Key Verse:
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 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 be done, he will have whatever he says. – Mark 11:22-23 NKJV

From these two verses, I will focus on genuine faith.  Not faux faith.  Not an imitation of faith.  Faith that is not skeptical, not fake, but a faith that is real.

Misunderstood faith

There are some that have been under the impression that their faith is completed once they join a church, and get baptized.  The one thing that I always want to make very clear is that joining a church is not the completion (the end) of one’s faith.  The journey of faith begins with believing in our heart in Jesus Christ, but I tell you that faith is going to be constantly tested day in and out.

Real faith is shown in how we stand during those rough times.  Do you stand in your faith in Christ during those hard times?  Sadly, there are many “believers” who say they have faith in the Lord, but when times get tough, they turn to the world, or themselves, instead of putting their faith in God.  This kind of faith is not genuine, not the real thing, but more of a fake (an imitation) I guess you could say.  This faith cries out to God, but it does not truly believe He will come through, and so this kind of faith fails and goes unrewarded.

Jesus said this about faith:

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Matthew 7:26-27 NKJV

The metaphor here is that the sand is representative of the foundation of the man’s faith, the house can be representative of him or his refuge in faith, and the storm represents the trials that tested his faith.

The faith that is not genuine fails when it is tested by the hard times that inevitably come along in all of our life.  When you refuse to follow His sayings, you’re choosing not to believe in His sayings.  There were many that heard the sayings of Christ, in those times, but they chose not to keep His sayings.  I tell you that when times got hard for them, they were not able to fall back on a faith that was built on a solid rock.  There were also some that heard His saying, wanted to keep His sayings, but for whatever reason, they simply could not do so when the times got hard.

The same holds true today.  Many become fearful, but as I said last week, faith and fear do not work hand in hand.  Many say they believe, want to keep the way of Christ, but simply cannot keep His way for whatever the reason may be.  For some, His ways are too hard to keep and others feel that His way is foolish.  These types of “believers” I find are very skeptical in their faith, but skeptical faith is still not a faith that will stand or be rewarded by the Lord.

One of the more frank scriptures that we find about faith, in the bible, can be found in Hebrews.  The writer states:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Note that the writer directly talks about the type of faith that is rewarded in this scripture.  Our writer says that those who diligently seek Him will have their faith rewarded.  So, let us not misunderstand what genuine faith really is or the type of faith that goes rewarded.  Genuine faith is a faith that is diligently turning to and seeking for the Lord.   It is impossible to please the Lord and therefore be rewarded by the Lord with a type faith that does not diligently seek Him.

Lesson from the fig tree

In today’s responsive reading (Mark 11:12-26), Jesus is walking with His disciples when he goes to a fig tree and looks for figs (v.13).  You will notice that Jesus looks for figs on a tree but it is not the season for figs – they were out of season.  Some would question the deity of Jesus over Him not recognizing that figs were not in season, but Jesus does this for a reason of which we are about to get into.

The tree was representative of the nation of Israel, once a very lively nation in the Lord, but had turned from the Lord and had divided.  There was a revival under Nehemiah and Ezra after the Jews returned to Jerusalem post-Babylonian captivity.  Yet, the revival of spirit did not last long and the Lord “went silent” for 400 years – the time spanning between the testaments. Spiritually speaking, Israel had become a lot like this fig tree after Jesus cursed it (v.20): dried to the root and not bearing any fruit (figs).

I believe the Lord was disappointed with the nation of Israel because He expected for them to bear good fruit.  The Lord expects good fruit from all of those that genuinely believe and have faith in Him. God still loved both them and the world so He sent His only begotten Son.

Remember, we are branches that grow off the true vine (Jesus) and the Father tends to that vine and prunes the branches so that they can bear good fruit  (John 15).  As believers, with genuine faith, we are to bear good fruit in season and out of season.  Your branch may be checked “out of season” but the Lord still expects for you to be bearing fruit!  Paul wrote (2 Timothy 4:2) that we should be ready in season and out of season, preaching the word (proclaiming Christ).  Many of us feel that this scripture is meant solely for the preacher, but a sign of true genuine faith is proclaiming the name of Christ.  I believe we can proclaim Christ by how we live; are you living in the genuine faith of Christ?  This means that the faith of the genuine believer can never take a break.

Genuine faith should never take time off!  Our faith cannot go on vacation!  Sadly, there are many who claim to be faithful that are taking time off in their faith in God at a time where this country and the world needs those of genuine faith to stand in it.  People who are supposed to be of faith are allowing some actions to slide while they jab their fingers at the actions they personally don’t like – there is not anything genuine about this kind of faith.

Genuine faith does not pick and choose – show a bias.  When faith goes misunderstood, people believe they should simply thump the bible (dictate), everywhere they go, and only dictate the parts that they like.  Paul says, preach the word, and the word is that the Lord sent His only begotten Son so that we would believe in Him and not perish (John 3:16).  Genuine faith understands that this is all anybody needs to know in this life, and this, the only begotten Son, is all one needs to believe in!

Power in that faith

There is much power in genuinely believing in God’s only begotten Son.  The one of skeptical faith will doubt the power, but we of genuine faith should not doubt the power of the Lord.  Jesus tells us (Mark 11:23), that we have the power to move mountains!

He says:

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 be done, he will have whatever he says.

Mark 11:23 NKJV

I want you to see this scripture and I want you to understand what this scripture is saying.  Jesus was not talking about literally moving physical mountains with our faith.  The mountains that must be moved in our life are those spiritual mountains that all of us have to face every day.  These spiritual mountains are sometimes too big to climb over and too wide to simply go around.  Yet, through God, those mountains can be picked up and moved out of your way!

The one of genuine faith is never conquered by a mountain because God moves all of our mountains.  One of skeptical faith is constantly facing the same mountains and they’re never able to overcome those mountains because they have doubted.  The faithful believer knows where its help comes from; it comes from the Lord.  The Lord is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him!  Genuine faith is diligent (constant), not something that is temporary or take breaks.


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