The fifth invisible barrier to spiritual growth is ungodly beliefs. I am so amazed at how many of these ungodly beliefs that the Lord has rooted out of my life over the years. It is so easy to pick up an ungodly belief unaware and allow it to begin to change your thinking and actions.
My Ungodly Belief
I am going to share a personal story of how I began to believe a series of lies that ultimately could have resulted in my leaving the ministry. I am going to go into some detail on the process, so you can see how these ungodly beliefs form and begin to affect a person’s life.
In sharing this story I hope that you will be able to look at your own thought life and discover any ungodly beliefs that are affecting your life. Your story will be different than mine, but the strategy of the enemy will be the same: short circuit the promises and call of God in your life.
Here is the six-stage process I went through in forming my ungodly beliefs
Stage 1: Feeling Ill Equipped
When I first came to the Lord I talked to all my friends about Him. I didn’t know much about God or Jesus when I became a believer. I would tell them what I knew and they would ask me a question I did not know.
I would run home and try to find it in the Bible or call a friend to get an answer and continue the conversation the next time we met.
For all my sharing of Jesus only one person, Harry, came to know the Lord. That could be where the lie first started entering my mind that I was not very good at leading people to Jesus.
I would talk about Jesus with many people, but none of them responded to the Lord. No matter how much evidence and Scripture I gave, no one responded to the Lord.
As a church we would go and witness on the streets and in malls. We would have special events at church where we would present the gospel. It seemed like people would respond to others presenting Christ, but not to me.
I began to convince myself that I was terrible at leading people to Christ. That when I talked to people about the Lord, they just didn’t accept Christ. After all, I had proof. All the effort and only one person trusted in Christ.
Instead of rejoicing in Harry’s salvation, I looked more to my inability to bring others to Christ. Every time I shared Christ with someone and they did not accept Him it just proved how “bad” I was at leading people to Christ.
Stage 2: A Powerful Word From the Lord
Fast forward eight or nine years. During that time I graduated from Bible College, had taken several courses on evangelism, and read a bunch of books on winning the lost. Yet I still didn’t have much success in winning the lost.
My ministry seemed to focus on building believers. I have a strong gift of teaching and that seemed to be where most of my efforts and fruitfulness were seen.
One Sunday morning the Lord gave me a prophetic word for our congregation. He told me to write it down. That was very strange. I had never done anything like that in the past. I obeyed the Lord and typed it up.
Before I tell you what the Lord said, I need to set up the situation.
Mike was the unsaved husband of a lady in our congregation. His wife Ashley was constantly asking us to pray for his salvation. We did. I even talked with him many times about the Lord with no avail.
The Sunday morning the Lord told me to type up the prophetic word, I stood up to preach my message for the day. Mike walked up the center aisle of the church and stood before me. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, so I gave him a moment to sit down. He didn’t
“Can I help you, Mike,” I said?
Mike looked at me and said, “What do I need to do to get saved?”
“Mike,” I said, “we’ve talked about this before. You know what you need to do to get saved. You must turn from your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord. Do you want to do that now?”
Mike said, “Yes.” He knelt down and I led him in a prayer to come to Christ. He got up and left the church.
Everyone was in awe. What just happened? Mike just accepted the Lord.
Now I knew why the Lord told me to write down the prophetic word. He wanted all of us to see what He was saying before He said it in words. He wanted all of us to know that what I was about to read was from Him.
I am not sure where that piece of paper is. I misplaced it somewhere over the twenty-five years since the word was given. But the gist of it is that we were going to enter into a season where the Lord was going to move in our midst. People were going to walk right up to the members of our church and ask, “What do I need to do to get saved?” (the exact words that Mike just spoke).
Needless to say everyone was extremely excited. The Lord had spoken. We could look forward to a time of revival where the Lord would bring people to us asking how to get saved. Wahooo! Maybe the drought of my leading people to Christ was over.
Stage 3: No Visible Fruit
The word was exciting. Expectations were high. God had spoken. People should start approaching us at any moment asking how to be saved. We were watching. We were waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
We began to pray and thank the Lord for His word to us. It was powerful. Soon we would see people coming to Christ left and right.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months and nothing changed. No one was running up to anyone in the church asking how to be saved. It seemed that maybe the word I read that day Mike accepted the Lord was not true.
As time went by people began coming to me asking when the word was going to take place. Why hasn't it happened yet? Why would the Lord speak to us in such a dramatic way and nothing take place?
I did not doubt God’s word. I knew He had spoken. I knew that many times the Lord gave His promises to a person like Abraham and took a long time to fulfill the promise. Abraham waited twenty-five years to receive his promised son, Isaac.
There was no visible fruit. Maybe once or twice a year someone would respond to the Lord, but they responded to the preaching of the word and and alter call. They were not coming up to people in the church and asking how to be saved.
Stage 4: I Go Away and People Get Saved
There is a wonderful couple in our church, David and Athina Campbell. David was Associate Pastor in the church for 10½ years before moving to Pea Ridge, AK. Many times when Suzette and I were away for the weekend, David would preach.
I would call Sunday afternoon and ask David who was at church, how the service went, and what happened. Many times he would tell me who was there and tell me that so and so accepted the Lord.
Much of time it was someone that I had been talking to about the Lord for a season and they never responded to Jesus during our conversations. I was excited about them coming to the Lord, but at the same time saddened that they accepted the Lord while I was away.
I saw the same pattern again and again. I would go away for a weekend and David would tell me that someone I was regularly sharing the gospel with accepted the Lord. When I was home and preaching no one was accepting the Lord. When I went away they did.
I began to think in my mind, Good things happen when I am away, maybe I should go away more often (do you see the lie?). Somehow I must be the blockage that is stopping the word from taking place.
Stage 5: Maybe I Should Leave
Every time something good happened while I was away just reinforced in my mind that things happen when I am gone. I began thinking another reinforcing lie. If good things happen when I am away, maybe I should just leave.
I started thinking more and more that I was the one standing in the way of word being true. If I were to leave, the church could grow and prosper. People would start coming and asking how to be saved. I was the problem.
These lies continued to grow in me and weigh me down. I even began to say the lies out loud to those around. I would say it somewhat jokingly. “Wow, things happen when I am away. Maybe I should just leave.” People would look at me and smile, but I would just add another pound to the weight I was feeling.
I was convincing myself, with reinforcement from the enemy, that I was the problem and should leave. I knew that God had called me to the ministry, but if I left things would be better for everyone.
Stage 6: Leave the Ministry
Praise the Lord, I never made it to Stage 6. I sure thought about it though. I strongly considered leaving the ministry. I almost got to the point where I abandoned the call of God in my life because I was believing a lie from the pit of hell.
I wonder how many pastors have left the ministry because they believed a lie more than the call of God in their life? The statistics are staggering at how many people leave the ministry each year. Many of them do not leave well.
What About You?
If you stuck with this post for this long, the topic is of great interest to you. Where are you at in your thought life? Are there any lies that you are believing that are trying to short circuit the plans of God in your life?
If possible, right this very minute, stop and ask the Lord if there is any lie you are believing that is hindering your walk with God. Maybe you already know. He might have showed you while you were reading or listening to this post.
Maybe you don’t have time right now, as early as you possibly can set aside time with the Lord to go through your thought life. Write down every lie that the Lord shows you. Write how it is negatively affecting your life. What is this lie doing to you? How will your life be changed by rejecting this lie?
It is when we recognize that we have been believing a lie that things can change. We can reject the lie and accept God’s truth in its place.
Next week we will look in depth at the definition of an ungodly belief.
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