In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus warned his future church planters about something micro that causes macro damage…yeast. According to Wikipedia, yeast is a growth form of eukaryotic microorganisms and while it may cause bread to rise, it causes faith and church plants to plummet.
“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
Here in Mark 8, Jesus pairs something together that doesn’t seem to have anything in common; the Pharisees and Herod. However, through careful study we recognize how they both share the same fatal flaw; unbelief.
Beth Moore writes: “For the most part we’ve dumbed-down New Testament Christianity and accepted our reality as theology rather than biblical theology as our reality. We’ve reversed the standard, walking by sight and not by faith―Nothing on earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into lives caught in the act of believing.” –Beth Moore, Believing God
When unbelief is setting in, the truth is I’m looking…just in the wrong direction. When I am trapped by tomorrow the only direction I’m looking is forward. Of course as leaders we need to be futuristic and clear on where God is calling us. We should pray and plan for tomorrow but if we’re not careful, tomorrow becomes the only direction we’re looking. When this becomes true of us and true of me, “spiritual amnesia” sets in. I like to define this term my friend Jeanne Stevens made up as follows: the condition of forgetting the greatness and goodness of God.
Here is how I boost my belief
Years ago I began using the Day One Journal App. This app helped create a behavior that has lead to greater belief in God. When I am in a season of doubting or struggling to believe God for great things, I scroll back through the entries of my past. I read of the goodness of God and the ways He has proven himself over and over again. As I read back through my journal entries, I’m called away from a “scarcity” mindset, back to an “abundance” mindset.
In addition to writing, I make Ebenezer’s. When unbelief is setting in, the mountain in front of me gets my attention instead of the monument behind me. This practice is an ancient practice from a legendary leader by the name of Samuel. On the battlefield, where years ago they had suffered defeat, God showed up big and granted Israel a miraculous victory. In this moment, Samuel had the foresight to know that a day would come where they would need their belief boosted. In his wisdom, he instructed them to make a visible monument to remind them of God’s capacity and kindness and named the pillar “Ebenezer”, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12).
Are you aware of what Jesus said to be aware of? What is your “boosting belief” strategy? If you lead anything for any length of time you will struggle to believe God for great things. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad pastor, it means you’re a human. Take time today to write, take time today to build…God has been and will continue to be WITH you as you lead your people forward.