One human phenomenon that has always amazed me is how much we don’t see until we believe. One person whose heart is open could be experiencing a major encounter with God while the person sitting next to him or her is angry and bitterly against what’s going on. I’ve been both people myself.
What’s the difference? It’s the heart. As Paul tells us, it’s with the heart that one believes…” (Rom.10:10). It’s not the head. The head only believes after the heart is open.
I’m convinced that a major reason why we don’t see a lot of the supernatural signs and wonders in the West is because we won’t believe until we see. This “seeing is believing” mantra is deeply woven into the fabric of our cultural paradigm. It all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I won’t believe it until I see it.
I can’t see it, so it must not be real. Kind of like playing peek-a-boo with a 2-year old. When their eyes are covered you can’t see them! That’s a lot like our working reality.
When we’re oblivious to the spiritual world around us, it’s not because it’s not there; it’s because, as Jesus said, we don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Jesus said to the Centurion, “as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (Matt.8:13).
The opposite must also be true…as you have unbelief, let it NOT be done for you.
When our heart’s not open, what we “don’t believe in” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I prayed, nothing happened, therefore, it’s not real. This is the logic of unbelief.
Does this mean that all we have to do is say we believe and it will happen? I wish it were that easy! It’s more likely that even when we’re open to these spiritual realities it will be difficult. We’ve had a somewhat deist version of Christianity drilled into us for generations, with preachers filling the airwaves, writing book and blogs, and making videos, telling us that God somehow doesn’t do anything supernatural anymore.
But, apparently, the devil still does have supernatural power on the earth, so we have to be afraid of lying signs and wonders, and a lot of other things going on in the Body of Christ that our closed mind doesn’t understand.
I’ve taught ministry students how to hear God’s voice and see visions. I’ve had people tell me they’ve never heard God, but then started hearing Him once I showed them how. Does this mean that God wasn’t speaking to them before, or giving them visions before? No. It simply means that now they’ve tuned their hearts, eyes, and ears to Heaven.
Nothing really changes except what’s going on between our ears.
When I thought healing was not always God’s will, or it was some special gift, my prayers were powerless begging prayers, asking God to do something He’s already done on the cross. I didn’t see anyone get healed. As soon as I believed that healing was God’s will, people started getting healed. What was the difference? The only difference I could tell was that I was now open to healing. Not everyone I pray for gets healed but healing is no longer a question in my mind.
The difference between who we are in Christ (identity), and where we are in Christ (experience) is also between our ears, but it starts with our heart. Our problem is not that we need something outside of us, something we don’t already have residing in us. The problem is with an unrenewed mind and a hardened heart.
If this is true (which I believe it is), is it possible that our sanctification is the process of getting our mind to agree with the heavenly reality we already have in Christ?
and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col.2:10 NASB)
The Kingdom of heaven operates in cooperation with the renewed mind, and we won’t be renewed until we’re open to something that’s not normal in our experience.
Spiritual growth, then, is when the Holy Spirit reveals something you were missing in your experience, but not something you didn’t already possess. You either weren’t aware of it or you didn’t believe it.
Nothing changed in the spiritual realm, our mindset changed. Scripturally, this is called metanoeō. I would use the fourth century Latin translation we all know as “repentance,” but repentance conjurs up something else up in our mind.
Re-penance speaks of voluntary self-punishment to try to amend ourselves. This word belongs in the Dark Ages, not in Christianity.
Metanoeo (μετανοέω) is actually the Greek word used. It speaks of re-formation. It literally means to have a mindset shift. A better English word would be “reform.” Young’s Literal Translation actually uses the word “reform” instead of “repent.” I wrote about this here.
This paradigm shift comes from Holy Spirit revelation. It’s like Holy Spirit pulls back the curtain (or pulls our hands off of our eyes) and all of sudden you see something amazing that was always there but you didn’t see before. You are changed in this area of encounter from that moment on. You will never be the same.
But you won’t see this until you believe.
Photo credit: http://www.freeimages.com / Jason Weimer