… if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you Matthew 17:20b
Maybe when you have heard this verse mentioned it was used in the context of a surgery to be faced, a marital crisis brewing or a financial disaster looming on your horizon. But a mountain also represents any impossibility that separates us from God’s plan for our lives. What is the biggest mountain that separates us from God? Today’s encouraging news is that moving that mountain has nothing to do with its size but it has everything to do with our small faith in a big Savior!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 8:38-39
No mountain can separate us from God’s love because of the cross of Jesus. Our sin which loomed like a giant mountain in our path has been removed and cast into the sea of God’s forgetfulness. It will no longer be remembered anymore forever. When one day we open our eyes in eternity with God we have the wonderful assurance that this biggest mountain of all has been moved! Since He has moved that giant mountain we joyfully use our mustard seed faith to face any small mountain today!
Not much color this fall and only a few fleeting days with snow cover yet there remains a rugged barren beauty to the mountains.
Fourth Gift of Christmas – Faith
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
While we have been busy believing God for all kinds of blessings for our own lives, let’s remember to pause to have faith for others. What kinds of mountains do the people around us face? If we aren’t sure maybe it is because we haven’t asked. We haven’t asked too often because we have been too busy with our own problems.
As Christmas nears maybe we need to take a peek into someone else’s world. What mountains are they facing? Like the disciples we often feel that our faith is so small it can hardly make a difference. But Jesus didn’t seem to be concerned about the size of our faith so much as its reality. If we really have even just a little faith it will make a difference in someone else’s life. What is keeping us back from offering to them the gift of faith?
Soon the last colors around here will be the blue of the sky and the gray of the bare trees. But today I had to stop the car and run out into a field to capture this bit of blue and green with just a few dabs of the creator’s paintbrush left on our mountains.
Ahead lie months of slush covered roads, gray snow clouds and chilly winds. As if to say, we will be back in full leaf and beautiful again next season, the trees wave good-bye. Maybe King David was feeling down and a little sorry for himself on the day he left us these words. But just as He was headed on that downward spiral of despair and depression he caught a vision of what praise was still to be! For I shall again praise Him!
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God Psalm 42:11 ESV
Do you like to let go of something? Am I comfortable with change? Are we really eager to race up a different path? For most of us our answer is likely, “No way!” because we like the familiar and feel safe with the tried and true. Have you ever tried getting your kid to try broccoli, Brussel sprouts or asparagus for the first time? First you get the squinty eyes, then the tightly clamped lips, and if you try to proceed further they quickly swing their heads avoiding any contact with unidentified vegetables!
I have noticed that as an adult I often do the same things. God has put new situations before me that seem strange. There are opportunities that reek of difficulty and their very aroma makes me cringe inside. Paul the apostle relates his own experience with change in the book of 1 Corinthians –
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways 1 Corinthians 13:11
He relates to the struggle we all have with change and gives us a few guidelines to help us on our way. If we are to make the transition from childhood to adulthood we need to allow Him to bring serious change in these three areas – How we speak : How we think : and How we make decisions.
How we speak: “I’m not going to do it! You can’t make me! I hate you!” these are some of the things we hurled at our parents (or have had them hurled at us) when we were children. Fortunately for most of us we learned that there are things in life that we simply have had to accept. We did have to move to a new neighborhood. It was for our own good that Dad pulled the splinter out of our fingers. It has been to our great social advantage that we accepted regular bathing and brushing of our teeth! Giving up our no for God’s yes not only teaches us contentment, but it also puts a new language of praise on our lips.
How we think: The greatest change for a christian is not in the quantity of information that we contain but on whom we are focusing our thoughts. Spiritual maturity is not just about being smarter, but it is in recognizing the value of the people around us. We let go of a world that has me at the middle so we can walk into a life of service to whomever God chooses.
How we decide: How we make our choices will depend on who we believe is in charge of our life. The more that Christ becomes Lord the more that His will becomes the reason for the path we choose to walk. If our life consists only of reaching our own goals then all we will have at its end will be a line-up of dusty trophies on our shelf. But when the will of God takes hold our deepest struggles and highest longings we can begin to discover the great adventure of the life that He has mapped out for us. When we choose to let go and put the steering wheel of our life on his “cruise control” then the peace of God will help us to let go and so together with Him we can take hold of the amazing journey that lies ahead!
As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 125:2
Because it is so easy for us to forget his faithfulness God puts His reminders all around us. He sees we are quick to remember our difficulties and slow to count our blessings. So in His wisdom He chooses to create a mountain of memories so great that we can not possibly forget. He writes on His creation a love note. ” Trust me, I am working everything out for your good. Be back soon! Love God”
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
What lies behind the next mountain only God knows. Our lives once trusted into his hands come equipped with GPS-God’s positioning system! He has promised that whatever the road ahead brings, that it leads to blessing because He is guiding it’s destination to a place by His side!