How Not to be Tempted with Unbelief

Jun. 20, 2018 | By Creflo Dollar

Summary

As Christians, it always benefits us to practice the basics of biblical teachings. Our success or failure depends on us mastering these basics, one of which is the importance of avoiding unbelief. Abraham, known for his great faith, believed God when God made him a promise. The Bible is filled with promises God makes to us, and when we face situations in our lives, we have the same opportunity as Abraham to exercise our faith. Abraham and Sarah’s physical circumstances contradicted what God said, and so Abraham deliberately considered the promise, not the contradiction. We cannot be tempted by something we refuse to think about. Our minds are the arena of faith, and therefore, overcoming temptation and unbelief begins with our thoughts.
  1. Abraham could have fallen into unbelief; he chose instead to believe God’s promise.
    1. 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. Abraham took the hope he derived from God’s promise, and used it against the physical situation he and Sarah faced.
      2. When we face a situation, “hoping against hope” and simply clinging to a possibility, we have the promise of God’s Word.
      3. Strong faith is required to see the promise. Like Abraham, we must not consider the circumstance that contradicts what God says.
      4. The only way we face temptation is when we think about it. Adam and Eve were not tempted anywhere in the garden of Eden, except when they considered the one law that forbid them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
      5. We must constantly renew our minds, so that we can take authority over our thought lives.
      6. Our thoughts affect our entire lives; therefore, we cannot ignore what we think about.
      7. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… (Proverbs 23:7).
    2. What we meditate on determines our success.
      1. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).
      2. This promise works both ways. Unbelief hardens our hearts, and thinking on the wrong things blocks our success. Worry is a negative form of meditation.
  1. We can use the Word of God to fight back against contradictions to the promises.
    1. Developing a relationship with God and paying attention to the Word benefits us.
      1. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:2, 3).
    2. Giving attention to the Word makes it a reality in our lives and gives us victory over situations that contradict the promises. We have the authority to verbally cast down thoughts that go against God’s Word.
      1. When we receive a bad medical diagnosis, we fight back with Scripture.
      2. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord (Psalm 118:17).
      3. If a thought suggests we are failures, we can speak the Word.
      4. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37).
      5. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
    3. There will always be situations to deal with in life. This is to be expected; we simply must know how life works on the spiritual level. We combat wrong-thinking by speaking the Word out loud.
      1. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
      2. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs… (Ephesians 5:19).
  1. There are plenty of opportunities to doubt, but we must be moved only by our faith.
    1. 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. When the situation begins to look contrary to what we are praying for, it is because the enemy is at work trying to foster unbelief, worry, and fear.
      2. The devil’s top strategy is to cause believers to wonder if God’s promises will actually come true. We must continue to stand on those promises, no matter what.
      3. Fasting is how we re-align our bodies with our spirits.
    2. 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…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, 18, 21-24).
      1. We can be believers and still have areas of unbelief in our lives.
      2. Often, the contradiction to the promise comes from our physical senses and causes us to doubt. This is especially true when we do not see results right away.
      3. Most people are dominated by their physical senses. They are moved more by what they see than what they believe.
      4. The disciples were hindered by their unbelief when they saw and heard the boy’s demonic possession.
  1. In order to recognize and resist unbelief, we must be aware of how it can creep in.
    1. Unbelief can show up three different ways.
      1. The first way is through ignorance, when we simply do not know the truth. This is the easiest type of unbelief to deal with.
      2. The second type is disbelief, which is a refusal to accept what is true. This results from being taught wrong, and it is harder to deal with.
      3. It also comes through natural input that is contrary to the truth. Peter walked on water when Jesus told him to, but then sank when he felt the wind and saw the waves. This natural input disrupted his faith.
    2. Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13).
      1. Paul admitted that his initial unbelief was due to ignorance.
      2. Ignorance is dealt with by learning the truth.
      3. We do not have to get hung up with fulfilling the law and keeping all of the commandments in the same way the people did under the old covenant. Love perfectly fulfills the law.
      4. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

Scripture References

Romans 4:18, 19

Proverbs 23:7

Joshua 1:8

Psalm 1:2, 3

Psalm 118:17

Romans 8:37

Philippians 4:13

2 Timothy 3:12

Ephesians 5:19

Matthew 17:14-21

Mark 9:17, 18, 21-24

1 Timothy 1:13

Romans 13:8

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