A simple faith

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Mark 11:24, NASB

This saying should excite the believer. It will do nothing for the unbeliever. It comes on the axis of a request for faith to continue.

“Have faith in God.

Mark 11:22n
Ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ· targets a faith already in possession.

The disciples, like us, were amazed at the effect of Yeshua’s disappointment over a tree that had no fruit. They heard him curse the fig tree, and seeing the tree the next day was truly eyeopening. It had withered!

On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. (Mark 11:12-14, NASB)

Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

Mark 11:21, NASB

This instruction is not about getting the faith, drumming up the faith, or letting faith rise to get something we want. It speaks about the faith one already has and how, in pursuit of a normal satisfaction, in this case, a fig snack, faith might bring on unimagined consequences. Significantly, Yeshua’s faith did not bring him a fig snack.

Blessing a fruitless tree may produce fruit next time you go looking for a snack.

The scales of contentment

Happy. All good. Ok. No problem. These are all terms of satisfaction or pleasure. When we hear these expressions and dig deeper we will often find that what people say about their contentment includes a little coverup or denial.

Not that I speak in respect of lack: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Philippians 4:11

When we say we are content we may be referring to

  • Hilarity
  • Not being picky – sardines or salmon
  • Laughing
  • Being undisturbed or unmoved
  • Fully satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied

Paul’s contentment with “whatever” is over against himself not the things missing. I did learn at some point to look at myself and say a grateful yeah and amen.

Among those who are incapable of standing on this ground are folks who take no gift from God. They have to earn everything they enjoy. They prefer to pretend that they have (1) found God by searching (2) are pleasing God by doing all he wants (3) eternal life is a thing we attempt. Only a person in receipt of the divine gift can say what Paul says, “With whatever I am content”.

Yahweh is my shepherd: I do not fall short.