Journal Mk 11 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.
And, whenever you stand praying, forgive (if you have anything against anyone), so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:22-25
Observation: Faith to receive things prayed for aligned with faith to forgive. Isn’t that something to think about?
Analysis: I remember this from a teaching a while back—the power of Faith.
When a youngster in the Faith, faith was a “super-power”: something to move mountains with; to curse fig trees with; to name a want and believe I have (or will) receive what I prayed for “in faith.”
As a youngster: I prayed for stuff for my young family; I prayed for finances; I prayed for a local strip joint to be closed; I prayed for divine intervention to cause revival, and more. When it didn’t happen immediately, I prayed for “stronger faith”—“Pump me up, Lord, with super-Faith.”
Some of these things had (have) merit; some were prayed in desperation; others were just plain feeding my flesh (and that may have included some that sounded “biblical” but my motives were yuck).
But, years later, it was pointed out to me that the faith to move mountains, etc., was really needed for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is probably more difficult than to move mountains. Man is inclined to wanting recompense, wanting justification on being angry, wanting someone else to grovel and pay even if it is only emotionally. “God, I was RIGHT, right? Even You can see that. I DESERVE AN APOLOGY.”
Let me review: Move mountains or root out self-importance? Which is more difficult? I think it is evident if only for this: I move a mountain in faith, and it is done; it isn’t going to jump back into the hole where it came from.
I confess a spirit of self-importance and repent and…it jumps back into my heart the first chance it gets (usually by the next day if not sooner). It may not have ever left because my words were just that—empty words with no faithful intention behind them.
Prayer: Lord, the older I grow, the more I realize where Faith is really needed. I succumb to the thinking that “I was done so wrong and someone needs to pay.” Or, “Not my fault the fight began, and hard feelings were the result—they did it first!”
You gave yourself for the deserved punishment of Men, in order to redeem me. You didn’t deserve that. But you did it because you loved the world—despite there being nothing inherently lovable in us.
Help me to follow faithfully in your example.