Believe With The Heart

Introduction

Read Mark 11:22-24

“Have faith in God. I assure you: if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, all things you pray and ask for—believe that you have received them, and you will have them.”

The revelation and implications of this passage of scripture is astounding!  The message it presents to us is life changing if you’ve never received such a revelation or abundantly edifying if you have received this revelation from the Lord.  The truth of the matter is, from my experience and examining my own life, we simply do not believe.  We do not truly trust God beyond the things we can see, touch, and feel unless we have no other choice.  A life of faith is not the typical way of those who call themselves Christian.  Let me explain By some illustrations.

What is the best headache medication that you know of?  What do you do when you have a headache?  Typically we take a headache medication like Tylenol or Advil.  The truth of the matter is that we put our faith in those medications, not because we don’t trust God, but rather because from experience we know that those medications in most cases will work. We trust the medications because they have worked for us in the past when we had a headache.

What if the doctor prescribes a pill for you for an ailment that you have?  He may instruct you to take the medication once a day for 14 days and your symptoms or issue will clear up.  In most cases you will trust the doctor and put your confidence in that medication (and his word) that you will be well after 14 days.  We are used to trusting in the physical.  We are used to putting our confidence in the things that we can touch, see, and feel.  We are not used to putting our trust in God.  We don’t believe.

We have grown up on this earth leaning day after day to trust the things that are from man.  Even in churches we do not learn how to put our trust in the Lord.  Like any other situation of trust, we must learn to do it else why should we?  For example, if you had taken Advil in the past, but it didn’t resolve your issue then after a while you will not take it for the same symptoms because your confidence in it would not be present because it didn’t work.  Most of our lives we learn to trust the “Advils” in the world.  We don’t initialize our faith in God to learn to trust him, but instead we develop a system of trust in the World.

When you are sick you see a doctor or take medications with no questions asked.  When you have a financial situation you try to get a raise, another job, a better paying job, or some other thing that you can do to improve your financial situation.  These types of activities are normal because we learn how the world works from our youth.  We learn what things can improve our financial situation.  We learn that doctors can help us with regard to physical or even mental health.  What we don’t learn to do is to believe the Lord.

I hope to heighten a sense of the need to begin to really trust the Lord.  Jesus told us that we can believe to effect change in our lives and he showed us how.  We will see that there are two major components to believing the Lord.  First we have to believe with our heart and secondly we have to refrain from doubting.  Those two will open up multitudes of opportunities if we would only follow the revelation that Jesus gave us in the Word of God.  Let’s take a close look at Mark 11:22-24 to see what it teaches us about believing God.

 

Have Faith in God – Believe

Let’s first look at what was happening prior to Jesus’ instruction about believing.  The day before Jesus had come to a fig tree to get something to eat.  As he approached it he saw that it had leaves, but no figs.  Since it had leaves it should have had fruit even though it wasn’t the time for figs to be on the tree.  Even so, since it had leaves it should have had figs.  Jesus cursed the tree because it had no leaves and, I believe because he wanted to give his disciples (and us) a lesson in faith.

The following day as they were leaving the town the disciples saw that the tree was withered up.  It was dead.  See Mark 11:12-14, 20-21.

“Have faith in God.”  This was Jesus’ first response to the disciples’ amazement at what happened to the fig tree.  Jesus said to have faith in God, that is, possess trust or confidence in God.  Faith is not merely an activity, but a possession.  You either have confidence in God or you do not.  It is the same with anything else regarding the matter of trust.  Either you trust someone or something or you do not.  Jesus said to his disciples and to us today to possess trust in God.

How does one come to possess faith in God?  Well first we know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 (HCSB) {17} So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

We receive faith by hearing the Word of God and doing what the Word of God says.

James 2:26 (HCSB) {26} For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

We can come to possess trust in God by knowing what God said through his word and then doing what it says.  We possess faith by hearing and obeying the Lord.  It’s that simple.  Once we hear and obey we will begin to learn that God is trustworthy and that we can truly depend on him.  That will get down into your heart and build faith in it.  This is the same thing that happens in anything else we learn to put our trust in.  We somehow learn about it and then we practice it.  As we practice it our confidence grows in that thing.

 

Don’t Doubt in the Heart

The next thing Jesus says is that if we say to the mountain to ‘be lifted up and thrown into the see,’ and we don’t doubt in our hearts, but instead believe what we say then it will happen. There are a few things that we need to take note of here.

  1. What is the heart?
  2.  Say it
  3.  What is doubt?
  4.  Don’t doubt in the heart 

 

THE HEART

The heart is the center of our very being.  It is the true person, the seat of the personality and personal disposition.  It involves our feelings, conscience, intellect, morals, compassions, affections, love, understandings, and wisdom.  It is the innermost character or inclinations of a person.  It is the “truth” of that person.  From the heart we believe or not believe.  The things we say and do originate from the heart.

A person who fears does so because fear is in the heart or because of the condition of the heart regarding that particular circumstance.  A person who tells lies say them because of their heart condition.  The mere words they say may seem to be true, but ultimately the lies they tell are because of the heart.  So the words may not come from the heart, but the motive does.  This is why it is important to know the heart.

So if your heart is confident towards God then you will be—you are.  If your innermost being, your core is confident towards God then you will be confident towards God.  You will possess faith in God.  It’s all a matter of the heart.  Merely doing things that you would do if you really believed is not enough.  Those are things that come simply from the shelves of memory in your head.  Your faith has to be more than mental ascent.  You have to do more than regurgitate things that you know you should do if you had faith.  It has to come from the heart.  You have to do those things because you really believe.

 

SAY IT

If you have confidence in God in your heart then you will express that confidence in many ways.  Jesus said that we speak from the abundance of our hearts (Matthew 12:34).  So if we believe something we are sure to express that through speech.  What do you say when issues or challenges arise?  I find that most people I hear speaking are full of doubt and unbelief.  How do I know that?  I know that because that is what comes out of their mouths.  They speak about how bad things are, and how they will always be this way.  They don’t speak with confidence in God at all.  Their speech says that they are doomed and without hope.

However, if you possess faith in God then the things you say when you are faced with challenges and issues will be very different.  You will speak as if the issue is resolved because you are confident that God has taken care of it for you.  You can rest knowing that everything really will be alright.  You speak faith filled words because your heart is full of faith in God.  You say it because you believe it.

 

DON’T DOUBT IN THE HEART

Jesus said that if you say “it” and don’t doubt in your heart then “it” will come to pass.  The word “doubt” here is very interesting when viewed from the original Greek.  The word “doubt” is translated from a Greek word that means to evaluate carefully, to judge, to prefer, make a distinction, to be uncertain.  You are caught between two opinions or conclusions.  The bible refers to this as being double minded.

James 1:6-7 (HCSB) {6} But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. {7} That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

A doubter does not have the word of God anchored in his heart so he is tossed to and fro by various opinions, thoughts, etc.  Since we receive by faith we should not expect to receive if we doubt.  It’s that simple.

Faith in God does not involve calculations.  You either trust what he says or you don’t.  This has to be the disposition of your heart.  Your heart trusts God so you don’t calculate anything you just act on it. Again I’m not speaking about things that are merely in your head such as things you know people who truly believe would do or things that you merely memorized or remember others doing.  You act because you truly believe.  For example, you depend on your car to be ready for you to go to work.  You don’t calculate every morning what will happen if your car doesn’t start. You don’t give yourself an extra hour just in case it doesn’t start and you have to find another means of getting to work.  You budget your time assuming that your car will start and be able to take you to work.  The same applies regarding faith in God.  We simply know that God will be true to his word and we act on it knowing that he will be.  That is, we don’t doubt him.

Jesus implies that doubt counters faith.  He said to have faith in God AND don’t doubt in the heart.  So even if we have confidence that confidence can be undermined by doubt and unbelief. So we have to focus on the word of God so that we don’t find ourselves caught between two opinions or fearful, which also causes doubt (See Matthew 14:28-31).

If you are wondering if trusting God will work or if it will happen then you are doubting.  Not doubting is when you are only considering that what God says will happen. You aren’t considering your situation or circumstance, but only that God will do what he said he will do and that you can put your trust in him.

Proverbs 3:5 (HCSB) {5} Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;

So you say it because you believe it. You believe it because faith in God has filled your heart!

 

Believe The Things You Say

Jesus goes on to say in Mark 11 that if we believe the things we say (referring to speaking to the mountain) then what we say will come to pass.  We have already discussed the importance of the condition of the heart with regards to what we say.  The important thing here is that if faith in God is in your heart then your response to any issue will be different.  Instead of saying things that are negative and destructive, you will speak words of faith because you know you will succeed.

This doesn’t mean that we can say anything and know that God will do it.  Remember that the faith we have comes from the word of God.  Therefore, if it isn’t in the word of God then you have no basis for confidence or faith.  The premise here is that your faith is based on the Word of God.

So if you truly believe what you say (because it comes from your heart) then you will have it.  It may not happen right away (the fig tree showed no signs of dying until the next day), but it will happen.  Therefore you can wait in confidence knowing that God will remain faithful to his word.

 

It Will Be Done

Jesus revealed what appears to be a spiritual principle.  He said that if we have faith in God, speak something and don’t doubt in the heart, but rather believe what we say will happen then it will indeed happen.  This is amazing and is something we do not typically practice.  We don’t speak with faith in God. We speak either with faith in medicine or otherwise the things of man or we speak doubt and unbelief.  It is common to hear someone speak as if their current condition will never leave.  It is common to hear people speak as though their situation will never improve instead of speaking in confidence that they will recover or be healed from their ailments.

The spiritual principle that Jesus revealed says that we have control over the outcome of situations if we would just have faith in God.  We can move the mountains if we have faith in God and speak to the mountain, i.e., the problem.  What most people do is speak about the problem giving it roots to stay with them.  That doesn’t have to be based on what Jesus said.

 

Pray Believing

Mark 11:24 (HCSB) {24} Therefore, I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for—believe that you have received them, and you will have them.

Notice that this passage of scripture begins with “therefore.”  This means that it is connected with what Jesus had just said, which is the spiritual principle that we discussed above.  Given the spiritual principle of speaking to the “mountain,” not doubting with the heart, and believing what we say, Jesus now moves on to the application of it.

Jesus said because of the spiritual principle of believing what you say, that if you believe that you have received the things that you pray for then you will have them.  That is amazing to me!  Remember that this is all based on confidence in God.  If God has promised it or provided it or said it then you can believe it.  If you believe that you have received the things you pray for then you will have them.  Jesus said to believe that you HAVE received them not believe that you will receive them.

The problem here is that most of what I hear people say is not based on believing they have received anything.  What they say is mostly based on the fact that they have not received.  Therefore, their prayers are without faith and they should not expect to receive anything.  That goes without saying since they already believe they won’t receive.

Pray with confidence in God.  Pray expecting to receive physically what you have already received spiritually.  All things start from the spiritual realm so you have to believe you have received it in order to get it so to speak.  In other words, the manifestation of what you have received in the spirit will come if you simply believe.

We are saved because we believe in Jesus Christ.  Whatever we receive from God is by faith so we must believe.  First know what God said and then trust him.  That trust is demonstrated by what you do and what you say.  Remember that faith without works is dead or meaningless.  Anyone can say that they trust God, but do their actions and speech support that claim?

Many times we may think we believe, but we actually only have mental ascent, i.e., it’s only in our head not our heart.  We know what we should believe so we repeat those things.  We’ll say things like, “trust the Lord” or even “I trust God.”  However, at the same time we make those declarations of faith we are wondering how it will work or what will happen later.  We become fearful because of the current situation and what it looks like it will lead to. However, if we truly trust God then we don’t have to play those destruction scenarios in our head.  Instead we can play the victory scenarios and remain confident in the Lord. If you don’t believe what you pray for then why bother to pray?  What’s the point in praying to God about something when you already do not believe you will receive what you pray for?

 

Application

Each day meditate on the word of God.  Get the word of God in you so that it will change your heart.  This will bring faith to your heart.  Exercise that faith by doing what you learn from the Word of God.  When situations in life befall you, depend on God.  When trouble comes, trust God.  Know what God has revealed in his word (because you have been reading the Bible) and trust Him.  He will never fail.  God looks after His word to accomplish it.

Jeremiah 1:12 (HCSB) {12} The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it.”

Stop speaking as if God is not with you, but instead learn to trust God and speak faith filled words.  Go to the Lord when you face challenges in your life instead of the medicine cabinet.  I am not suggesting that you do not take medicine.  I am saying that you should go to God first in prayer and learn to depend on Him.  Far too many Christians live as though they are Fatherless, if you know what I mean.  They say they are Christians and that God is their heavenly father, but their actions and speech show otherwise.

Know what God has provided for you from the Holy Scriptures and live like they are true.  Believe.  Above everything believe God!  Are you sick?  Instead of confessing how you will always be in that condition, begin to speak how God has provided healing for you.  Confess how Jesus healed the sick and He still heals the sick.  Speak victory instead of defeat.  This is not possible unless you fill yourself with the Word of God and then believe it!  Amen.