As I watched the Super Bowl last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice how often the Patriots and the Rams used misdirection on offense to fool the defense. They did this by running a play that made it look like the ball was going one direction so the defense ran to that side of field, only to have the quarterback get the ball to a player going a completely different direction. This would often lead to big plays and devastating results for the defense!
This concept is true spiritually true. Satan will often take a certain biblical truth and subtly misdirect or twist that truth to devastate our lives. One area I’ve seen him do this and have tremendous results is with the message of faith. Specifically, faith for believing for certain promises of God such as healing, increased finances, miracles, and much more.
Let me be clear, I believe its God’s will to provide all of those things. They are promises! And I believe we receive the promises according to our faith. The key to receiving though is where we put our faith. I want to use one of the most famous faith scriptures of all time to illustrate my point.
Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Many people have read that scripture and rejoiced when they find out if they’ll just believe God and speak his promises, mountains have to move! Mountains of sickness, mountains of debt, mountains of depression! I got out of my mind giddy when I first saw that! It was awesome until I saw the short phrase in the middle of the verse “and does not doubt in his heart.”
Just by the simple fact Jesus said if you don’t doubt, it planted the seed of it’s possible to doubt in my heart and mind. I would pray one of God’s promises and then ask myself, “do I have any doubt?” Then if the answer didn’t come right away, I would think, “maybe its because I have doubt? How do I find out if I have doubt and how do I get rid of this doubt if I have doubt?” Without realizing it, I had made me and my ability to believe the focus of my faith. Satan had misdirected my faith from having faith in God, to having faith in my faith!
Some would say, but Jesus said in Mark 11:23, if you have any doubt God doesn’t have to answer your prayer! How was your faith misdirected? Glad you asked! The Greek word for doubt is diakrinō. It translates to separate, discriminate, discern, or judge. The word diakrinō is used 19 times in the New Testament and the majority of the time it means judge, discern, or oppose. Here are just a few examples:
1 Corinthians 6:5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?
1 Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge
James 2:4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judge with evil thoughts?
Jude 1:22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction
All those verses use diakrinō as judge or discern. It’s really a more accurate rendering of the word than have unbelief. So let me read Mark 11:23 to you this way:
Assuredly I say to you whoever says to this mountain be removed and doesn’t judge himself, he will have whatever he says.
Does that take all the pressure off? Jesus was really saying, “Don’t look at you, look at me. Trust in my grace! My grace has paid for all the promises; quit looking at why you don’t qualify.” This becomes even more clear when we look at the context of Mark 11:23. The context is Jesus had just cursed a fig tree in verse 14 and it wilted and his disciples were amazed. They asked Jesus how he made the fig tree wilt and he began to explain to them principles on faith. In the scripture the fig tree represents Judaism or the law. The law was created to disqualify us and show us we need a savior. In context, Jesus was literally cursing an entire religious system based on relating to God around our personal performance.
The day I learned its not about me having some sort of perfect faith without any fear present in order to receive answers to prayer changed my life! Since then, I have seen hundreds of people healed that I’ve prayed for (including people who were healed when I was having thoughts of what if it doesn’t work this time present as I prayed). I also experience greater amounts of provision and peace! I believe if you will accept this truth about putting faith in the finished work of Jesus instead of focusing on having perfect faith, you will see greater levels of breakthrough in prayer.
For many years Satan misdirected me to put my faith in my faith; but thank God for the Holy Spirit who redirected me to put my faith in God’s love! When I realized God’s not judging and disqualifying me, my faith went through the roof! Galatians 5:6 says “faith works by love.” When we know how much God loves us and wants us to get the promise, faith is in Him is the natural response. I pray this article has blessed you and you have a greater understanding of the word of God, but more importantly a greater intimacy with God and that you begin to see more breakthroughs when you pray!
Hi. I saw this blog on the Charis Alumni Facebook page. Really blessed by it. I also would feel downcast when I read about ‘doubt in the heart’ in Mark 11. Wonderful insights here. K-ville is my hometown (not living there now) and I’m so glad the message of Grace is being made available there.