When you are going through life you are going to face many mountains. Your mountain may come in the form of a difficult marriage or divorce, financial mountain of debt that you had no control over, mountain of concerns for your children, mountain of resistance due to your faith in Christ, mountain of anxiety, fear, or depression. Mountains can take many forms. They seem permanent and immovable. You feel so small and helpless because of them. But you do not compare the size of the mountain to your size, you compare the size of the mountain to the size of God. Every mountain seems small and easy when compared to the greatness of God and the power of God.
In Micah 1:4 we read, The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill (NLT). Your God is a mountain moving God whether you know it or not. That problem, that addiction, that fear that is in your way and keeping you from what God would have you to experience will melt away like wax and run down a hill like water under God’s authority.
Some mountains are there to test you, to prune you, to stretch you, and to strengthen you. Some mountains you walk through, walk around, or walk away from. But some mountains you need to confront, address and speak to in the authority of God as a representative of God. Instead of backing down, you need to tell it to move. It will take faith and it will take courage, but you can do it.
Today, I want to give you five essentials for mountain moving faith. The first two essentials we have already looked at in detail. We will review them today and finish up by introducing the final three essentials.
Let me set the context. Yesterday morning Jesus was entering Jerusalem. He comes across a fig tree that appeared to have figs. It was falsely advertising that it had fruit because of its full grown leaves. Jesus was hungry, he approached the fig tree and found no figs. He spoke to the fig tree and cursed it. The disciples saw and heard this encounter between Jesus and the fig tree.
The next morning the disciples are coming into Jerusalem again and they notice the fig tree has completely withered and died. They point this out to Jesus. We pick up the story at this point.
Look with me at Mark 11:22 which says,
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (vs. 22-25, NLT)
It seems odd that Jesus would respond to Peter’s comment about the fig tree with a lesson on faith in God and speaking to mountains. This makes sense when you see what Matthew added to the story in Matthew 21:20 which says, “The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’” (NLT). The disciples were actually asking, “Jesus, how did you do that and can we do that?” Jesus answers their question by giving them five essentials to mountain moving faith. Let’s review the first two and introduce the other three.
Mountain moving faith is God-driven
Number one, mountain moving faith is God-driven. Jesus said in verse 22, Have faith in God. What does it mean to have faith in God?
- You having faith in God means you believe God’s agenda is best. Having faith in God is trusting God’s word, God’s agenda, God’s plan, God’s will, and God’s purpose. Some mountains God wants moved and some He does not. Some mountains he wants to you walk through, walk over, or walk around. There are some things you can only learn about God and yourself in the valley between mountains. The question is, “Does God want this mountain removed?”
- You having faith in God means you believe God can remove this mountain. You are convinced that God has the power, ability, and authority to move mountains. You believe He is all-power, sovereign, and supreme. You believe there is nothing God cannot do.
- You having faith in God means that you have heard God’s word on removing this particular mountain. This is not about you wanting the mountain removed, it’s about God wanting the mountain moved. Has God told you He wants this mountain removed? If so, believing God’s word is an act of faith in Him.
- You having faith in God means you will speak in God’s authority to remove that mountain. Now that you believe God can do it and God has told you that particular mountain is to be removed, you can now address it in the authority of God. This takes to the second essential to mountain moving faith.
Mountain moving faith speaks
Number two, mountain moving faith speaks. Your faith in God is going to cause you to pray something, do something, or say something. Faith without works is dead. An inactive faith is a dead faith. Jesus says in verse 23, I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. Once you have heard from God that He wants that mountain moved, in the authority of God you speak to that mountain, address that mountain, and confront that mountain.
Mountain moving faith expects
Number three, mountain moving faith expects. Mountain moving faith is convinced, certain, sure and confident that it has heard from God about this specific mountain and it will move once confronted. Mark goes on to say in verse 23, But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. Two things here.
Mountain moving faith is genuine faith. Jesus said, you must really believe it will happen. This word believe (pisteuo) is in the present tense which means it is a continual attitude of trust that what God has told you and what you have spoken will happen. This is not talking about a fake it until you make it kind of faith. This is not speaking words of faith, but not believing them. This is hearing from God, believing what you have heard, and speaking that over your situation. As a result, faith expects what God has told you to occur.
Mountain moving faith is undivided faith. Jesus also said, you must… have no doubt in your heart. Faith can remove a mountain, but doubt can put it back in place again. Doubt can ruin a great experience with God. Doubt has the power to nullify what God has told you He wanted you to do. Doubt can become a dam that blocks God’s blessings in your life.
James talked about this very thing of faith and doubt and receiving from God in James 1. Listen to what James says, “When you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (James 1:6-8, NLT). Doubt is divided loyalty. Doubt is not just unbelief. Doubt says, “I want to believe, I believe that God can do it, but I don’t think He will.” Doubt is uncertainty and comes with skepticism. Faith is certain, sure, and confident.
Mountain moving faith is unwavering, it’s undivided. Mountain moving faith is all in. It is convinced, certain, and has no doubt that what God has said is true, God can move this mountain, and God has given you the authority to move this mountain. Mountain moving faith expects.
Mountain moving faith sees
Number four, mountain moving faith sees. It sees what others cannot. Jesus says in verse 24, I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. Faith sees things as if it’s already done. Faith sees the end result. Because of your faith, the mountain is as good as gone. A couple of observations.
First, mountain moving faith sees God’s will. Jesus says, you can pray for anything. Remember the context. The context of this mountain moving faith and prayer is in God. Jesus began all this with the statement, have faith in God. You can pray for anything that is in God (according to His purpose, His word, His plan, His agenda) and if you believe that you have received it, it will be yours. To pray for anything sets not limits to the requests, but the request must be in harmony with the purposes of God.
Let me be clear, this praying for anything and receiving it does NOT mean you can pray for anything you want and expect God to give it to you. God is not some genie in a bottle that grants you three wishes. If that’s the case then you should have already won the lottery, been blessed with that bass boat, been healed, Jesus should have already come back, you should have married that super model or that billionaire, or your spouse should be completely obedient to you. This is not a blank check for you to fill in whatever you want. It’s a check God has already written with what He wants you to have and now by faith you cash it in.
Another observation, mountain moving faith sees the delivery. Jesus goes on to say, I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it…. Let’s talk about what it looks like to believe for something that you have not received yet, but you know is already yours.
Several years ago, my grandmother passed away. She had quite a bit of money. She put it in an estate for her son (my dad) and he would live off the interest until he died and live in her house. One day my father died. My grandmother’s will stated that all her assets (money, property, etc.) were to go to the three grandchildren, which I was one of. I received a letter from the lawyer stating the total amount of assets and my portion of it. It was a large amount. I believed that lawyer. I told my wife the amount and we began praying and talking about what we were going to do with the money (we did not have a dollar of it yet). We started talking about paying off the house, the car, medical bills, etc. In our minds we became debt free over night, but we still hadn’t received a dollar. One day a check came in the mail. I took it to the bank, deposited it. Paid off our house, the car, medical bills and some other bills. I told Pam we are literally debt free. We owe no man nothing.
I have told you that because that is what expectant faith looks like. The lawyer told us we had inheritance. We believed it. We began making plans based on what he said. We expected the check to come in the mail eventually. Didn’t know when, but we knew and were confident that it would arrive. One day it did. In the same way, God tells you something, you believe it, you start making plans based on it, and then when you receive it you know what to do.
Mountain moving faith is like that. God tells you He wants that mountain moved, you believe Him, and you act accordingly. You don’t know when that mountain is going to be removed, but you confront it and the removal of that mountain is a reality in your mind even though its still there. It’s just a matter of time. Faith sees the mountain gone, even though its still there.
Mountain moving faith forgives
Number five, mountain moving faith forgives. At the end of this teaching about mountain moving faith Jesus says in verse 25, But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
But when you are praying – When you are seeking God’s will about removing a mountain in your life be sure to look inward first, let’s make sure the grudge mountain is not blocking your view of what God really wants to do here.
Jesus goes on to say, Forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against… (NLT). Let me give you a couple of thoughts about forgiving others.
God places no limit on who you are to forgive
Number one, God places no limit on who you are to forgive. Forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against. The Greek meaning, the technical meaning, and the literal and deep meaning of this word anyone is anyone. No matter who they are. Your spouse, ex-spouse… your boss, former boss… your coach, your teacher, your student, your parent, your son or daughter, your neighbor, or that person from years ago. Everyone. Anyone. Everybody. No exceptions.
God places no limit on the type of offense
Number two, God places no limit on the type of offense. Jesus says, “Forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against…” (NLT). Some translations simply say, If you hold anything against someone you need to forgive them. No boundaries or limits on this forgiveness.
A grudge is a feeling of resentment, anger, and bitterness toward someone. You can hold a grudge toward your parents, toward a fellow employee or student. You can hold a grudge toward your children, toward someone at church. It can be about what they said, what they did, or what they didn’t say or didn’t do.
In reality, when you hold a grudge you are held by that grudge. You are in its grip. It hinders how you see things and what you do. When you forgive you step out of the darkness and the prison that grudge has placed you in. You see with new eyes.
Mark goes on to say, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too (NLT). The idea of God’s forgiveness toward us being connected with our forgiving others is repeated in God’s Word. For example…
- When Jesus was teaching about prayer He said in Matthew 6:12 we are to pray “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (NLT).
- Then a couple of verses later Jesus says in Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NLT).
Three Types of Forgiveness
To understand what Jesus is saying, you need to know about the three types of forgiveness.
- First, there is redemptive forgiveness. This is the forgiveness you receive at salvation. An example of this is seen when Zechariah prophesied over John the Baptist at his birth. Zechariah said, “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77, NLT). Everyone who has ever or will ever become a child of God has experienced redemptive forgiveness.
- Secondly, there is restorative forgiveness. This is forgiveness you receive, as a believer, when you confess your sin to your heavenly Father. This is the forgiveness you receive when you are disobedient to God. In 1 John, John is writing to believers and says, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9, NLT). When you sin, your fellowship with God is broken, but not your relationship. Your relationship with God is that He is your heavenly Father and you are His child. However, when you sin against Him, disobey Him, rebel against Him your fellowship is broken. It’s like any parent child relationships. If the child lies or steals from the parent that disobedience against the parent affects their relationship until there is confession of the sin and forgiveness given. When that happens fellowship is restored.
- Third, there is relational forgiveness. This is forgiveness you give/receive from others. We are told in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (NLT).
So when Jesus says, “When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins,” He is referring to both restoration and relational forgiveness. The very fact you are holding a grudge against someone is disobedience to God’s will for your life. As long as you hold that grudge your fellowship with that person and with God is going to be negatively affected. When you forgive that person you are holding a grudge against, your Heavenly Father forgives you for holding that grudge. Your fellowship with people affects your fellowship with God. That’s how God designed it.
Mountain moving faith. It takes faith in God. It requires confidence that God wants your mountain moved. You will need to speak to and confront your mountain. You will need to expect God to work through you and see the end result before it occurs. You will need to forgive those in your life. Mountain moving faith. Jesus said this is how He did it.
- What is so important about followers of Jesus having mountain moving faith?
- What does it mean to have faith in God? What does having faith in God look like in your life?
- What does speaking to your mountain look like?
- How can you know if God wants your mountain moved or not?
- How are faith in God and expecting God to work through you connected?
- What does “pray for anything” mean?
- How is forgiving others connected to mountain moving faith?
- What is the biggest obstacle or struggle you have with what Jesus has said?
- If you could ask Jesus one question about what He said what would it be?