If you’ve been around faith teaching at all, you know what Jesus said in Mark 11:22-24—and you know it well. You’ve read it many times. You’ve heard sermons about it. You may even be able to quote by heart Jesus’ earthshaking, mountain-moving words:
Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Those powerful words are foundational to the life of faith. But many believers forget that those verses do not stand alone. Mark 11 doesn’t begin with verse 22 and end with verse 24.
All too often, we read verses 22 through 24 as if Jesus just rattled them off out of the blue. But that’s not what happened. He set an example that, if we’ll pay proper attention to it, will enable us to get the same results with our faith that He got with His.
Below are four truths we can learn in this passage—the whole passage. These truths can make the difference between our faith working or not. These four truths will make or break our faith. They can make the difference between us getting our financial breakthrough, our manifested healing, our restored relationships and our divine direction
Truth #1: We must go to the Word for direction.
Jesus had to receive direction the same way you and I do. He had to go to the Word of God which says that wisdom is the principal thing (Proverbs 4:7) and believe for it. Then, once He knew what He was supposed to do, He headed back to the Temple to clean house.
If we want to operate in faith like Jesus did, it’s important for us to realize Jesus had to pray and receive the wisdom of God before He operated in faith. And if He had to do that, so do we. We can’t just jump up with no preparation and start commanding mountains to be removed and get results. We can’t just pile up the problems that have been dogging us and, without praying and seeking God’s counsel, blast the whole mess out of our lives at once.
Instead, we have to press in to the Lord in prayer and in the Word and say, “Lord, open the eyes of my understanding where this is concerned. Give me Your wisdom.”
If you’ll pray that prayer in faith without wavering, James 1:5 says God will give you His wisdom liberally. He’ll deal with you in grace, and great mercy. So as soon as you ask, you can start rejoicing and say, “The wisdom of God is mine! He is revealing to me what I need to know to cast this mountain into the sea!”
Truth #2: Don’t confuse enthusiasm with faith.
Don’t just fly off the handle and start shouting scriptures at the mountain in your life as if by sheer volume and repetition you can make those scriptures come to pass. Mountains aren’t impressed by how many times you can holler Bible verses at them. They cannot be blown away by your much speaking. That’s not the way the command of faith works. Jesus spoke to the fig tree in Mark 11 just once and it withered away within 24 hours, because when He spoke to it, He believed what He said would come to pass.
Speak to the mountains in your life when you know you can do it with unwavering faith. Take time to meditate on the Word God has quickened to you. Settle in your heart what He has said about the situation. Fellowship with the Lord over the Scriptures and strengthen your spirit and your mind with them.
That’s what Jesus did the night before He cursed the fig tree and drove the money-changers out of the temple. He spent the night in the Word and in fellowship with His Father, getting God’s wisdom and strengthening His spirit. As a result, the next day He was ready to operate in faith.
Truth #3: You must speak the Word.
According to Jesus, we take thoughts not just by thinking them but by saying them (Matthew 6:31). God’s thoughts are expressed in His Word, so we take His thoughts by putting His faith-generating Word into our mouths, feeding it back into our spirits, then bringing it back out of our mouths again.
That’s the process we use to renew our minds. We choose the Word then decide to think it. We think the Word, then say it. Think it, then say it. Think it, then say it…until eventually we’re speaking that Word without even thinking about it. When that happens, the Word is in our hearts in abundance (Luke 6:45) and we’re ready to speak to the mountain.
We’re ready to say, “Be removed and cast into the sea!”
“Brother Copeland, why do I have to command the mountain to be cast into the sea?” you might ask, “That doesn’t make sense to me.”
It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense to you or not. It’s not supposed to make sense—it makes faith. You’re using God’s faith and following Jesus’ example. Those are the words He used, and when you use His words, He backs them with His own power.
Truth #4: You must forgive.
Because faith works by love, if we don’t obey the command to forgive, verses 22 through 24 won’t work for us. So, before we finish the prayer of faith we must forgive (not two months later after we’ve worked through our emotions, but immediately, while we stand praying). We must do it on purpose as an act of our will, not because we feel like it but because Jesus told us to do it. We don’t need any other reason than that. Then immediately receive your own forgiveness which is included in verse 25.
If you have unforgiveness in your life, deal with it! Call it what it is. Don’t tell the Lord you have a problem with some hurt feelings. Acknowledge it as the sin of unforgiveness. Then go to 1 John 1:9, confess it, repent of it, spew it out of your life and get rid of it.
Start today putting these truths into practice. Then you can step out in faith with boldness on Mark 11:22-24, say to the mountain that’s been standing in your way, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and that mountain will respond to you just like it would to Jesus.
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