Believing is Seeing Counter-intuitive to Seeing is Believing?
Believing is seeing seems counter-intuitive. Prayer requires belief at least a little at first to get started. In Food in God’s Place (out of print for now), Anna learns that belief requires an act of the will, a choice, a choice that she can reinforce with power from the Holy Spirit. Further, she learns that to see clearly, she must first believe, that ‘believing is seeing.’ Also, she learns that spending regular time with Jesus increases healthy spiritual growth. In contrast, irregular time or insufficient time with him limits and stunts her growth. She suffers from spiritual anorexia that clouds her ability to see spiritually.
In chapter 2 of Food in God’s Place, Believing is Seeing, Anna says to Jesus, “I understand that I need your grace daily more than air and water.”
Jesus replies,“Remember the passage on moving mountains: believing is seeing. Ask and it will done. Believe and see it done. Your true mountains and obstacles exist in your beliefs [referring to false beliefs]; these block your soul and are much larger and more difficult to scale than any mountain on earth. Believe them cast into the ocean, and see them cast into the ocean. Already done. You just need to see it.”
After telling Anna a parable about believing, Jesus says to her, “So remember believing is seeing, not seeing is believing. If you look to this world for your beliefs, you will never see. In the world, the blind lead the blind. If you listen to them and not me, you will never see. The adversary wants you blind. Regular time with me enables you to know yourself truly.”
Regular Contact for Strong Belief
Anna learns that regular contact with Jesus through reading his Word, prayer, fasting, and trusting in him remains critical to growing in her belief. She learns that through prayer and fasting she can defeat her doubts and cast them out. ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:24b) (NIV) See reference to Mark 9:29 in Guide to Prayer and Fasting in ‘Why Fast?’ section. Finally, by understanding and choosing to embrace ‘believing is seeing,’ Anna embraces healing and continuous healing of her spiritual blindness and spiritual anorexia.
Jesus tells her,“You must believe to understand yourself forgiven and believe so that you can forgive. By my sacrifice I ended the reign of the law for all time. By my sacrifice, I forgave all sins committed until the end of time. The reality, I wiped away all your sin. So for you a believer, the one who has repented of sin and committed their life to me, I removed your residual, occasional sins that you commit, already forgiven. Sin no longer separates us.
I See You as You Are
“Because of my grace, I see you, the real you. Those sins that you fall into occasionally do not define you. The enemy will use them and try to tell you that you still belong to him. You still need to confess them, repent of them, and strive for perfection with my help, but I’ve already forgiven them. I will make them ‘not so’ and help you to believe they are not so. If you try to hide them and avoid confessing them, it will block your growth and ability to believe and see. As long as you remain in me, you receive a continuous flow of my grace. Do you understand why belief in me is the foundation of forgiveness?”
Anna replies,“Yes, because only you can make things ‘not so,’ as if in your sight, the offense was never committed.” Anna thought for a moment about how he by his resurrection conquered death and thus made death “not so.” His resurrection was the perfect [true and living] metaphor for the effort and power required for forgiveness, to cancel an offense, and make it “not so.”
Believing is Seeing Grows with Fasting
Fasting days serve as the best days to double down and redouble my efforts to believe. Although I should push up against these mountains in all prayers, repeating ‘I do believe; help me move overcome my unbelief.’ Especially relevant, the fasting day offers a time to confront doubts and seek God’s help in overcoming them. While helping some, empirical information or counseling offer little to remove doubt. While these may sometimes help, prayer, and the focal lens of fasting offer the true weapons in defeating doubt. God wants to help me, I just need to remember to ask. Continual, unrelenting returning to God will enable him to transform me. He transforms. I work by staying open to his transformation.
Finally, I must not give up easily or approach this casually. If the only time I spend with Jesus comes on Sunday, I will continue to suffer from spiritual anorexia, consumed by doubts, never growing, and may ultimately leave the faith. I must consume his Spirit through reading his Word, prayer, meditating on him during communion, prayer and fasting, and by giving his love to those around me.
Believing is Seeing Requires Persistence
Standing my ground and waiting, I need to practice patience and persistence in prayer and avoid going to plan B before God has given me an answer. I need to wait for God’s answer. I need to make sure beliefs, thoughts, and actions align. If I pray it, I must believe it; if I believe it, I must think it; if I think it, I must act as if God answered yes. Don’t go to plan B in mind, heart, or spirit, unless God say’s ‘no.’
If I find myself working out plan B, C, D, E, and F. Consequently the F should be a sign that I failed to wait. I must return to A and wait for God. ‘God help me to wait. I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.’
Having trouble with believing is seeing? Maybe I also have limited my concept of God? Reread: What is Your Concept of God?
Like Anna, in Food in God’s Place, I must choose to leave behind my spiritual anorexia and turn to God. Believing is seeing.