Daphne Delay writes: “Of all the things that could stop a move of God in your life, unbelief must be at the top of the list. If faith is a form of belief, trust, confidence, or reliance upon someone or something, then unbelief is a lack of trust, a lack of confidence, and in short, describes one who is skeptical.

Jesus encountered this firsthand:

“54He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:54-58 (NLT)

There are three things that feed unbelief: familiarity, offense, and lack of honor. The people asked, “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary…?” They knew Jesus as a man and therefore were unable to receive from Him according to the Spirit. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he said,

“Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NLT)

He commended them for looking past the natural and receiving God’s Word from their lips as if God Himself had stood in their midst and spoke it. And notice he said this kind of receptivity causes the Word to “effectively work in you who believe.”

Fortunately, there are two solutions to this form of unbelief. The first is teaching.

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NLT)

Ignorance is always the devil’s playground. God says His people perish for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6); and Paul said,

“…so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT)

Children of God perish because the devil takes advantage of their lack of knowledge, and the result can be unbelief.

Prayer and fasting is another solution. In Matthew 17, the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a young man, so Jesus rebuked the demon and the child was cured. When asked why they could not cast it out, Jesus said,

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20-21 (NLT)

The disciples sincerely asked Jesus why they were unable to deliver this young boy. Jesus replied, “Because of your unbelief…” And then Jesus said something remarkable: “However this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Many have misunderstood Jesus to have meant this kind of demon, but that’s not the case. Jesus was referring to “this kind [of unbelief].” Besides teaching, sometimes all that’s needed to increase our faith is to simply seek God’s face.

So be careful of familiarity, offense, and dishonor, all of which feed unbelief.

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