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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Don’t Half-Heartedly Resist Sin – KILL It

Fight from Microsoft Publisher Clip art

Tendinitis

For a couple months I’ve had tendinitis in my right wrist, brought on by doing some landscaping in our front yard.

I went to the doctor, and as a result of following the doctor’s recommendations the pain is lessening.

At least I think it is.  It ‘s a slow process.  Frustratingly slow.  Exasperatingly slow.  Will-it-ever-get-better slow.

You get the picture.

Half-Hearted Resistance

So yesterday afternoon I was walking and praying by the creek.

And once again I prayed about my wrist.  I thanked God for the doctor, for the treatment I had received, and for the progress I was making.

Then I asked The Father for complete healing, mentioning that I had a mission trip coming up, and how helpful it would be to have full use of my wrist by then.

But as I prayed I could tell there was unbelief in my heart.  Lurking in the back of my mind were thoughts like —

  • Why did God let this happen?
  • How can this be a good thing?
  • Why does healing have to take so long?

I knew this was wrong, so I fought back – sort of.  I confessed my unbelief – kind of.  I preached some promises to myself — a little.

I resisted my sin half-heartedly, and then I went on to review my memory verses.

Holy Spirit Conviction

But when I came to Romans 8:12-13, the Holy Spirit convicted me –

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

And it struck me –

  • I am called to put sin to death.
  • By the Spirit’s power I CAN put sin to death.
  • In order to live, I MUST put sin to death.

But I had not been putting my sin to death.  I was letting unbelief about my wrist fester in my heart.  For weeks I had put up with low-grade grumbling about my wrist.

I never fell into full-blown anger against God, or despair about my situation.  But I had not taken my grumbling seriously.

I had not admitted that this grumbling was sinful unbelief.  I had not launched a full-scale battle against this unbelief and — by the Spirit’s power — put it to death.

Instead, I had given only half-hearted resistance — just enough to lessen the unbelief, but not enough to destroy it.

It was time for war.

To the Death

So I turned to Christ just as I was, telling him that I trusted his shed blood to pay for the guilt of my sin, and his perfect righteousness to cover my remaining sin.

Then I confessed my unbelief —

  • That I was not trusting that my wrist problem was God’s servant for my good (Psalm 119:91).
  • That I was trusting the joys of a healthy wrist to satisfy me, more than the joys of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8-9).
  • That I was accusing God of not being sovereign, or of not being loving, or both (Exodus 4:11; Romans 8:32).

It was sobering to see how much unbelief I had inside me.

But there is good news — faith is a supernatural gift from God which he gives when we earnestly pray, and when we meditate on Scripture (Ephesians 2:8-9; Mark 9:24; Romans 10:17).

So I prayed and asked God to overcome my unbelief, and strengthen my faith, by the power of the Spirit.

Then I prayed over 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 —

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

 And I preached this verse to myself —

Listen, Fuller, the all-satisfying joy of the universe is beholding Jesus’ glory.  Nothing else comes close.  Nothing.

And God has promised that, if you will let it draw you to him, this wrist pain will give you more joy in beholding Jesus’ glory forever.

Which means that for as long as you have it, this wrist-pain is a gift to you of more all-satisfying joy in Christ forever.

Killing Unbelief

As I prayed, and preached to myself, I slowly experienced the Spirit changing my heart.

I once again saw and felt Christ as my all-satisfying Treasure.

I knew that more of Christ was worth wrist-pain, or whatever other suffering God might bring.

I saw that my future – whether it meant wrist-pain or not – was bright, because whatever happened would bring me more of Christ.

By the Spirit’s power, I had put unbelief to death.  My heart was changed.  My grumbling was gone

Kill It

So don’t settle for half-hearted resistance.

When you discover unbelief in your heart, wage full-scale war, and KILL it.

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(The picture is from Microsoft Publisher Clip-art.)

Category: Overcoming Sin and Temptation

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17 Responses

  1. Bill Schuler says:

    I don’t understand why after you had come to a place of trusting Jesus for your joy that He didn’t heal your wrist. I don’t understand why my knee still hurts a year later, after much prayer. Unbelief is a hard thing not to have when so many prayers go unanswered. Makes me not want to ask so I don’t get disappointed. Obviously God can do no wrong, so I’m starting to question the “rules” on prayer in general. Blessed be His name.

    • sherry says:

      I feel the same way right now too, but I have seen some wonderful things from God, and I do call them miracles, but right now I just can’t see it

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read Psalm 119:91?
      What does it mean?

    • Bill says:

      You are on this Earth to make the right action choices (righteousness). Not to have GOD run your life.

      Matthew 5: (KJV)

      45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

      46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

      47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

      48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Please pray for me, to hate unbelief and see Jesus as life. To kill it. For my mind to see that living in unbelief is horrible, even if it feels easier. Please pray for faith. That I will believe even that I CAN believe and receive from Him and the he is willing to help me.

  3. Kathryn says:

    And that I will hate sin and WANT to kill it. That I will WANT Jesus and not self. That He will help me and that I can believe he will. That He will help me submit to and believe His truth and be glad in it.

  4. Kathryn says:

    So sorry, last comment. This: “So I turned to Christ just as I was, telling him that I trusted his shed blood to pay for the guilt of my sin, and his perfect righteousness to cover my remaining sin.” I cannot get here. Will you help me understand how to stop my crazy mind from feeling like I’m offended by this? I cannot feel I truly trust His righteousness bc my mind constantly says I’m offended to need it. How do I get out of this lie that Christ’a righteousness is anything other than beautiful and altogether desirable? I want to follow through with the steps of asking God to help me see and believe that it is so wonderful and love it, but that only comes after trusting his righteousness right? So I feel like I’m in a catch 22

  5. Kathryn says:

    I’m embarrassed, but have to post again. I feel like my heart is so warped it WON’T rejoice in right things. I feel like I’ve asked God to make me good soil; what am I doing wrong? Am I hopeless since it doesn’t seem to be happening? Am I not really asking with a pure desire? Am I not asking in faith? Please ask for me.

  6. Lee says:

    I have some of these same problems (as Kathryn). A lot of times my analytical mind wears me out with questions of “do I even have faith, am I trusting enough, what am i doing wrong.” Not that my faith is always strong or that I never ask amiss or that I never do anything wrong, but at times my faith only shrinks by thinking too much of my own faith. I have to stop and remember who He is and what He’s done. We are to have faith. confession, repentance, and love for Him, but when my focus is on those things more than Him I panic and drown and cannot do those very things. It happens all too often. A frustrating cycle.

  7. jen says:

    Kathryn, I’m feeling empathy with you. I have experienced that wrestling in heart and mind, like drowning or being trapped in a box. It’s not forever. The thinking and praying you are doing will bear fruit. I have 2 verses for you. 1 samuel 3:7 and 2 timothy 2:7. While you wait for revelation to dawn in your heart, keep on thinking over the scriptures. He will not neglect you, you are fighting for life against a stronghold that will be conquered.

  8. Leanne says:

    Kathryn, it is so encouraging that you are so open in sharing where you are at and the fact that you can recognise that you mind is battling against the spirit is a great start! Joyce Meyer in ‘battlefield of the mind’ says that we need to think about what we are thinking about and then as the scriptures say take very thought captive and submit it to Christ. There is no quick fix. We are constantly engaged in a war. You are not alone in the way you are feeling. Keep praying, keep soaking yourself in the scriptures and making space for God in your life, I would encourage you to read Joyce Meyers battlefield of the mind, it has helped me immensely. I am covering you in prayer right now! Hang in there and keep your eyes on Jesus!

    Thanks Steve for sharing your struggle and encouraging others to seek change. Praying that your time in India will be a fruitful time for kingdom work!

  9. DAVE says:

    Our faith is not in our feelings, or circumstances, but the unshakable character of Christ.
    Unbelief is about the focus/object of our faith. Steve has outlined how his circumstances & feelings were dictating above the knowledge of Christ. They were contrary to the character of Christ. He took those thoughts captive, making them subject to the knowledge of Christ.
    Sins are pardoned, God satisfied, our conscience cleaned by the blood. The power of sin put to death by the cross. Reckon yourself dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ.

  10. Kathryn says:

    Will the community here please pray that I will love the truth? That I will see and believe how undeserving we are of Jesus’ sacrifice and be changed forever? Please pray that for me–that I will see and love and live for God’s grace and mercy.

  11. Kathryn says:

    Thank y’all. I have to stand on God’s word and not my feelings. Will you please pray especially for desire and strength to do that? It’s like I’ve fully convinced myself that I’m offended that I need a savior/that God would judge sin and that I cannot read the Bible or hear the gospel without feeling hostile. I know that’s not what’s real, but it’s like I’ve lost desire and ability to grasp the real thing in my pride. Will you please let me entrust myself to you on this–that you will cover me in prayer over my hardened heart and help me gladly see myself as a redeemed sinner and that words like “mercy” and “grace” won’t repel me but being me to rejoice? I feel like I physically react against the truth that I deserve hell/God judges sin; but I know we can only trust God BECAUSE he is holy and does judge even the “smallest” sin. Please pray that I will stop thinking of myself as inevitably hardened and unable to humble myself.

    • Leanne says:

      I will cover you in prayer but I can’t express enough how much you really need to read the book ‘battlefield of the mind’. You can get it on audio tape too. It’s great that you recognise that you need a softened heart but you need someone to journey with you on this. Is there someone in your church or your minister that can pray for you as well?

      Praying that god will soften your heart! Keep persisting even though you don’t want to and god will break through!

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