In Mark’s gospel, the eleventh chapter begins with Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem we know as Palm Sunday. The Bible says that Jesus after the triumphant entry, he went into the synagogue, and found the hour was late, so returned to his home in Bethany. The next day, he and his disciples were going to Jerusalem in the morning, and he was hungry. He saw a fig tree, and went to see if there was fruit for him to eat. However, there was none – and so Jesus spoke to that tree and cursed the tree and his disciples heard him. They then went into Jerusalem for the day. In the evening, they return to Bethany. As I mediated over the years on this, I thought about all that we do by routine. When I had my business, I would visit my client every day. Every day, I would basically drive the same way, taking the same route. It was the best way to get from my house to his business. In the same respect, I am sure that Jesus and his disciples had a route they took every day from Jerusalem to Bethany. And this day was no different. So, when they came from Jerusalem on that day, they passed the same fig tree on the way. Yet, nothing was said. However, on the next day, Peter saw the tree dried up from the roots. He was amazed and mentioned to Jesus that tree was dead. Jesus then used this opportunity to teach on faith.
Mark 11:22-24 reads, So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 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 that those things that he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
I remember when I first heard this passage of scripture. I was really excited! Whatever we say believing, we will receive! And we saw it happening in our lives! We were living in Des Moines, Iowa in those days, and we had no faith! We were poor, broke, about to lose our house and our vehicle, and we had no food left in the house! My father-in-law told me a few years after we had left Iowa that no one wanted to be around us in those days – we were negative and had nothing good to say about anything! We wrote this scripture on 3x5 cards and put them all over our house! One side read the scripture – the other side read, “I believe I will receive whatever I say.”
Now that was all good, and I am happy we did that – but that was not what changed us! The key to this scripture is not so much the saying as the believing! What do you really believe? What Jesus is teaching is having the faith of God is speaking what you really believe. It can be either positive or negative – but it is speaking your belief! So, over the next couple of years, while attending Bible School, God began to change our believing! When what we believed changed, what we were saying changed as well.
What do you believe? Do you believe that “by His stripes you were healed”? Do you believe “And my God shall supply your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”? I remember years ago hearing Brother Hagin say “I can tell what you believe after talking with you for just five minutes.” I understand now what he was saying. What you really believe will be what naturally comes from your lips.
Now, we have taken this simple truth and made works of it – “you have to say it to receive it…name it and claim it…blab it and grab it…” But the simple truth is whatever you say believing you will receive. So don’t focus on the “saying”, focus on the believing! Romans 12:2 says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It isn’t works that makes faith work – it is what you believe! When you believe “by his stripes you WERE healed,” you will say, “My body may act sick, but I know that by His stripes I have been healed!” When you believe our God meets our need, we will say “My bank account may be empty, but I know my God supplies every need I have!” Faith is really quite simple. The faith of God is quite simple. God simply speaks what he believes…and sees the result of what he says believing!
I am challenged as we face so much poverty and need in Western Kenya! What do I really believe? I have had to meditate on God’s word for hours and learn to keep quiet until I hear from heaven. Then, I know I can speak what I believe, and receive what God has for me!