Apostolic Perspectives # 12 - Another Look at Faith
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:22-23)
What does it really mean to have faith in God?
Of the many lessons and parables that Jesus taught His teaching on "mountain moving faith" is one of the most quoted. As I listen to how some believers apply the above scripture to their lives, I wish to make four observations that hopefully will help us align with the biblical concept of faith:
1.Faith is not a denial of the facts: Notice that Jesus acknowledged the mountain in his statement. Admitting that there is a mountain is not a lack of faith; it is the first step in dealing with it.
2."Mountain-moving" faith is voice-activated: At least three times, Jesus mentions the need to "say" to the mountain. I sometimes imagine Him winking and nodding at His disciples every time he got to the words "say" or "says"- trying to clue them in on something.Mark gives us a fascinating account of how Jesus set up this teachable moment. The day before, Jesus had walked up to a tree and spoke to it! In essence He commanded it to dry up. About twenty-four hours later, the disciples were now seeing the results of this unusual action.
When it was brought to His attention that the tree was drying up from the roots, Jesus seized the moment and passed on a valuable lesson to His disciples. This brings me to the third observation:
3. Faith is process-based not instantaneous: One could argue that the moment Jesus spoke to the tree, it started to wither. While this may be true, the realm where this took place is not where we live. We exist in the natural world. Things that are activated in the spirit realm often take time to manifest in the world in which we live. Hence Jesus said, "He WILL have whatever he says". There is no timeline here. "Will" simply indicates a future rather than an instant manifestation.
Perhaps the most important observation in this whole passage of scripture is the fact that:
4. Our faith is directed toward God, not our ability to believe: It makes it so much easier to have a conversation with God during that period between declaration and manifestation when our faith is directed toward Him. When we are merely trying to believe, without anchoring our faith in God, we can find ourselves testing the limits of our own capacity to believe rather than resting in the limitless love and grace of God. May we all take note that Jesus began this powerful teaching by saying: "Have faith in God".