Faith That Moves Mountains
As I have studied the Bible and modern psychology, I have found similarities. Psychology has approached mental health in a scientific manner determining cause and effect. Scripture reveals healthy practices without scientific terminology not yet understood by the audience.
For instance, confessing our sins to one another is practiced in counseling sessions. We reveal our struggles and failures to a facilitator who helps us re-frame those experiences to find redemption. This allows us the opportunity to find redemption in practice. In the very same way Jesus told the adulterous woman to “Go and sin no more (John 8:11).”
“As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).” This is a mentorship situation. Today we pay gurus or life coaches to help us find success. In the same way, we have found surrounding ourselves with successful people ignites success within our lives. According to an eighty-one-year study by Harvard, known as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, what keeps us happiest and healthiest are relationships. The Bible told us this long before it was proven through an eighty-one-year-old study. Loneliness will kill us.
I recently read an article: Her are the Little Things Highly Successful People do Differently to Ge Ahead of Everyone Else. Almost every one of the thirty listed little things can be traced back to Biblical principles. The first is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Life is about sacrificing and doing what’s uncomfortable because it’s right. “Pay if forward” is number two, we are taught to put others first. Give something to the community without expecting anything in return. “Always assume positive intent”, Scripture teaches us to see the best in others. We are to see one another as image bearers of God. These are just three of thirty, you can read through them and make the connections from you study of scripture.
This brings me to the heart of the article today: Faith That Moves Mountains. Many of us may be familiar with the account in Matthew seventeen verse twenty. In context Jesus has been presented with a young man who is possessed and given to seizures. The father had taken the young man to Jesus' disciples and they could not heal him. He now comes to Jesus asking him if he is able. Jesus is angry with their lack of faith, he asks what they will do when he is gone. He heals the boy and tells the disciples they were not able to do it due to their lack of faith. He states anything is possible if you believe, you can say to the mountain move from here to their, and it will.
Now, it's important to note the same story is told in Mark chapter nine verse fourteen. Mark goes into far more detail in his account. He also notes that the disciples were arguing with teachers of the law. It may be possible the man and his son were sent as a test to Jesus and His disciples, it may be why Jesus was angry. He becomes angry when the teachers of the law demand a sign or want Him to perform some sort of miracle to prove His authority.
In Mark Jesus tells His disciples they were not able to heal the boy because this sort of act required prayer. Some commentators elude to fasting and prayer. The point, it takes more than simply saying words or calling on the authority of Jesus to heal this young man.
Matthew's account has Jesus telling the disciples they lacked the appropriate faith. Jesus has accused the disciples of not having enough faith before. When Jesus has pointed out their unbelief it's because they don't understand what they are doing. They followed the motions, but it's not the words or actions that have power. The power comes from God and understanding what Jesus is doing.
I have heard teachers today talk about faith. I have heard them say, "It's because you didn't have enough faith you weren't healed." Or, "You must have enough faith and miracles will happen."
The problem I see with this is similar to the disciples' failure. It requires we put our belief, trust, or hope in faith and not the true power; God. It's a small discrepancy with huge significance. It's similar to when Peter tries to walk on water. He asks Jesus, "If you are who you say your are, call me out to you." I have heard preachers teach Peter sunk because he lost faith or didn't have enough faith. Peter didn't have faith to begin with because he challenged Jesus similar to Satan in the wilderness, "If you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread." Peter said, "If you are who you say your are, call me to you."
Faith is not magic. Faith doesn't make miracles happen. God has authority over all. It's God's authority that makes things happen. It wasn't until Peter was out of the boat surrounded by the depths he realized he was treading where he didn't belong. He suddenly understood the foolishness of what he asked, he never fully understood the vastness of Jesus' authority. He had no idea what he was asking or involved in.
In the book of Mark Jesus tells his disciples the act was more involved and required prayer. It wasn't as simple as a word or phrase. There was preparation required, it was far more involved than simply casting the demon out.
Ultimately moving a mountain is more involved than a statement or command.
When we believe and set our minds to accomplish something, it's made possible by our belief in its success. Could Jesus have said, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can fly."
Ultimately, that's what happened. Ask Wilbur and Orville if it took faith to get in the air. How about walking on the moon, didn't that take faith?
Hebrews tells us faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of we cannot see. We have the capacity to dream and create. Faith allows the unbelievable to become as real as flying or setting foot on the moon.
My point is, what we put our faith in will direct our behavior, actions, and choices. There must be a plan and preparation. Faith doesn't mean instant because you said a word or phrase. Faith takes work and practice. If I believe something then I will take actions to make it true or real.
Think about this, God has given us the tools and abilities to create, change, grow, thrive, and redeem. We must make the choice to act on our faith or belief, because faith without works is dead.
May you believe
May you move mountains
May you find the success God has provided for you
May you have faith that moves mountains
In His service and yours,