Unbelief: How it Counteracts Faith

by Creflo Dollar | 4 Jul 2018

Summary

On our Christian walk, faith in what God has made available to us is extremely important if we are to see any manifestations at all in our lives. Releasing our faith is a powerful tool in our fight against the unbelief the enemy sends against us. Self-effort is the opposite of trust in God, and if we find ourselves working to earn what we want to receive from Him, this is an indication that we are operating in unbelief. We must not confuse empty works with works of faith. There is technically nothing wrong with doing something in order to see the manifestations of God’s promises, as long as what we do is inspired by the Holy Spirit and led by Him. Doubt short-circuits our faith. When we struggle, we do not need more faith; we simply need to banish unbelief in our lives, in any degree and in any form in which it shows up.
  1. Our belief is strengthened when we consider the things of God, not of the world.
    1. And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect(Romans 4:12-14).
      1. We cannot perform to receive the promise; we receive it by faith. If we could receive it by working, our faith would be useless.
      2. …And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
      3. …To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1).
      4. …But to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
      5. We do have faith, but the intellectual head knowledge of it does not mean it will automatically produce victory in our lives. Any unbelief we have will counteract and cancel out that faith until we get rid of all unbelief.
      6. Our problem is not a lack of faith, but too much unbelief.
    2. And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:14-21).
      1. “Faithless” is faith that is no longer out in the field working.
      2. It is significant that Jesus referred to the disciples’ unbelief, rather than telling them that they lacked faith.
      3. What the disciples saw and heard through their physical senses caused unbelief in them.
    3. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:17-24).
      1. Sights and sounds in the natural realm are the main ways the devil now causes unbelief in people.
      2. The disciples’ doubt rendered them powerless and ineffective.
  1. Unbelief creeps in when we stop considering God’s promises. We must not allow this.
    1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matthew 10:1).
      1. Jesus had already given the disciples power and authority over the enemy, so their question as to why they could not cast out the demon was valid.
    2. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them (Mark 6:13).
      1. Although the disciples had succeeded previously, their unbelief stopped them when they encountered the possessed boy.
    3. The presence of unbelief, even if it comes from someone else, stops the manifestations. This hampered even Jesus, who had perfect faith.
      1. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching (Mark 6:5, 6).
      2. Unbelief can co-exist with faith; therefore, we must deal with doubt and root it out.
    4. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you (Luke 17:5, 6).
      1. We do not need big faith to do great things; we just need to minimize the unbelief working against it. The enemy designed unbelief to neutralize our faith.
      2. Although we love God and have received grace, we still need to know how to live by faith. Grace is no excuse to keep sinning.
      3. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid (Galatians 2:17).
  1. It is important to root out any unbelief as soon as we detect it. Doubt counteracts faith.
    1. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36).
      1. Fear is based in unbelief. It is an indicator that unbelief is present.
      2. The other two indicators are care and worry. If we really have faith in something, we will not stress out or worry.
      3. We can either focus on our fears and worries, or focus on the Word. What we give our attention to is the thing to which we give strength.
      4. When fear attacks, we fight back with the Word.
      5. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
      6. We must not let others’ drama steal our peace.
      7. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
    2. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways(James 1:7, 8).
      1. We must have single-mindedness in order to receive the promises of God, and not let unbelief derail our faith.
    3. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb(Romans 4:18, 19).
      1. We cannot be tempted by what we do not think about. Therefore, we must be mindful of what we think on a daily basis.
      2. Abraham refused to consider the physical circumstances, only God’s promise.
      3. To consider is to meditate on and ponder something. As free moral agents, we can either focus on the problem, or on God’s promise to us.
      4. When the disciples were on the boat with Jesus, they made this mistake when they began debating that there was not enough bread. Jesus rebuked them for their hardness of heart, because they forgot about His previous miracles.
      5. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand? (Mark 8:14-21).
      6. A hardened heart is a heart with no wisdom, judgment, or understanding.
      7. If we constantly have problems, it is because we do not spend enough time in the Word.
      8. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings (Proverbs 4:20).

Scripture References

Romans 4:12-14

Galatians 2:17, 20

2 Peter 1:1

Romans 12:3

Matthew 17:14-21

Mark 9:17-24

Matthew 10:1

Mark 6:5, 6, 13

Luke 17:5, 6

Mark 5:36

1 Peter 5:7

Proverbs 4:20, 23

James 1:7, 8

Romans 4:18, 19

Mark 8:14-21