Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Does Anyone Want a Fig?

The Gospels of Matthew and Mark present some wonderful lessons on faith. We will look at one particular instance and begin in Matthew's gospel and then look at Mark's account of the same events that take place.

Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, let no fruit grow on you ever again. Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, how did the fig tree wither away so soon? (Matthew 21:18-20) There are many points to consider here but I want to focus on the disciples response to what they saw and then Jesus' answer. The fact that the diciples asked Jesus a question concerning what they saw, should trigger something in believers. Rather than just being amazed as to what happened and moving on, they wanted to know, "How the fig tree wither away soon quickly."

A point to consider here is, why do so many believers read the Word of God, which is a very good thing to do, but do not question the LORD when they do not fully understand certain things in the Bible especially when Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide believers into ALL truth. (John 16:13) The disciples really wanted to know and understand this marvalous thing that has taken place...
So Jesus answers and said to them 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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
(Mark 11:22-24)

"Have faith in God" literally means have God kind or God like faith. This was exactly what Jesus was doing. He was exercising "God like faith". Doubt would respond something like this, "Well that was Jesus and that is why He was able to have God like faith." However, we need to consider the next two verses and not let doubt neturalize faith. Jesus' resonds by saying, "WHOEVER says...and does not DOUBT in his heart, but BELIEVES...” What Jesus says is not figurative, it is not rhetorical, there is no subliminal, hidden, mysterious message that has to be figured out nor is it because He is the Son of God. Jesus tells them that His ability to do what was done to the fig tree is to simply to believe, have God like faith.

Jesus continues, "...but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says." Keep in mind that Jesus has also presented an even greater miracle in the beginning of this Verse (23)..."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..." Jesus is telling His disciples as well as the "Whoever" that they will have the ability to do miracles like what happened to the fig tree and also be able to move mountains by simply having faith without doubt. Jesus reveals something important to the disciples and us. It is obvious that the Father’s will is much greater and diverse than most believers have faith for. Jesus continues…

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." WOW, what an incredible statement of fact that Jesus makes here. It does seem from what Jesus says here, that believers are to determine what it is that they want to happen, believe that they have received and then they will have it. We must keep in mind that the things that we believe and ask for for must be according to the will of God. "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15) But the fact remains that if believers act in faith without doubt that they will receive.

It also seems that the one thing that will prevent God from answering whatever we want according to His will is simply doubt. Unfortunately, many believers are waiting for God to reveal His will and His purpose, when in fact God is waiting for believers to exercise their faith and receive what He has already given in Christ. The faith that Jesus is talking about, is not mental assent or head faith, but faith from the heart (the spirit). The difference is, faith from the heart believes without question, whereas head faith says I believe BUT...

If you are born again you already have faith, so now it's time to assault and destroy the doubt(s), (the buts)!

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