“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8, NKJV).
Doubt as defined by the dictionary is a feeling of uncertainty and lack of conviction. For the Christian, doubt is a lack of confidence in the word of God. We all doubt at different times, particularly in times of serious challenges. God expects us to overcome our doubts and not remain in the valley of despair. Below are some truths about doubt:
Doubt is subtle: A lot of Christians do not consider doubt as sin. And very few people confess their doubts as sin before God, and therein lies the subtlety of doubt. It is a little fox that spoil the vine (Songs of Solomon 2:15). Doubt looks harmless but it is not. In the encounter of Satan with Eve in Genesis 3, Satan made Eve doubt the word of God. He told her, “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree in the garden.” He further told Eve, “You will not surely die.” Satan punched holes in the word of God leaving Eve with the impression that God didn’t really mean what He said. The enemy makes us to doubt the seriousness of the word of God.
Doubt is hesitation: Some synonyms of hesitate are vacillate, waver, indecision and reluctance. Doubting in a challenging situation could be devastating. If David had hesitated in the valley of Elah when he confronted Goliath, the result would have been defeat for the Israelites. The Bible says, “as Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran to meet him” (1 Samuel 17:48, NLT). The King James Version of the Bible says David hasted towards Goliath. There were no doubts whatsoever in the mind of David when he confronted the Goliath challenge. Had he doubted, the result would have been different.
Doubt is costly: Doubt robs people of blessings. The Israelites at the brink of the Promised Land doubted and refused to enter the Land God gave them. A whole generation, except Joshua and Caleb, died as a result. Self-doubt produces inferiority complex; the Israelites said they were like grasshoppers compared to their opposition. Doubt in the future produces worry and anxiety. Doubt in other people produces suspicion. Doubt in everything produces pessimism and cynicism. Doubt in God produces unbelief. Doubt can rob one of a glorious destiny.
Doubt is double mindedness: The doubter in our opening text is likened to a raging sea which is troubled, unstable and restless. The doubter is unsettled, unstable and anxious. Whenever we are anxious and restless about a matter it shows and depicts doubt. On the other hand, confidence in God produces assurance, calmness and stability. The doubter vacillates; today is up and tomorrow he is down. One day he/she is believing, the next day he/she is disbelieving. The Bible says this fellow who doubts will not receive from the Lord.
Doubt is half hearted devotion: Not fully following the Lord nor cooperating with Him in our lives will automatically produce doubt. Elijah said to the Israelites in 1 Kings 18, verse 21 in a time of famine, “how much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?’ The people were serving Baal and trying to serve God at the same time. By so doing, they brought famine on themselves. Many are not wholehearted in their devotion to God. Many have seemingly viable options to God. This will result in doubt.
CONCLUSION: Jesus said anything is possible if a person believes (Mark 9:23). Being clear about the will of God, wholeheartedly following God, adjusting our lives to Him, and being determined will douse the voice of doubt all the time. May God forgive us all for the sin of doubt in Jesus’ name.
“… Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:8b)
Productivity has to do with the ability to create and bringing forth. God wired in human beings the desire to be productive and deliver results and achievements. The first blessing God pronounced on Man after creating him was that of fruitfulness, multiplication, replenishment and bringing everything under his subjection (Genesis 1:26-28). Below are some laws that govern productivity:
The Law of Conception: This is the beginning of the process of productivity. To conceive is to be pregnant with something, it is not limited to biology alone (or being pregnant with a baby). One can be pregnant with the promises of God, a dream or vision, a project, a desire for a better country, and the list go on. People can also be pregnant with negative and evil things (Matthew 12:35). Conception takes place in the womb. There is a spiritual womb as well as a physical one. Every human being is carrying something whether positive or negative within them. For conception to take place there must be intimacy. The Angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Intimacy with the Holy Spirit results in all manners of conceptions that results in fruitfulness and productivity in our lives. The reverse is also true, if one lies down with dogs you will get up with fleas. The big question today is, what are you conceiving within? and what are you pregnant with?
The Law of Incubation: To incubate means to develop gradually under favorable conditions. The mother hen after laying her eggs will sit on them providing heat and pressure until the egg hatches. Incubation is that period between conception and delivery. It is a process that allows what is being carried in the womb to become mature and good for delivery. Many do not pay attention to incubation. It is a time of feeding, strengthening and developing what is being carried in the womb. It is also the gestation period. One dissimilarity between physical and spiritual conceptions is that the spiritual gestation period is not fixed like the physical. Gestation period for human beings is 9 months, for rats it is 21 days, for elephants it is about 22 months. The Israelites on their way to the Promised land from Egypt were in the wilderness for 40 years for a 11-day journey. It took them that long to be processed and fit for the Promised Land. They refused to cooperate with God and a whole generation died in the wilderness. With God we do not just receive what we pray for, we receive what we are ready and prepared for.
The Law of Delivery: Not every woman who conceives a baby carry the baby to full term or to delivery. Many miscarry along the way. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. Dreams, visions, a glorious destiny, prosperity, etc. can be aborted. Innovations and inventions that will benefit mankind can also be aborted. And no one celebrates conception or incubation. People celebrate performance and delivery. Travail is a sin qua non to birthing new things. The Bible says as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8b). Travailing or labor pain is productive pain. Prayer (bringing forth things from the spiritual realm to the material realm) is travail. Hard work is travail. Preparation is travail. Not everyone who travails prevails, but we have an assurance from the Word of God in Isaiah 66, verse 9, “Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born.” The God that allowed the birth of modern Israel in 1948 after hundred of years of no independent state can ensure our safe delivery.
CONCLUSION: May all the good things you carry within be perfected and brought forth in this seventh month in Jesus’ name.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:35, NLT).
The above scripture likens our hearts (or minds) to a treasury. A treasury is a storage for treasures. Human activities, endeavors and accomplishments are all produced from the human mind. It is from the mind that we do life. People’s life progress or stagnates based on the thought pattern of their minds. Some thinking patterns allow for stagnation, while others boost achievements and breakthroughs. The human mind is a garden that can be cultivated or left fallow. Below are some mindsets and thinking patterns that promotes breakthrough:
The Open Mindset: This is a thinking pattern that allows for flexibility and does not view the world from its own perspective alone. It is open to ideas from other climes. Apostle Paul was such an apostle. He was sent to the whole Gentile world. The contrast is Apostle Peter who struggled with God after seeing a vision three times of diverse animals that the Jews are not allowed to eat under the law of Moses. God asked him in the vision to kill and eat the animals and he vehemently refused because the Jews are not supposed to eat these kinds of animals. Theologians told us Apostle Paul was more fitted for the ministry to the Gentiles because he had an open mindset being a lawyer with dual citizenship. An open mindset as opposed to a closed mind is a sine qua non for breakthrough.
The Renewed Mindset: The Israelites mindset remained set on Egyptian ways even though they were delivered physically from there. They did not allow God and the many breakthrough experiences they had being delivered from Egypt to renew their minds. They were stuck and fixated on Egypt, and they could not enter the Promised Land as a result. Only Joshua and Caleb who had a different mindset and inner disposition were allowed access into the Promised Land. We cannot think like slaves and reign as princes on earth. We should allow the scriptures and our experiences of God shape our minds to see possibilities in God. Scripture reference: Numbers 14:20-24
The Sanctified Mindset: This is a spiritual mindset as opposed to a carnal one. This is a mindset surrendered to God and His laws. It is a mindset that is determined to obey God regardless of the odds. It is a mind that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says some minds are set on gratifying the flesh while others are set on gratifying and pleasing the Spirit. The mind that is set on gratifying the Spirit will experience divine interventions and breakthroughs regularly.
The Mindful Mindset: This is an appreciative and grateful mind that is always mindful of God’s deeds. King David had several breakthroughs because he was mindful and always quick to recollect how God brought him from being a shepherd boy to becoming a king. Because of his mindfulness and grateful mindset God gave him a lasting and forever dynasty. (2 Samuel 7:18-24). The Israelites on the other hand were not mindful and forgot how God delivered them from Egypt. They became rebellious in their hearts and wanted to return to Egypt. A grateful heart softens and humbles the heart towards God. It is a fascinating mindset to God that attracts His favor.
The Growth Mindset: This is a mindset that grows and stretches. Abraham grew from an idol worshipper to becoming a friend of God (James 2:23). He grew from a childless person to becoming the father of nations. All the major religions of the world today revere him and consider him as their patriarch and father. Gideon grew from a fearful man hiding from the Midianites to a mighty man of valor who defeated the Midianites. Those who grow inwardly overcome the barriers and limitations within them and in time they overcome externally.
CONCLUSION: The journey of stagnancy to breakthrough is an inward journey. The journey of mediocrity to living a life of excellence is also an inward journey.
“And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:4, NLT).
Apostle Peter in the above scripture stated that God’s promises are great and precious. We are partakers of God’s divine nature through these promises. We can live the God-kind of life here on earth when we believe and are able to operate with His promises. Below are some points to consider:
Seek the promise(s): God’s promises cover every challenge life poses to mankind. And we operate as gods (supernatural deities) when we hold tenaciously to these promises and actualize them. There is the need to seek for the divine promise that relate or speak to our situations. Attorneys in the law court will always seek for relevant authorities, references or precedents to buttress their points. Once they find similar cases from the past that furthers their cause, they have found a strong point of persuasion to tender before the judge. The Bible enjoins us to present our case and bring forth strong reasons for our justification (Isaiah 41:21).
Take the promise: After seeking and locating the divine promise(s) that speak to our situation, the next thing is to own them. There is a difference between how people treat the cars they own vis a vis the car they rent. A rental car is not treated too well because it will be returned to the rental shop. There is a marked difference between ownership and rentalship. We are responsible for the things we own. God wants us to own His promises and embrace them as ours. Joseph the patriarch in his dying moment got his kinsmen in Egypt to promise him they will take his body out with them to Canaan (the promised land). He was so assured that the promise God made to Abraham was going to come to pass, and that Egypt was not the final destination of his people.
Activate the promise(s): To activate something means to give life to the thing. The mother hen sits on her eggs providing warmth to the eggs until they hatch to become chickens. The mother hen makes life happen by providing the right environment for the eggs. We give life to God’s promises when we create the right environment by wrapping our minds around His promises and meditating on them regularly. David said in Psalm 39, verse 4, “my heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue”. There is a right environment for God’s promises to thrive.
Nullify contrary opinions and views: Satan is overly concerned about stealing God’s word in our hearts. He knows that as we embrace the promises and muse over them God will always respond. The enemy uses everything possible to stop the process when he sees that we are on course. He will use logical arguments, persons close to us, contrary circumstances, etc just to stop us in our tracks. David had to turn away from his oldest brother Eliab when he confronted him as he was about to face Goliath in battle (1 Samuel 17:29-30). We are to take contrary thoughts captive and submit our minds to God when we are being opposed. This is how we fight the good fight of faith.
Declare His promises: Faith in God boldly declares the word and promises of God. David, standing before Goliath, boldly declared that the battle is the Lord’s and God will give Goliath into the hands of the Israelites. We are enjoined to boldly declare that God is our Helper and we shall not fear what man can do (Hebrews 13:6). David said because of his meditation in God’s promises the fire of expectation and possibilities burned within him, and he spoke as a result. There is a timid declaration of His promises which happens when we are not persuaded of the promise(s); and there is a bold declaration of the Word and promises.
CONCLUSION: Receive fresh grace to stand on the Word of God. God’s promises are Yes and Amen through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
“So, David came to Baal-perazim, and he defeated them there, and said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” So he named that place Baal-perazim (master of breakthroughs)”
– (2 Samuel 5:20)
A dictionary meaning of breakthrough is to overcome something and have an achievement. All the incredible things in different spheres of human endeavors are because of numerous breakthroughs. In the scripture above, David had just been made king over all of Israel. The Philistines, the arch enemy of the Israelites, mobilized all their forces to make war against him. They reasoned it was a vulnerable moment for David and wanted to take advantage of him. By divine direction David prevailed over the Philistines and achieved victory over them. Below are some things to consider.
Break in: A wise man said for us to break out we must first and foremost break in. The challenges, obstacles and difficulties that we face in life are not just external, but they are also internal. Saul and the armies of Israel were held bound for 40 days by Goliath and would not attempt to fight because they were defeated within them. They were so overtaken with fear within that they did not even make any attempt towards Goliath. When David got on the scene, and on hearing the threats of Goliath tried to fight him. David was able to fight Goliath because he had a different mindset from the others. The self-image David had within him was that of a Giant Killer. The struggles we face most times are as a result of our beliefs and the image we carry within. We must first breakthrough within in order to breakthrough without.
Break out: A rut is a long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles. On muddy and bad roads like we usually have in some developing nations, the first vehicle that passes on the muddy road creates a track (or rut) and subsequent vehicles will follow the track. And because of repeated passage on the same spot, the road gets deeper and deeper and at some point in time vehicles will get stuck in the rut. A person stuck in a rut is locked in a behavior (usually bad) that is not allowing them to overcome and have breakthroughs. To have breakthroughs we must break out of unproductive and destructive ruts, and take on good, productive and habitual behaviors that will make us overcome and achieve.
Breakthrough: The victory and breakthrough of David in Baal-perazim was possible because of divine direction. It was also possible because of the mighty men of David. Some four hundred men who were in distress, debt and discontented had gathered around David in the wilderness when he was running from King Saul. He became captain over them. It was these undesirable men that David groomed and developed to become mighty warriors. Thirty-seven out of the four hundred had incredible dossier and they were called the mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:8-39). David was able to transform low lives to mighty men by providing leadership and modeling what a good leader should look like. He transformed their thinking by helping them to breakthrough the limitations within them. He transformed them by helping them to break in and break out. These men in turn never allowed David to lose any battle. He was able to let loose the giants within them.
CONCLUSION: To have breakthrough, our minds must be regularly renewed, and we must cultivate behaviors that make possible the outcomes we desire. God will only help us to the degree that we cooperate with Him in thoughts, words and deeds. Have a month full of breakthroughs in Jesus’ name.