Pastor Jason begins with an anecdote about his daughter and her love for the zoo. However, the expression on her face in the photo, it didn’t look as if she was having a good time. It’s easy to make judgments based on what we see, but Jason asks us the question: How do we know what we actually believe?
Pastor Jason explains how Jesus went up to the mountain top and His glory was revealed. The disciples were then coming down from the mountain after this “mountain top experience.” Then this is the event that followed:
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I [b]bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 Jesus said to him, “If[c] you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him.
And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
This interaction between this father and Jesus starts to beg the question of belief and unbelief and what that means.
Well we could easily just say that belief is mental assent, you just believe it to be true. Such as, “I believe cats are better than dogs.”
These kind of statements don’t really have super significant impact. But when we dig a little deeper in the Bible, it seems that everything depends on belief. Certainly for this father and young boy. His healing and deliverance seems to ride completely on belief.
Eph. 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God...
Romans 10:9-11 – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
According to the Bible, belief matters significantly. Everything depends upon belief.
Pastor Jason references Michael Novak and his theory about the three levels of belief based out of his book Belief and Unbelief.
1. Public Belief – What you say you believe. What you proclaim to the world what you believe. This is what you want the world to think about you. Our “social media” level of belief. We want to put out what we want them to think about us.
This is sort of an unreliable belief.
2. Private Belief – What you actually think you believe. This is what you tell yourself what you believe.
For example, you could tell yourself that it’s good to give and to think of others before yourself. But there will come a time where circumstances will test our beliefs. What actually determines what we actually believe is our actions.
When we look at our actions and behavior, we’ll recognize we often don’t actually believe what we think we believe. If you examine your actions, you would see that you actually believe that you’re the most important person. And if there is anything leftover, then you might give it away.
If we want to know what we really believe, we’ve got to study our lives. We can’t believe what we say because it’s bogus. We can’t believe what we think because it’s so often unreliable. We usually think higher of ourselves than we really are.
3. Personal Belief – This is your actual belief. Regardless of the circumstance, this is what comes out.
We often are operating with gaps. There are gaps between what we say and think and actually believe.
We want all of our beliefs to align.
What does that look like? Jason challenges us that it looks like Jesus. He says that everything Jesus said He believed and everything He thought himself to be was true to His core and He acted in a way that was always consistent.
When we operate that way, when our beliefs are aligned, we are our truest selves. We have inner peace and consistency within who we are. No back and forth between what we are saying and what we are thinking and believing.
Jason uses the illustration of driving on the freeway. He had a friend who would always get angry when he was driving. He was an angry driver. So Pastor Jason explained how he could relate because before he knew Jesus, he would often operate the same way on the road. He told his friend that it’s not good to be an angry driver. Jason truly thought this to be true.
He told his friend that when you’re an angry driver, you’ve given control over to somebody you don’t even know. And the worst part is the other driver doesn’t even know they have control over you like that.
A couple days later, Jason was driving his car in traffic. There was a merging lane and the car coming up was going very fast. They had to then slam on their brakes and it caused Jason to slam on his brakes. He then reacted in a way that was angry toward that driver. His wife said, “Weren’t you just telling your friend how bad it is to be an angry driver?”
He said his public, private, and personal beliefs weren’t all aligned in that moment of testing. He realized in that moment that his belief was that he was better than that other person. Instead of speaking life and blessing, he was speaking death and cursing.
So how do we get our 3 beliefs in line?
v.21 – "How long has it been happening to him?" "From childhood. ….If you can do anything, have compassion."
This is the father’s public belief in this moment. He’s admitting that his faith was a little shaky. He wasn’t so sure.
Jesus responds. This has nothing to do with His divine power and love for Him. He says, “If you can?...All things are possible.”
If you question God’s love, he presents to us the cross.
If you question God’s power, he presents to us the tomb.
So Jesus is telling the father, it’s not about my love for you or about my power; let’s talk about your belief right now. If you have enough belief, watch what can happen.
V. 24 – I believe, help my unbelief.
Here’s what he’s saying, “Jesus, I have a little. I’m going to give you that belief, but can you help me with that unbelief.” Publicly, privately, and personally his beliefs are lined up right now.
He is going to trust Jesus with his belief and his unbelief.
He says Jesus responds, “Watch me work. You give me that little bit of belief, and watch what I can do with that unbelief.”
The hope we have to increase our belief is by coming to the Word of God. We have to come to Jesus.