When mountains move

“I tell you the truth, 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.”

A friend of mine recently wrote a great blog about a similiar passage I thought was worth sharing, you can find it here http://weaklyexperience.blogspot.com/2012/08/fig-trees-and-mountains.html

I was thinking about these ‘moving mountains’ today, too.  About how the ego in us wants to be involved even in being the “best” Christian, the spiritual giant of our time.  Then, I was thinking how Jesus always seemed to be pointing us to be doing the secret, almost imperceivable things to be great in His kingdom.  I wondered, how can our faith moving a mountain not get us some kind of spiritual clout?!  What does moving massive boulders have to do with loving others?

Here are some thoughts:

Perhaps, it has to do with the prayer of faith that literally changes the atmosphere.  That that which was once an immovable obstacle to a fellow sojourner has disappeared as we join our faith with the heart and will of God.  That, when we trust in Him, lean not on our own understanding, acknowledge Him in all our ways, He makes our paths straight.

That, when we strengthen ourselves in the Lord, we “make level paths for our feet, so that the lame may not be disabled but rather healed.” Heb. 12:12-13

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God..” Hebrews 12:15a

What do you think?

“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded…

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24

I have not arrived, but that’s not the point

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.  And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

Phillipians 3:12~16

When you don’t feel it

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

I don’t know what particular set of events, genetics, or personality make-up in me contribute, but I have been one who, in the past, was absolutely consumed with guilt.  There were times when my guilt was appropriate.  When I stole a piece of candy at the store on vacation when I was 6.  When I lied or gossipped behind a friend’s back.  The list of my infractions could go on.   But there have been times, too, when I’ve turned from my sin through God’s power, asked forgiveness, yet did not feel forgiven at all.  What does that mean?  If Christ says that I am forgiven, then isn’t it so?

  I came to accept Christ’s payment for my unrighteousness when I was 17.  Understanding that there was nothing I could do to overcome my sinful nature in my own power, I fell head over heels in love with a Saviour who came to earth and said He would make it possible, and then did.   Jesus, the Son of God, lived a sinless life, was fully God and fully man, able to empathize completely with our weakness and struggle, and the only one able to overcome through a perfect life and sacrificing that perfect life on behalf of every human who would receive the gift.  This news absolutely changed my life.   For a time, my faith seemed so solid.  I genuinely felt forgiven when I asked for it.  It seemed there was unlimited power to overcome the things in my life that weren’t pleasing to God.  It was obvious, I was a new creation.

As time passed, the feelings became less powerful.  And somehow I connected my faith with my feelings.  I doubted that God was continuing to forgive and work in my life because I didn’t feel it.  James says that if I say I believe, and my actions don’t show it, I don’t really believe and I’m lying to myself. (James 1&2) He didn’t seem to think feelings were as relevant as actions in connection with my beliefs.  

I see this same paradigm, not just with faith, but with all of God’s gifts.  For instance, Love.   “Love is a verb.  It is a choice, not a feeling.”  Wise words that stuck with me and rang true in my core.  After 9 years of marriage, I can say I agree wholeheartedly.  When everything is not about me.  When things do not go my way.  When I do not feel romantic or have butterflies in my stomach.  When I am hurt.  Love is not a feeling.  It is a choice.  It’s interesting that psychology tells us that there is a circular behavioural pattern involving: thoughts–>feelings–>actions.  That you can choose to change one of those and the others will automatically be effected.  For me, dealing with the thoughts and actions arena has proven most helpful.  And I love that God reminds us through Paul that, “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy–think on these things.” (phillipians 4:8) Word in, Word out.  When I change my thoughts or actions, slowly but surely, my feelings line up.  I cook dinner when I don’t feel like it because I want to love my family, warmth oozes in.  Give a massage to an achy husband– love in action, a butterfly flutters.  Suddenly, I am feeling love.  With Service: give to someone in need, feel more blessed.  It is the same with forgiveness; Fall short, fall on knees, fall on grace; get up with the knowledge that I am white as snow, eyes catch a glimpse of Him.  Feel it or not, I’m forgiven because God said so. When I can’t choose the feeling, I can choose the thought, the action.  It is a hard process, but so worth it.  I had never read the Bible before I was 17.  I have never hungered for anything like I do the Living Bread.  I need it.  My process has been messy.  We’re all a bit broken.  That is why He came.  That is the good news!  That when I don’t feel it, He is true.  That when I am so infantile and have so much to learn, He is the Grace I need to get where He is leading.   I can trust and believe by acting like it and thinking like it.

 Word in, Word out.  Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Have you heard the Good News of what Jesus has done for you?  Yes, you!  Jesus said, “For I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” And when the “church people” of Jesus’ day saw him eating a meal with folks who were looked down upon in their community they questioned why He would eat with the “sinners”.  Jesus responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”  You see, Jesus had nothing to offer the folks who thought they had it all together.  Even though they claimed to love God, follow all the rules, and even deprive themselves for ‘religious’ reasons, Jesus said they were “hypocrites”, “white washed tombs”, and “snakes”.  So, if you find yourself among the “not enough on your own”, knowing there is an inner life that He sees and desires to make right, there is a place in His Kingdom for you.  He is the Door.  We can only enter through Him.  His death on the cross is what we can accept for our righteousness.  This is where we all begin the real life.  You can take a step in faith by seeking more. For more on new life with Christ, read the Bible, begin to talk to God, (I know that sounds crazy, but He is real and He wants to have a relationship with you), find other Christ-followers.