What did Jesus mean when He talked about faith that can move mountains? There are several scriptures that reference “moving mountains”. Let’s consider that in light of the authority given to the faithful to use the name of Jesus.
In Mark chapter 9, someone brought a demon possesed boy to Jesus. The father told Jesus that His disciples could not get rid of the demon. Jesus expressed serious concern about the "unbelieving" generation and told him to bring theboy to Him.
Verse 20 They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" 23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."
The father told him that He did believe and ask Jesus to "help my unbelief." Verse 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again."
26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, "He is dead!" 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, "Why could we not drive it out?" 29 And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."
Let’s pick up the story in Matt 17: 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."
It wasn’t that they had too little faith, they simply did not believe. Faith is like a mustard seed. With increasing knowledge of the Word of Christ, faith can produce tremendous growth. It can move mountains, so to speak.
Notice He spoke directly to the demon and He said to speak directly to the mountain. Clearly, a demon is a barrier to God’s will. It is a stronghold against the will of God. It is a huge barrier that must be removed by faith. Can we believe that? If you think that’s not for us today, if you think you can’t “move mountains” today, you’re right! On the other hand, if you think you can do this, you’re right!
Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.” We can tell God we believe and ask Him to help us in our unbelief at the same time. The faith-giving relationship will grow and be able to move proverbial mountains, barriers, and strongholds against the will of God.
A tiny mustard seed grows into a tree-like plant. Faith that is acted upon can produce massive results that “move mountains”. Faith can remove huge spiritual obstacles and strongholds that are in the way of the knowledge of God and His will of sacrificial love.
This teaching of Jesus is not about a literal command to move mountains. It is about removal of barriers in the way of the knowledge of God. Knowledge of God is Truth. Freedom is secured by Truth!
Here is an unfailing principle that comes from faith in truth. (Truth with a capital T is the Person of Jesus.) Massive belief in the Truth of God’s massive love results in massive action taken by faith.
God is not limited and does not settle for limited results. He is in the business of moving mountains, so to speak. He doesn’t just work around mountains. He moves mountains through faithful believers.
Belief in His will, with the authority of the name of Jesus, causes massive action that produces massive results. In the spiritual realm, faith in His will results in more people knowing Christ and receiving eternal life in the Kingdom of God. It brings the kingdom near to people now. (Mark 1:15) It glorifies God and produces abundant, lasting fruit and complete joy. (See: The Name of Jesus.)
Limiting our faith to shallow things for happy moments and good feelings produces little or no spiritual fruit that lasts in people’s lives. (See Galations 5:22) People bearing spiritual "fruit" is of utmost importance in God's plan of salvation. As an object lesson, Jesus caused a fruitless fig tree to wither miraculously. He was hungry for fruit for breakfast, but the tree was without fruit. He cursed it to make a point.
Matthew 21:20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Love is the most important fruit of the Spirit. Another "moving mountains" scripture is in the "love chapter"; 1 Corinthians 13:2...if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
Moses accomplished more in six months by yielding to God than he did in the eighty years prior. Faith leads to massive action, with massive results. One example of Moses’ massive action was the parting of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was coming to destroy all of the Israelites. Moses raised his arms in belief and told the Israelites to start walking!
His massive action done in faith resulted in all the pursuing Egyptians drowned and all the Israelites alive, safe and dry on the other side of the Red Sea! The Egyptians had become a mountain in the way of God’s will being done with the Israelites. So, through Moses’ faith and action, they were simply removed.
Jesus said in John 15: 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” His words, “All things are possible to him who believes”, are also recorded several times.
We are in the mindset of setting goals that are too low in our lives, because of fear and doubt and “ordinary” thinking. How can we continue to do this when we have a God who made such extraordinary promises! In Jesus’s own words, “Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth when He returns?” (Luke 18:8)
He said to His Father before He was crucified, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." When He prayed God’s will be done in faith, instead of having "this cup" removed from Him, He then took massive action to save all of mankind from our sins!
Jesus had fear, too. But that fear left Him when He embraced the will of God with faith. Then He took massive action! The result was massive salvation for all of mankind!
Thankfully, that took place once and for all, but we should all embrace the Lord’s fearless, unfailing sacrificial love. We should follow His example of self-giving love in faith. Jesus's requirement to, "Take up his cross and follow Me" is referring to that kind of love.
Faith, results in massive, successful action. Massive work doesn’t necessarily mean massive time spent on the work, although it might at times. A massive effort could take just seconds or minutes, if we don’t waste time doubting it. First, we must know what His will is. That requires building an intimate relationship with Him.
The prophet Elijah took massive action with massive results. To prove that God was the only true god, He challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to an oxen BBQ contest. The rules required that no fire be added to the "cook". The winner of the BBQ contest would need to have their god light the fire of their burnt offering.
The prophets of Baal did a lot of screaming and hollering to their false god. They even cut themselves, as was their custom to get their god to hear them. They did this all day long, but their meat was rotting in the sun. Elijah mocked them all the while.
When it was his turn to start his burnt offering to God, Elijah made sure they knew there was no hidden fire underneath the alter that contained the wood and his cut up oxen. He poured large volumes of water on his own wood and meat three times.
Elijah was taking massive action based on massive belief and expectation. He knew what God’s will was. He had no fear or doubt. What he was about to do would glorify God and bring Israel back to God in joy!
1 Kings 18:36 At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. 37 "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."
God was glorified through Elijah’s massive act of faith. But he wasn’t through taking massive action. First, he killed all the false prophets of Baal. These false prophets were like mountains that had to be moved out of the way of God's will.
Then, in the midst of the severe drought and famine, he told Ahab to expect a heavy rain, saying before the clouds even began to form, “there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” Upon his faithful, fervent request, the rains came.
Elijah was no different from you and me. James spoke of Elijah’s faith in James 5. Verse 16, The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (Spiritual fruit is a major part of Jesus’ promise to ask anything in His name.)
Joshua took massive action based on faith. In Joshua 6, the Lord told Joshua to have the army march around the walls surrounding Jericho once each day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times and to have priests blow trumpets. On the seventh march of the day, upon Joshua’s word, the men were to shout! The Lord promised that with the shout, the walls of Jericho would fall.
Because of their faithful, obedient massive action the Lord kept His word and demolished the stronghold of the walls of Jericho miraculously. They were given total victory over that evil city. How much more can we accomplish through the same faithful obedience, now that the Holy Spirit makes it possible for God to make His home in each of us today? (John 14:23)
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Just like Joshua, we have fortresses to destroy and mountains to move by the miraculous power of God. Verse 5, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." "Every thought captive" refers to victory within our own minds.
We can experience walls that fall, too. The "walls" that will be removed are strongholds that prevent us and others from coming to God, to know Him well. Walls between people, including families, can be removed. The strongholds are demonic walls that keep people from loving God, loving people and being loved by Him. (The "greatest commandments".)
First, we need to pray and let God help us identify the specific kind of stronghold that we are facing. (We might need to remove mountains in our own lives!) Jesus identified the kind of demon He was dealing with before He told it to leave the boy in Mark 9.
In this case He said, “you deaf and mute spirit”. (Verse25) He spoke directly to the evil spirit that He had identified and commanded it to leave and not return. We can speak directly to the stronghold, or barrier, in Jesus’ name.
Let’s say God leads us to someone to preach the gospel to them, or to disciple them. We will encounter and move mountains that Satan throws in our way to keep that relationship from happening, or to keep them from hearing.
If we are close enough to know what God is doing and what His will is, we have the authority to remove that obstacle, so that the person will be able to experience God’s sacrificial love. Jesus said, “I do nothing except what I see the Father doing.” (John 5:19) That’s where the prayer and fasting comes in.
Perhaps a moral problem is keeping us from experiencing His love for us. Lack of repentance keeps us from the power of His will in our lives. Will we have faith to declare with the authority in the name of Jesus that the ungodly thinking will be removed from our minds until it is gone and does not come back? Will we have faith to persist in the use the authority of Jesus’ name, so that our own sins are to be “moved out of the way”?
Once we are abiding in His merciful love, we can speak into people’s lives, so that they can receive eternal Life in Christ. So that He can give Life along with the death of our fallen human nature. Through faith and action, we can come to a deep, intimate knowledge of God and we can bring others into that same kind of relationship with Him.
When we act on faith with humility and without fear and doubt, strongholds that seem impossible to get past will be torn down. Then, the Word of God can live in our own lives and in other people’s lives. It will cause great joy and spritual "fruit", to the glory of God. First, we must seek a very humble, close relationship with God ourselves.
Perhaps that’s what He is waiting for. Much of the time when we are waiting on God, He is waiting on us! He’s very patient. He’s in no hurry. He wants us to choose Him.
How many of us are not living the life God wants for us, beause we are not living actively by faith and repentance? The Book of James warns that faith without work is useless and dead. (James 2:20-22) Many millions of believers have lived and died without choosing to do the “greater things” in faith that Jesus promised we could do. (John 14:12)
With an intimate relationship with the Lord, we can move mountains through faithful action that will glorify Him, cause lasting spiritual fruit to be borne and joy to be complete. That faith relationship is the key to living the fullest, most fruitful and joyful life possible! But, “Will the Lord find faith on the earth when He returns?”
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