Go ahead because I know you want to. “Hi, Sean…"
Does this mean I haven’t been in some really dark places in my life?
Absolutely not. The ironic part of this is that I have battled depression most of my adult life. Twice I actually cried and begged God to take my life. I couldn’t do it on my own don’t worry … I’m too squeamish.
I love CSI but I’m the guy that closes my eyes every time I see even a remote sign of blood. But before you threaten to take my man card let’s get back to the hope thing.
I also suffer from severe ADD. Hey, have you ever studied the brain before? It’s absolutely fascinating. I know I had you going. That wasn’t the ADD … I meant that ;)
Oh, and can I just clear the air on something? The comma key on my keyboard doesn’t work. HUGE pain. The worst part is the period key doesn’t work either so I have to cut and paste them in. Do you have any idea how big of a pain it is to keep doing that? So we’re going to ignore our friend the comma for this blog post. If I feel that he’s really relevant to the sentence formation I’ll use our friend Mr. Period to improvise.
Ok ….the brain. Did you know that the way God made our brains is that when we hear something enough times or say something enough times it begins to implant itself into our subconscious mind? And our brain actually begins to physically change.
For example, a study was done a few years ago. The subjects of the study all had their brains scanned before they began. After that for one hour a day, each subject had to sit at a desk and tap their finger on the desk for an hour straight. EEK - you wouldn’t catch me in that study. My ADD'ness would be completely flipping out.
Here’s the crazy part. They performed the brain scan again at the end of the one week study. Their brains actually grew brand new neural pathways as a result of the 1 week of finger tapping for an hour a day. It actually changed their brains.
Now I’m no scientist here, in fact, I failed Science my senior year because I wrote all the answers on my arm and Tim Alden who was sitting in front of me was caught cheating and turned around and said: "Sean is too”. OHHH I was pissed. I ended up having to go to summer school and as fate would have it the summer curriculum we used had all the answers for each test already written in the book. Summer school? Easy peasy! No, I was not perfect far from it and frankly just writing this is making me laugh hysterically. Leandre if you read this DO NOT show this to your Dad (He was our principal and led summer school that year). Oh, the memories! In case he does read this remember Taco Bell? Ok ok, I’m done. That WAS the ADD kicking in.
About a year ago I read a book called Think and Grow Rich. If you’re in business and have not read that book GET IT. Here’s the funny thing. I snubbed my nose at it for years. Countless friends of mine read it and claimed it was the Holy Grail of Personal Development books. But I brushed it off as just another stupid positive thinking book.
Well, I finally about a year ago decided to give it a chance and wow. But here’s the crazy thing. As I read through it I prayed and asked God to reveal truth to me in this book.
As I turned each page I was fascinated by the scientific exploration of the subconscious mind. Our thoughts and words literally change the physiological makeup of our brains. Now I truly believe that science and the Bible not only do not clash but if you study it they actually compliment each other.
I remember reading and I kept saying “God does this line up with my faith beliefs?”
Suddenly a flood of scriptures came into my mind.
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he.”
Jesus said, “Speak to the mountain and it will be removed.”
“Whoever believes in me will do even greater works than I do.”
“ANYTHING is possible for him who believes.”
In Matthew 17:17 Jesus actually blasts his disciples by calling them unbelieving and perverse. He was angry at them for not believing.
Apparently, this belief thing was pretty important to Jesus.
Could it be that the way God made us is that our belief system is actually physically tied to how our brains work?
Are Sean you telling me Faith and Science are linked? GASP !
So ask yourself something - What do you believe?
What do you believe about yourself?
What do you believe about your current relationships?
About your finances?
About your health?
Take just a few minutes from reading this and stop and think about it. I will bet you that what you come to realize that you believe about each of these areas is exactly where you find yourself right now.
The place you are in life right now is exactly what you believe.
Now some of you are probably saying “Thank God” and then some of you are probably saying “Oh sh#@”.
One of the most authentic and life changing things we can EVER pray is to be real with God and simply say “God help me with my unbelief."
I have doubted God so many times in my life that this has perhaps become one of my favorite prayers. Hey, I’m just being real with you.
In Mark 9 a man brings his son to Jesus to be healed. Actually, I lied he brought the boy to Jesus’ disciples and they couldn’t heal him. So then he brings the boy to Jesus. Those poor disciples this dude totally ratted them out and basically said: "Hey Jesus I brought my son to your disciples and they couldn’t heal him so now I’ll give you a shot at it.” This was the part when Jesus blasted them by saying they were unbelieving and perverse.
But here’s my favorite part and I think we all are going to be able to really relate to this. When he brings the boy to Jesus he says “If you can please heal my son.”
I love how Jesus responds. He asks a question. “If I can?”
That’s totally one of those moments where I can’t wait to get to heaven and ask Jesus how all this went down. In my head it goes something like this:
“If I can? DUDE, are you kidding me? have you not heard about all the people I’ve healed along with raising the occasional dead person? If I can? Child - you are out of my mind!”
Ok, so I doubt that’s how it went down but let’s go with it.
Now here’s possibly the most important part. If you’re not taking notes go grab something right now because this will change your life. The man says to Jesus “Help me with my unbelief.”
I came across the scripture years ago and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve come to God in prayer and simply said: “Help me with my unbelief.”
I’m very open and passionate about my faith. I often have friends email me asking me to pray for various things. I’ve often had people say “Man I wish I had the faith you did.”
OH, my friends, you have no idea. My faith is no stronger than anyone else’s. In fact, I probably could be ranked as a top 10 doubter. But years ago I learned a secret. And it’s simply this “God help me with my unbelief.”
That simple prayer has changed my life.
After the man asked for help with his unbelief Jesus healed the boy.
The disciples came up to him after and said: “Jesus why couldn’t we heal him.”
He replied, “Because you have so little faith.”
See that’s all of our problems right? We doubt. We have a really hard time believing God is going to come through for us. We lose hope.
But Jesus said, “If you have faith the size of this mustard seed.” In other words, if you have even the tiniest amount of faith. “You can say to this mountain be moved from here and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
If you SAY. Psalm 91 says “When you SAY the Lord is your refuge no harm will come to you.” Every single morning I wake up I say “God I confess today that you are our families refuge - thank you for your protection. Thank you that your word promises that when I say that in faith that you deliver on your promise.”
Barely a day goes buy that I don’t pray that. I love my kids way too much not too.
But God really convicted me about a year or so ago. I’ll never forget I was in my room praying and he so clearly spoke to me.
Sean that’s great but what are you saying about all the other areas of your life.
WOW. I mean WOW.
Suddenly this was all making sense to me. What we say over and over again actually works its way into our subconscious mind and it actually changes the physiology of our brains.
Romans 4:17 says to call things into existence that are not as though they were.
There are many times in scripture where God instructed someone to ‘meditate’ on his word. If you study the original Hebrew and Greek (it’s used in both OT and NT) you will discover that the word meditates means to speak out loud.
There is something incredibly powerful about speaking God’s promises out loud.
Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of Christ.”
I want to encourage anyone reading this right now that may be facing some challenging circumstances to really think about what you believe. Often times what we believe doesn’t line up with what God says about our situation. In fact, most times we are looking at things from a human perspective. We tend to get overwhelmed by the fear and doubt and it clouds or faith.
So do me a favor? I don’t care what you’re facing I can guarantee you God has a promise for it. FIND IT. He probably has multiple promises about it. FIND THEM. Write them down.
And I’m going to challenge you to do something. Every morning when you wake up to spend some time in prayer and I want you to confess these promises out loud. I would encourage you to do it in the afternoon as well but make sure you at least do it again at night before you go to bed.
And I triple dog dare you to keep saying these promises out loud until you see God move in your life. You may have to do this for a month you may have to do it 10 years. I have no clue. There’s some stuff I’ve been praying about that I started praying about a few weeks ago and I’m already seeing God move in a powerful way. Then there is stuff I’ve been praying about for about 8 years that I’m just now seeing God respond to.
I can’t explain how God works. Why he waits. Why he answers quickly.
What I do know is this. God says - When I make a promise I keep it. But. Yes there’s a but. You have to believe it.
Psalm 27:3 is possibly one of my favorite passages of scripture in the entire Bible.
David says this “I would have despaired had I not believed I would see the goodness of God in this life”
One version reads “I would have fainted unless I believed.” In other words, if I didn’t choose to believe I would have totally lost it.
Can you do me a favor? Join me in the Hope Addicts club? There’s just not enough of us. Come to God ask for help with unbelief. And don’t be afraid to pray that over and over. We all and I mean we ALL struggle with doubt and unbelief. But ask for help and then stand on His word and refuse to back down until God shows up.
Become a prisoner of hope with me. The other option is despair. And I refuse to despair. I’m with David - I will remain confident and believe that I WILL see God’s goodness show up in my life.“