Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Faith is Released by Words

Jesus answered and said, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:22-23)
The disciples heard Jesus speak to the fig tree just the day before, and now on their return by that same tree, Peter saw that it was withered. He said, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away” (Mark 11:21).

Imagine speaking to a fig tree. Now imagine that it obeys you. That is what happened here. But how can this be?

Jesus gives the answer: “Have faith in God.” The Greek text literally says “Have faith of God.” Whatever this faith is, it is of God. The Bible says that faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). We receive this gift by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). That is what faith is — believing the Word of God, that is, having an expectation that whatever God says will be fulfilled.

Now, let me ask you a question. When God speaks, does He have an expectation that it will be fulfilled, that His Word will be fully obeyed?

Yes, of course He does, for He said, “So shall my Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). When God speaks, things get done!

Spend time meditating on this, because it is the framework of the whole universe. The Bible says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

We see this in the Creation, in Genesis 1. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was. The pattern is repeated throughout. God said, and it was so. That is how the worlds were made.

So it should come as no surprise that when Jesus, being fully divine as well as fully human, speaks to a fig tree or commands the wind and waves, they obey Him. But now, look how Jesus extends His authority to the disciples. He said, “Have faith of God.” That is, have the same kind of expectation as God does that His Word will be fulfilled. Then Jesus says something so mind-blowing that most Christians back away from its full force.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
Wow! Did He really mean that? Can we really have an expectation that when we believe the Word of God in our hearts and speak it with our mouths that mountains will obey us?

Yes, He did. And yes, we can.

Notice how this happens. First, we must be in agreement with the Word of God, because Biblical faith is expecting to see the Word of God fulfilled. Then, we must speak those things with our mouths. You see, our faith is released by what we say. Three times, Jesus refers to what we say — three times in one sentence! In that same sentence, He referred to what we believe only once.

With a ratio of three to one in the same sentence, doesn’t it look like Jesus is telling us something very important about the relationship between what we believe and what we speak. In fact, He is giving us a very powerful key to activating and releasing our faith. Here is the order of how it works:
  • We believe in our heart
  • then we speak it forth
  • then we see it happen
God had an expectation that when He spoke, His Word will be fulfilled. Jesus also had an expectation that when He spoke, His Word would be fulfilled. Then He taught us to have the same expectation about the Word of God, that whenever we speak in agreement with it we should expect to see it fulfilled.

Faith is activated and released by what we say. Therefore, we ought to be very careful about everything we say. Does it line up with the truth of God’s Word? Are we speaking in agreement with His promises? Are our words merely idle (Jesus said we will have to give account for every idle word)? Or worse, are we saying things which are contradictory to what God has said?

Meditate on the Word of God until you have have full expectation that it will be fulfilled. Then open your mouth and speak, letting the promises of God direct everything you say. Then watch for the fulfillment.