our lives.
And yet, so many times as we step out in faith to do the things God has called us to do, the circumstances and resistance that we experience overwhelm us. What’s that about?
Belief or Unbelief Revealed Through the Storm
Did you know that our state of mind, how we react, and how we face and confront the challenges and obstacles that arise along the way to fulfilling our dreams are clues? They are clues that reveal what we really believe. HOW we go through what we go through reveals our hearts. We can say we believe in God, and act like we are in faith all day long. But circumstances reveal what we truly believe.
Often, there is a disconnect between who God says He is and who we really believe Him to be for us personally. Also, we often struggle to experience who we are in Christ in the midst of trials and tribulation because it conflicts with our internal image of who we really believe ourselves to be at a subconscious level.
How we respond to a doctor’s diagnosis, a business failure, or even an overdrawn bank account will reveal what we truly believe. But beloved, don’t get upset with yourself or condemn yourself for your unbelief. The disciples themselves, even after all of the miracles they had seen Jesus perform, were often filled with fear in the midst of the circumstances. In the face of the storm in Mark 4:37-38, they cried out to Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Even Peter, who Jesus called “the rock,” denied Jesus three times when a servant girl questioned him out of fear.
The Holy Spirit already knows what you believe. It is us, many times, who are clueless.
Breakdowns are Opportunities for Breakthrough
If today you aren’t experiencing the miraculous results that are demonstrated time and time again in the Bible, beloved, it’s not God that is withholding a miracle from you. It’s the enemy’s resistance and deception. One of his favorite strategies is getting people to believe that God is withholding something from them (think Eve in the Garden). Another one is telling people that it’s God’s will that you suffer. He’s teaching you something through it rather than teaching you through His word and Spirit. The enemy’s tactics are always to discredit God and change your focus from Jesus and His victory at Calvary to you and your weaknesses, problems, circumstances, and failures.
When I wanted to have children, I had three miscarriages. I could have easily believed the doctors and given up. I was adopted. I understand what a blessing it is to be raised in an adopted home. I could have decided to do the same and given up on the promise of God to “make the barren woman a joyous mother of children.” (Psalm 113:9) I could have blamed God for withholding a child from me or believed that He was teaching me something through the miscarriages. I could have even gone so far as to believe it wasn’t God’s will for me to have children and even considered that He was the one “taking my children to heaven to be with Him.”
How do I know? Because I hear Christians say these ridiculous things all the time. In fact, when I was in my battle to believe God for children, well-meaning Christians were some of the worst people to be around. They thought it was comforting to give me these kinds of theories. But thankfully, by then, it was too late. I had already experienced too much of the miraculous and had too much experience overcoming the enemy.
You could not convince me that my miscarriages were God. I knew it was the enemy who steals, kills, and destroys, not God. Jesus came that we would have abundant life—blessings not curses (John 10:10). So instead of blaming God, I engaged with Him. I asked Him to show me how the enemy was stealing my babies. His answer is a longer story than I have time for here, but in short, He showed me that in my heart, I believed more in my inability to have a baby than I did in Him, His Word, and His promises. I also feared miscarriages more than I believed in God’s ability to give me a full-term pregnancy.
While this wasn’t a fun thing to come to terms with, it was a turning point in my battle to have a baby. The miscarriages that I experienced revealed my heart; it was my storm that revealed my fear and unbelief. And ultimately, it was the breakdown that God used to lead me to a breakthrough (their names are Lily and Ella, by the way).
So, if you are in the midst of storm, I get it. It’s not fun. Storms never are. But instead of possibly handling it the way you might have in the past, I encourage you to ask God specific questions about how the enemy is “eating your lunch.” Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and show you how your unbelief is giving the enemy power he really doesn’t possess.
How is the enemy getting access? What are you afraid of? What do you really believe? Then, ask Holy Spirit to transform your mind and help you repent. Ask Him to change you (Apart from Him, you can do nothing. John 15:5) and to supernaturally impart the revelation you need to believe and have faith in all that Jesus has accomplished. Jesus is the Word that became flesh, who possesses ALL power and authority!