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I have found that where faith for the salvation of the lost is concerned, unbelief controls much of the church. Perhaps it's because we've prayed and waited so long that we are no longer convinced God really will do it.

But if we don't believe God will answer our prayers, we will not pray with consistency and diligence. We may sporadically ask Him, but we certainly will not persevere.

Acts 13:36 says that King David "served the purpose of God in his own generation" (NASB). Our purpose as a generation is to bring in the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen.

To accomplish that purpose, we must do some important and fulfilling work. Much of it involves strategic prayer to loose our loved ones from Satan's grasp.

The Bible tells us, "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor. 4:4).

There is a covering over the minds of unbelievers that keeps them from clearly seeing the light and truth of the gospel. Until unbelievers have an unveiling--a revelation--they won't understand the gospel because the veil prevents them from comprehending it.

Satan's goal is to hide the truth of the gospel in order to keep unbelievers in his grasp. How does he accomplish this?

The Greek word tuphloo, translated "blinded" in this verse, means, "to dull the intellect" (The Expanded Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Bethany House Publishers). Satan has an ability to dull the unbeliever's thinking where the gospel is concerned.

The root word of tuphloo, tupho, has the meaning of making smoke (The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Blindness in this passage can be compared to a smoke screen that clouds or darkens the air to the point that a person cannot see clearly.

From this same root comes the word tuphoo which refers to being high-minded, proud or inflated with self-conceit (Strong's). The blindness of the unbeliever to the gospel is directly linked to the root of pride that Satan passed on to humankind in the Garden at the fall.

Pride causes unbelievers to think humanity's knowledge is greater than God's. This leads not to a knowledge dependent on God but to an independent knowledge that looks to one's own mind and intellect as the judge of truth.

This quest for knowledge glorifies one's own reasoning ability and rejects God's knowledge. Because everything is filtered through this inward knowledge, all of which is inundated with pride, it usually translates into the exalting and serving of self and its desires.

Simply stated, self loves anything that satisfies and exalts self. Any message that preaches self-denial or that self needs to be saved is offensive.

The only answer to this self-god is death--the cross--where we die with Christ. The only problem is self wants so desperately to live.

The very nature of pride is to be self-serving and preserving. Thus, the very thing that needs to die is bent on living and must remain the enemy of God in order to do so.

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