(Fruit and Faith Pt 2)
Devotion in Motion
A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day, when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet. He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? “HELP!”
He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice. Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?” “Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!” “I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?” “Yes, but who are you, and where are you? “I am the Lord, Jack. I’m everywhere.” “The Lord? You mean, GOD?” “That’s Me.” “God, please help me! I promise if, you’ll get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person. I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.” “Easy on the promises, Jack. Let’s get you off from there; then we can talk.”
“Now, here’s what I want you to do. Listen carefully.” “I’ll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do.””Okay. Let go of the branch.””What?” “I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go.”There was a long silence. Finally Jack yelled, “HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?” LOL
But that is really the way that most people, most Christians think of faith and how it works. If the Lord doesn’t answer your prayers exactly like they ask, they turn to something else.
In the last devotion, the Lord Jesus is in the last week before his crucifixion. He rides into Jerusalem on a Donkey’s colt, an untamed colt, never been ridden. Then he walks into the temple and see’s all the buying and selling going on. He sees all those that should be leading people to God are in fact fleecing them. They were misrepresenting God to the people. The one place on earth that should be for the worship of God is now a den of thieves. so they leave and head to Bethany and the next day on the road to Jerusalem he curses a fig tree because it had many leaves but no fruit. It was all show and no go.
Then he walks into the Temple and begins to overthrow tables and run people out of there. Verse 17, “Then (Jesus) taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” The next day they passed the fig tree and noticed it had dried up from the roots, why the roots because that was the problem if you are not bearing fruit. It is because as John says in Revelation 2 to the church of Ephesus “You have left your 1st love. It is like Jesus said in John 15 ” If the branch is not attached to the vine how can it bear fruit?” And this is why a Christian dries up and stops producing fruit. He is no longer sinking their roots in God – drawing refreshment and nutrients from Him. In the next few verses Jesus gives us four steps to prevent spiritual withering… First, put your faith in God. Second, verbalize your faith. Third, communicate to God through prayer. And fourth, forgive your brother. To renew our faith
Verse 22, “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” Don’t put faith in your own skill and ability, or in good works, or in religious deeds, or even faith in your faith. Put your faith in God and His grace.Unlike an unfortunate amount of teaching today that seems to encourage believers to have faith in faith, the object of our faith is God. And because He is good (Psalm 73:1), I can bring my requests to Him, share my concerns with Him, and cast my care upon Him, realizing that He is God and I am not; that He is a Father and I am but a child; that He is a Shepherd and I a straying sheep. this way, my faith is not in my faith, but in my Father.
“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 come to pass, he will have whatever he says.”
Note, it’s not, whoever thinks about this mountain – or wishes that it’s removed… it’s whoever says to this mountain. Faith should be spoken. It’s not enough to have faith – we need to verbalize our faith. When you speak your faith you go on record. At times we don’t verbalize our faith because we’re hedging our bets. If I don’t say I’m trusting God then if He doesn’t come through I’m off the hook. But when you verbalize your faith you put yourself on the line. Why does Paul tell us to confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9, 10)? Why does the writer of Hebrews tell us that when a promise is given to us we are to boldly speak it out (Hebrews 13:5, 6)? Because that’s when faith kicks in. Maybe you’re praying intensely and hoping passionately that a certain problem or a certain situation will somehow be solved. But the fact is, Jesus said it’s not enough to simply hope or even to pray. Rather, you must say in faith verbally, “Be gone. Be removed. Be cast into the sea.”
You’re invested. Now your faith is a committed faith.
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Real faith prays, and stays in touch. Maybe you’re in a place where you lack the faith to tell the mountain to be removed. The solution? Ask the Father to give you the faith you need, and He’ll give it to you in order that you might speak to the mountain directly.
This is where the “Positive Confession, Name It and Claim It” teachers miss the point. Jesus taught on faith not to obtain a mountain. But Rather, it was to curse a fruitless situation and to remove an obstacle. Concerning faith, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples how to get a Cadillac, a bigger house, a boyfriend, or a higher-paying job, a helicopter. He didn’t tell His disciples how to get more of anything. Rather, He told them how to get rid of the carnal tendencies, addictions, habits,and sins that made them fruitless.
Contrary to what the “Name It and Claim It” mentality spews,against the current to what the Positive Confession school maintains, Jesus wasn’t talking about accumulating worldly goods, but about obliterating worldly gods. He wasn’t telling His disciples to claim in faith that they would be given a vacation house in Hawaii. He was telling them to get rid of the mountain altogether.
I would like a lot of things but it’s in my prayer life, It’s in the time of prayer when suddenly the things the Lord wants to do in and through my life are born within me. That’s why in the original text, the comma does not appear after the word “desire.” As we pray, our desires will change. Those things which are not important will fade away. The things God doesn’t desire to do in your life will dissipate. And you will be set free to be more like Jesus. To the mountain looming over you today, go on record and say, “Be gone” so clearly that your voice can be heard in hell, in heaven, and in your own heart.
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Faith in God always forgives others.
There’s no such thing as an unforgiving faith. It reminds me of the lady who didn’t get invited to the picnic. When the planner realized her mistake she extended a belated invitation. The lady replied, “O, I forgive you, but I certainly can’t come to your picnic. I’ve already asked the Lord for it to rain that day.”
A vindictive faith isn’t faith in God. Faith always forgives. Because Jesus clearly links faith to forgiveness, if we’re not forgiving, the power of faith is short-circuited. Why? Because a person who does not love or will not forgive cannot be entrusted with that kind of power. . That is why Paul makes it clear that faith works by love (Galatians 5 ” The fruit of the Spirit is Love). 1 Cor 13 “If we have all faith and can move mountains but have not love ;we are but sounding brass and clanging symbols) Just a bunch of noise. Is there someone you haven’t forgiven–It could be that mountain hasn’t been removed from you because you have failed to forgive. Forgive that your Father in heaven may forgive you” Amen.
If you were blessed by this devotion please share.