Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 14:30-31 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
A goal for me in life is to put together a book someday covering the topic of believing in our goodness. I look at Ephesians 3:20 and take to heart the edifying phrase of, “his power that is at work within us.” The Spirit of God lives in us giving us the power and goodness we need. So much of the time, I am beat down by failures, missed opportunities, poor choices, sins of the flesh, and the lies that come with all of that. I allow these things to lead me to believe that at my core I am evil and there is no real hope for me. I believe in Jesus and His promise and power in my head, but in my heart I struggle in believing in my goodness.
There are so many passages I can draw from when looking at this theme. Today, I want to look at what Jesus notes about His power that resides in us. God created us…me, good and He did not change His mind. We read in Romans 8 that nothing separates us from His love. God’s love and grace flow to us continually; it is me who causes the separation by believing the negative about me and the lies that the evil one has suggested.
What is getting in the way? Where do I start to believe these lies? First, it starts with doubt. Rob Bell in his video titled Dust notes that when Peter began to doubt, it was not Jesus he doubted; he doubted himself. He knew the power of Jesus and that Jesus could save him. In fact, he called on Jesus to save him. I think Peter looked around and thought to himself, “I can’t do this!” Oh, how many times have I been doing kingdom work and looked around and said to myself, “I can’t be doing this! Who am I?”? Because of that doubt, I usually come up short, back off, or second guess my work.
A second source of self-separation for me is in the area of holding on to my sinfulness. In his book Gateways to God Dmitri Bilgere spends time explaining what he calls the “Mercy exception.” I believe that God has mercy, grace, and love for me. In my head I understand all of that. However, in heart, there are some sinful patterns that I believe that God just cannot forgive. Behaviors in my life that I continue to work on and think, “One of these times, God will say, ‘That is one too many times for that sin.’ and there will be no redemption for me. ”. I cannot remember who said this I heard years ago, but it went something like this: “If God remembers our sin no more, then why do we keep bringing up our past sin and shame to remind Him?” Now it’s one thing to use our past as a ministry opportunity and learning experience, but to relive the shame over and over allows me to believe the lie that God can never forgive my sin.
What does it take for me to believe in myself and my goodness? First, I have to remember that I am created in the image of God and Jesus. That means at my core, there is goodness. My choices may go against my goodness and could eventually create an evil heart, but God created me good. I must draw on God’s goodness that he placed inside me at birth.
Second, I must believe in what Jesus tells me. Peter doubted himself when started to believe in what he saw and thought about himself. Jesus gave him authority to walk on the water and Peter began to doubt his ability to use that power. Jesus has empowered me to further His kingdom, I must believe in my power through Jesus.
Third, I must stay connected to Jesus, His teachings, and His love. When I believe a lie and doubt myself, I need to bring that to Jesus. I need to confess that I am lacking faith and believing the lie and ask Jesus to tell me the truth about me. It is amazing how much more powerful I feel when I do this, yet still try to fix things on my own. Jesus is there, His Spirit is within me, I need to stay connected and pay attention to the truth he tells me about me.
It is so easy to identify with the negative of this world. It is easy for me to take that negative and put it on like an old t-shirt. However, it is time for me to believe in what Jesus sees in me. It is time for me to live in the power and goodness given me at birth.
1. List the judgments you have about yourself around your faith and life.
2. What negative to you believe to be true about you?
3. What is the source of the lie or negative you believe?
4. Think about the mercy and grace God showed through Jesus. Is this negative or lie true about you at your core?
5. What does Jesus think of you?
6. This week, pay attention to what negative or lie you have believed about yourself. Ask Jesus to show you the truth about you.
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