"Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." – Romans 10:11
Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 11:20–25
Tuesday, Jesus and his disciples travel again back to Jerusalem from Bethany, past the fig tree Jesus cursed yesterday. Peter excitedly notices the tree has withered and points this out to Jesus. Maybe Peter thinks Jesus will be surprised. Jesus is not surprised. He, instead, uses this incident as an opportunity to teach his disciples about the power of believing God. Withered fig trees pale in comparison to what God can do through us. Faith in God can toss mountains in the sea!
Some people take this story to mean Jesus will do anything, anywhere, and anyway we so choose, as long as we believe he will. “Name it and claim it,” they say. On the surface, this does seem to be what Jesus is saying. However, remember, Tuesday falls right after Monday. On Monday, Jesus made it clear that everything is all about God’s glory. God’s created order must function as God intends it to function. God intends it to function in a way that brings him the greatest glory.
So what does yesterday’s message of God’s glory have to do with today’s message of mountain-moving faith? Everything. Because if it’s not going to bring God glory, God is not going to be interested. If God isn’t interested, what we ask for, probably won’t happen. Yes, sometimes when we beg and plead God does act, against his best wishes. And it seems, at first, we get what we wanted. However, if God isn’t getting the greatest glory, it ultimately will not work out as we had hoped. God will get his glory in the end, as he always does, but it often costs us a lot more.
But never hesitate to ask him anything. Even Jesus asked if he could avoid the cross, but added, “Not my will but yours be done.”[i] But ask with an open hand, with his wishes, ultimately, being your wishes. Jesus says it this way in another place: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”[ii] In this statement, “remain in” literally means to “make yourselves at home with.” One Bible translation[iii] says it this way, “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.” What a difference it makes when we make our home with him and his wishes.
When we rid ourselves of all our selfish demands, making his glory supreme, and express our desires and wants to him with unshakeable faith in his ability to act (not necessarily that he will)... that’s when the earth quakes, our enemies fall, and mountains uproot and go SPLASH! into the sea! It all happens through the power we see at work next Sunday. Trust him.
- Are you willing to empty yourself of all your selfish desires and replace them with God’s desires?
- Are you taking risks and trusting God in ways that will best bring him glory?