“Have Faith in God!”

I am always blown away by passages like Mark 11.20-26! There is so much to be discovered about what Jesus taught on the subject of faith and its potential! Sometimes I feel like I’ve only got a toe in the water of a mighty ocean of possibilities! I find myself in an awkward position… I never want to abuse faith for selfish ends – on the other hand I don’t want to leave divinely intended possibilities unexplored or experienced.

I mean, get the picture… Jesus had cursed a vibrant, green fig tree (“a fig tree in leaf”) that had no fruit. He spoke a word of rebuke over it… “May no one ever eat fruit from you again” (a tree full of leaves normally should have had fruit). The next day the disciples and Jesus passed by the tree again… Lo and behold, it had withered away from the roots! It was dead!! The disciples were blown away!! “Look!” they said, “The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Then Jesus stretched their faith “to the max” with what followed…

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:22–25 NIV)

Now, I have to admit (after years of working with people of all kinds in the church), I would have been inclined to have responded to Jesus words like this… “Don’t say that Jesus! Just as sure as the world, some idiot will try it!” Didn’t seem to bother Jesus, though! In fact, it seems like, rather than qualifying the challenge, he wanted to encourage it! He wanted to stretch their faith to believe for impossible things!

Believe me, when I say abuses of faith have happened in the church – selfish, self-centered, self-seeking displays of “faith” (so-called). But we dare not let our negative reaction to that, or our fear and timidity, keep us from believing God can and will do the impossible!

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