Lord, I Believe; Help My Unbelief

by Franklin L. Kirksey

To the father of the demoniac, Jesus said: "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23-24).

There is much discussion today about faith and vision. Some say, "God is able to do anything. Therefore, if you have enough faith, He will do anything you want. All you have to do is name it and claim it."1 In our day, much of the teaching about "vision" can be summarized as: "...anything that the mind of man can conceive and believe, man can achieve."2

Proverbs 29:18 tells us "Where there is no vision the people perish." Literally this verse should be translated, "Where there is no [prophetic] revelation, the people cast off [moral] restraint...."3

Even with this in mind we must remember that God still does give specific instruction to those whom He calls to lead His people. There are three steps to follow when God gives a vision: believe it in your heart, conceive it in your head, and receive it in your hand.

At the outset when God gives a vision you must believe it in your heart (Rom. 10:9-10). While this passage specifically refers to God's salvation it also refers to our response to God's revelation. According to Romans 10:17, "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Hebrews 4:2 offers this sad commentary on the children of Israel: "The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

Secondly, when God gives a vision you must conceive it in your head.  The Apostle Paul reminds us, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). As believers we have "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). Therefore we have the capacity to mentally conceive the revelation of God or envision the vision.

The third step is to receive it in your hand.  At this stage, faith becomes sight and hope ends in delight. This is the fulfillment of the dream or the realization of the vision. In his very insightful and instructive book titled, Lead On! Leadership That Endures in a Changing World, John Edmund Haggai shares this: "Leaders used by God respond to the vision He gives them. God gave Noah the vision of an ark, and he built it. God gave Abraham a vision of a city, and he looked for it. God gave Nehemiah a vision of a wall, and he repaired it. God gave Paul the apostle a vision of evangelizing the whole world, and he covered the earth with the message of Christ."4

It is at this point that we must actually lay hold of God's will for our life. We must possess our possessions. This is when the revelation (dream or vision) by faith becomes a reality. When it comes this way there is no doubt that the glory belongs to the Lord.

May we be able to say with the late R. G. Lee, former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis: "Though there arethose who, in denial of the supernatural and the miraculous, close the garden where grief has found through the centuries its only final comfort, where the sinner has found through all generations his only Savior, and where death has met through all ages the only destroyer—still will I say, till my poor, lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave,' Lord, I believe.'"5


1. Adrian Rogers, The Power of His Presence, Crossway Books, 2001.

2. Hugh B. Jacks, speech at Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, Columbia, South Carolina, 10/17/90.

3. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, William MacDonald; edited by Arthur Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995.

4. John Edmund Haggai, Lead On! Leadership That Endures in a Changing World, Word Publishing, 1986.

5. R. G. Lee, Lord, I Believe, Sunday School Board of the SBC, 1927.

Note: This article is adapted from a message presented to the R. G. Lee Center for Christian Ministry, originally published in The Union Pulpit: Sermons from Union University, Volume 4, Union University, 2002. Used by permission.

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