My wife will tell you that I’m not one to get excited. But we are about to dive into something that genuinely thrills me.
After growing up in church (my father was a Methodist pastor), I left church-life and went to college. There was nothing about “church” that interested me.
By the time I was 27, I’d dropped out of college, left a “career” because I was on the brink of getting fired, and was newly divorced. (What a great guy.)
I then began dating a Christian woman and spending time with her family. These people were a different breed of Christian than what I’d grown up with. Her family acted as though they could talk to God, AND THAT GOD WOULD TALK TO THEM. They spoke about the fantastic miracles of healings their family had experienced and the type of religious gatherings where God actually healed people.
This was all strange to me, but I liked this woman. So I kept hanging around.
After dating her for a month, I said, “I want what you have.” She then showed me a few scriptures about salvation and led me in prayer to receive Jesus.
I drove away from her house that night KNOWING that I was different on the inside. The next day I went to Walmart and bought a Bible that looked like it would be easy to read. I devoured it and felt I was entering a new and exciting world.
My girlfriend also gave me cassette tapes from various “faith” preachers and books that talked about a God who works miracles.
It didn’t take long before I heard these ministers teach from a verse of scripture that’s core to the “faith message.”
“Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.” – Mark 11:23 ESV
That verse can’t help but grab your attention. It breathes possibility and impossibility at the same time. It excites the imagination, and it rails against practical and sober reality.
Now DON’T DO THAT!
You don’t know what you’re doing?
I know you don’t, and it’s a huge reason why you need someone like me to help you.
What you don’t realize is that you went to your default. When I presented a scripture you’ve heard time and time again, you said, “Oh, I’ve heard that before.” And you skipped right past it. At a minimum, you skimmed it. Maybe you even recited it in your head WITHOUT LOOKING at it closely to find a new perspective.
New Perspectives are trying to break through to you, and you don’t realize it.
Okay… I’ll move on. I promise not to be that rough with you again for the rest of this email. (And yes, I accept your apology. That was kind of you.)
Let’s review the setting in which Jesus shared that astounding information.
On the previous day, he and his disciples were walking into Jerusalem from a suburb of the city. They passed a fig tree that had leaves, and Jesus thought he would pluck a few figs and snack on them while they hiked. Alas, there were no figs on the tree, even though there should have been. Jesus “cursed” the tree by speaking some disparaging words to the effect that the tree would never bear fruit again.
The next morning, as they were commuting back into the city, Peter noticed that the fig tree had withered and died overnight. The disciples were astonished, but Jesus responded with an interesting concept.
“Hey!” he said. “ANYONE can do this.” He then proceeded to tell them the ingredients needed for producing the same results, and how to perform even more significant feats, like rearranging the landscape.
Let’s look at it again.
“Truly, I say to you, WHOEVER says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”
Okay… Did you notice my emphasis that pointed out that ANYONE can do this?
Did you note that Jesus did not put any limiters on the term “ANYONE?”
WHOSOEVER means, simply, ANYONE. ANYBODY. NO ONE LEFT OUT. EVERYONE IS INCLUDED. Even YOU.
Also note that Jesus has just indicated, without any apology, that you (because you’re a part of WHOSOEVER) have access to a power that can change the visible realm with very little effort. (I like the part about “very little effort.”)
Now that session yesterday about perspective comes in handy here.
Because we are conditioned to operate in a visible world, the tendency here is to focus on the parts of that verse that can be accessed through the physical senses.
Most of the teaching I’ve heard about this verse is done in such a way that the hearer ends up interpreting the verse this way:
“SPEAK to the mountain, TELL it what to do, and the mountain will obey you. And you can have WHATEVER you SAY.”
Maybe you’ve tried that out. You know, that part about speaking to things and telling them what to do.
How did that work for you?
No? Didn’t it?
In being more conscious about the “five senses realm,” your focus ends up on something you can DO. A physical ACTION. And the part about the invisible realm gets lost in the shuffle.
Entire messages have been based on and books have been written about the act of SAYING, SPEAKING, and COMMANDING.
Consumers of that information then go about speaking to this, speaking to that, commanding this to change and that to change, and NOTHING happens (or they get inconsistent results).
Listen to this:
SAYING means NOTHING without the supporting BELIEF system.
“THIS is the SPIRIT of Faith: We BELIEVE, and THEREFORE we speak.”
(2 Corinthians 4:13)
Notice the BELIEVING comes BEFORE the saying.
The focus SHOULD be on the belief system the words are coming from, rather than the words themselves.
A few emails ago, I told you about unbelief – it is a conditioned reliance on the visible realm that overrides truth gained from the invisible realm.
- Unbelief is not a decision. It is a cultivated condition.
- Belief is not a decision. It is a cultivated condition.
- Unbelief can be turned to belief through mental intervention.
People have been deceived into thinking they can change their belief system by simply deciding (or declaring), “I believe.”
And they are wrong.
So they go about trying to “take dominion” and “cast out devils” and “prophesy over their future” to no avail. And the reason they are not producing results is simple.
An abiding unbelief that they think they can overturn with a snap of the finger and a mental decision; a system of unbelief they’ve spent YEARS cultivating.
But be of good cheer. That system of unbelief CAN be overturned, and it doesn’t have to take years to do it.
If I did it, so can you.
Wow! Look at the time. I did it again.
But it’s been fun, hasn’t it?
Hey, let me know what you’re thinking at this point. I want to make sure we include stuff that needs to be covered to get you to where you need to be.