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One of the reasons we don’t see spiritual breakthrough is that we live as functional agnostics in relation to the supernatural life.

Peter James and John had amazing experiences on the mountaintop but now they had to return to the valley with Jesus….

‘When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.  “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.  I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”’ (Matthew 17:14-21)

‘”Because you have so little faith.”‘ That’s hard-hitting – Jesus isn’t pulling any punches. It’s supposed to be shocking and it is.

But here’s the thing, the faith that Jesus speaks of is not a complex theological matter it’s a simple issue of hearing his word. ‘Faith comes by hearing the word’ (Romans 10:17).

My faith for healing and deliverance greatly increased from what Jesus calls ‘so little’ to ‘as small as a mustard seed’, when I heard these simple words ‘the Father wants his children well’.

For me that changed everything, hearing that simple word took my general anticipation from ‘God can heal’ to ‘God will heal’.

Now I’m determined to keep on praying for the sick until one of three things happen,

  1. The sick get healed
  2. They die and go to heaven (where healing is complete and eternal)
  3. Jesus returns (and the Kingdom of God comes in its fullness)

This is the only way I can live now. God has graciously spoken so clearly and so simply and now I have faith for these things.
So if today I were confronted by a similar situation to that which met the disciples as they came down from the mountain my faith would tell me that God wants the little boy delivered – however strong the demon might be.

But that was not the disciple’s faith.  Like me on so many occasions they only had a faith to try but not a faith to succeed. They had seen it happen before – people getting delivered – so they thought it might happen again. But that’s not mountain moving faith. That’s more hope than faith.

Of course Jesus stepped in and helped the boy and I’m sure that’s happened many times in my life as I’ve prayed more in hope than faith. But like you I’ve wanted to learn how to grow in the naturally supernatural life and this has led me to the place that I’m at now.

If we do not have the humility to keep on asking the Lord for a word that gives us faith we will tend to approach these areas with excuses rather than solutions.

Perhaps we will come up with ‘theological reasons’ that excuse our inabilities. Perhaps we will say ‘God doesn’t heal today’ or ‘it must be Gods will that you’re sick’ (Yuk! I can’t stand Christian fatalism!). Maybe we will say that healing is not our gift. Perhaps we’ll just ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

All in all these alternative solutions tend to mean that when it comes to living a life modeled on the life of Jesus we operate more as functional agnostics than anything else. We believe that the supernatural life could be possible we’re just not sure that it will be possible – for us.

Of course I recognize that this is partly because so much so-called ‘supernatural ministry’ looks so repellent – more like a traveling circus than anything else. But this should not prevent us from seeking to be like Jesus in all he did.

So let’s go back to beginning; do you have a ‘word’ for the supernatural life – for healing and deliverance? If not why not? The counsel of Jesus appears to be that we should fast and pray until we hear it. (Mark 9:29)
We can live the naturally supernatural lifestyle but to do it we have to stop living as functional agnostics.

About Mike Breen

As a speaker, author, and entrepreneur, I have been working throughout Europe and the US for the past 25 years. My passion is to continue to invest in the next generation of leaders, and one of the ways I have sought to do this is to write several books to help equip those working in the missional movement. Building a Discipling Culture, Covenant and Kingdom, and Family on Mission are a few of the most notable titles I have released.

13 Comments

  • ritchvs1987@gmail.com' Richard Van Slyke says:

    Amen, thank you for that awesome teaching

  • predmoresteve@yahoo.com' Steve Predmore says:

    Very refreshing way to view and understand divine healing. I grow up looking at the supernatural as a way of being a Christian and a “spirit filled” Christian at that. The understanding that a healing gift was a supreme place that must be “operated” in or I was lacking in my spiritual experience. In return this made me feel down becasue I didn’t measure up and wasn’t “moving in the gifts.”
    The word The Lord spoke to your heart Mike has helped me understand what it’s means to have faith and not just hope in the area of healing of any divine experience and will give me confidence in the future when I’m asked to pray for a healing of any sort.
    Thanks again for what you do!

  • amorrison810@gmail.com' Audrey Morrison says:

    Thank you, Mike, for the awesome, simple statement of fact: God will heal. How He chooses to do it is up to Him. But it is SO encouraging to be reminded that we must pray for healing and leave the results up to Him. Fictional character Father Tim Kavanagh in Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series speaks often of “the prayer that never fails.” And it is “Thy will be done.” Amen. ‘nough said!

  • For some reason God has been bringing you personally to mind now-and-then over the last several months, Mike. May he fill you with all you need.

    • aliSonwilliamson1@gmail.com' alison says:

      We were discussing humility at the dinner table last night. Actions speak louder than words was one of our conclusions, and the truly humble do actions subconsciously. But you have shed new light, in that it is humbling to ask daily. As a couple we have prayed daily for our four children for perhaps 7 years. We have spoken in authority in Jesus over their lives and the last two years specific bible verses pertinent to their situations. We pray regardless of weariness, losing hope. We pray because we believe and trust in God.
      And the result? I have a wonderful husband and marriage. God has changed both of us on this journey of prayer. Hopefully we are both less arrogant, look out for each others needs and try to love each other more deeply.
      And the children? They say we have changed. They share their lives with us, come on holiday with us, trust us, and seek our help. Three are coming to Clan Gathering, A Christian conference in Scotland this July. We still pray daily and trust our oldest daughter will follow her former faith again.
      If this journey of prayer has been about learning humility before a Mighty God then I will do this all again.

    • Mike Breen says:

      Thank you brother!

  • faitharoo@bellsouth.net' Jon Rizzo says:

    I agree that people lack faith unto healing. They think that God is not the same yesterday (Bible times) as He is today. But You said you went from, “God can” to “God will”. What about, “God wants to heal, but He won’t because He has a better idea”.

    We all need thorns in our sides to keep us honest, and also our inheritance depends on suffering (Rom 8), and the Bible never says that this suffering arises only to be abated.

    Our faith always needs an object. The object is that God loves us more comprehensively than we can imagine, even now. The Spirit would have us reach this resolution early and stay there forever, but in our dissatisfaction with life, or our delusion, we grasp at other alternative resolutions that simply don’t stand up to Biblical or rational scrutiny.

    • Mike Breen says:

      I think you have some great points here Jon. However if one was to study the meaning of ‘suffering’ in the NT there is very little room for God sending or even allowing sickness to followers of Jesus. Sickness is always seen as evidence of the fall and the work of the enemy -not the work of God. ‘Suffering’ almost always means persecution of difficulty☺️. M+

  • faitharoo@bellsouth.net' Jon Rizzo says:

    ….Also, faith is not graduated hope as you are saying. Faith is believing a truth, and hope is when we think about, and long for, that truth. Sorry for being so contrarian here, but I think the Lord wants you to slow down a little bit in your thoughts process, especially since you are making these thoughts public.

  • Elimorangeburg@gmail.com' A David says:

    I just spoke to my brother this evening and I asked him if his pastor had been called to pray and anoint him with oil as prescribed in James 5? I must admit that even while inquiring I felt compromised in my heart by what I’ve learned you call being “functionally agnostic”. Thank you, I repent and will certainly ask the Lord for more of His word to increase my faith.
    Gods peace and journey well!

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