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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Inspired by . . . Lessons from the Fig Tree: Faith

Last time we looked at the fig tree, we saw Jesus’ judgment on unbelief. We paused and asked the question, “Is this, in any sense, a picture of me? When Jesus looks at me, is He finding in my life fruitfulness and faith?”

Then, suddenly it seems, in almost the next verse, Jesus is talking about faith, prayer and moving mountains into the sea!

 

And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. 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.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer,

believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mar 11:22-24

 

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The lesson of the fig tree reveals the mystery of how fruitfulness in a believer’s life comes out of faithfulness and prayer. Out of the absence of prayer in the temple, Jesus gives His disciples, and us, instruction.

We have the power of God at our disposal, when we act in believing faith.*

The object of our faith is God, Himself.  The issue is always the object of faith that gives faith its significance. Ours is not a faith for the sake of faith, or faith in ourselves.

Examine your faith. What is the nature and extent of your faith in God?

Are you, like Abraham, fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised?

 

In hope he {Abraham} believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations,

as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body,

which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old),

or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God,

but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,

fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Rom 4:18-21

 

I want my faith to be audacious! To believe in a God Who can do the impossible!

A God Who is:

~too wise to make mistakes

~too kind to be cruel

~too powerful to be subjugated to the natural universe (unless He choses to be)

The verse about the mountain was used figuratively about incredible things. The term was used in Rabbinic circles and would have been understood by those to whom Mark was writing, and to whom Jesus was speaking.  Just as with Abraham, whose body was a good as dead when God promised to make his descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore, it is a picture of doing the impossible.

We need to believe that God is more than willing to respond to our cries of faith.

 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer,

believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mar 11:24


Now before  you take this bold statement and gallop off with it in one or two extreme directions, remember it is important to interpret scripture with scripture. And we should keep asking, keep knocking until we have a clear view of what scripture, as a whole, teaches. So what does scripture teach us about prayer?

Some characteristics of prayer include:

Humility, consistency, sincerity, charity {love for all}, sovereignty and submission to God’s will.

This is the scriptural framework for our prayers.

We can also learn about prayer {and many other teachings} by looking at how it played out for Jesus in His earthly life.

Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane is a good example.  It shows us a balance.

Jesus prayed with complete confidence in God’s ability to answer His prayer. “all things are possible”

And He prayed in complete submission to God’s will. “yet not what I will”

 

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*Has anyone ever told you that you did not receive what you asked for because you did not have a enough faith?

Do you think Jesus lacked faith?

It was only the sovereign purpose of God that restricted Christ’s prayer. Not a lack of faith.

Beloved, the same is true for our prayers.

 

“Those who trust God for the right things, in the right way,

may have confidence that God will always make the right response.” ~Alistair Begg

***

I hope these words have encouraged you today.

Won’t  you would share some aspect of your faith journey with us in the comments?

 

Blessings,

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Words and reflections inspired by a sermon series by Alistair Begg, Truth for Life Ministries

Sharing inspiration here:

Barbie Swihart

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