By Rick Lawrence
Ever had someone believe in you more than you believe in yourself?
Or, even deeper, ever had someone invest inexplicable belief in who you are and what you can do? Inexplicable belief is when we name another’s deep beauty—their made-in-the-image-of-God wonder. Remember, Jesus begins his ministry by announcing, “I have come to set captives free.” Our real and enduring captivity is our own imprisoned soul. We believe the lies that nasty little voice inside is always insinuating. And Jesus intends to set us free from this debilitating self-recrimination—to release us into our “true name” the way he morphed “Simon” into “Peter.”
When we invite Jesus to move through us this way, speaking inexplicable belief into the lives of others, it’s a life-transforming gift, and reflects the nature of God, who speaks all things into existence (Genesis 1).
Love Does author Bob Goff shares how the gift of inexplicable belief helps set others free from their captivity to destructive self-narratives: “What if, when people meet us, they feel like they have just met heaven? I mean, we tell people who they are turning into. We see people as who they can be. We recognize that they don’t want to be told what they want—instead, we tell them who they are…and who they are turning into.”
When a pagan woman from Tyre begs Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter (Matthew 15), he first treats her with the sort of dismissive attitude Gentile women are used to getting from Jewish religious leaders: “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” He is taking a huge risk in this interchange, attempting to free her from captivity to a dismissive reality. So, when she replies, “Even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table,” Jesus offers her inexplicable belief: “Dear woman, your faith is great. Your request is granted.” He speaks dignity and delight and wonder into her soul. He rescues and redeems her reflected beauty by paying attention, then appreciating, then surfacing, then celebrating what is “fearfully and wonderfully made” in her.
It isn’t easy to accept our hard-to-believe reality when someone we trust expresses inexplicable belief in who we are. But it’s a game-changer. So, today, as you consider the singular people you serve in your ministry, what if you embraced your game-changing influence and offered them the inexplicable belief their soul has not dared to hope for?
What if you…
- asked Jesus to impress on you a word of inexplicable belief for each person you engage this week, then made a point to share that word face-to-face or in an email or text or card that includes a couple of sentences describing why that word is so true?
- ended a Zoom meeting by typing, in the Chat Bar, a word or description of inexplicable belief to someone on the call, or asked everyone on the call to do the same for an assigned “prayer partner” on the call?
- made a point to intentionally include inexplicable belief in the feedback you give to other ministry leaders?
- on the birthdays of friends, co-workers, or ministry comrades, write a short note of inexplicable belief on colorful paper and frame it as a gift?
Whatever you do, don’t miss your chance to be a conduit for the relentless, ridiculous, and inexplicable love of Jesus in others’ lives…
Rick Lawrence is Executive Director of Vibrant Faith. He’s the general editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible, and author of 40 books, including The Jesus-Centered Life and the new daily devotional Jesus-Centered Daily.