• Shannon Leibold

Faith to Move Mountains



FAITH WALKS


I don’t know about you, but it’s often the “daily-ness” of life that trips me up. How do I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, my head secure in the word, and my heart full of worship when daily demands threaten to steal my focus and dull my passion? My people want to eat three times a day. Dust bunnies mock me from the corners. Laundry piles rival Everest. There are permission forms to sign, homework to check, and endless errands like running kids to their activities. And these are just the daily logistics of life. Never mind the constant guilt over not discipling my children the way I’d hoped, the discouragement from not memorizing as much Scripture as I’d like, and the loneliness that comes when I don’t invest in relationships as I should.


Yes—daily life can be wearying.


But the reality is, we live in today. Confined by time and space, we live in the present moment, and the here and now is the only place faith can be exercised.


We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).


Let’s establish the obvious truth from this little verse.


Faith, not sight. This is perhaps one of the most difficult principles of Christian living. We follow a God that we have never seen. Our faith is not sight, for if it was, it wouldn’t be faith at all. We have confidence in a God unseen, hope in an eternity we have not yet tasted, and belief that one day all will be made right. Although we have never seen anything of the like, we believe that one day Jesus will literally peel open the skies, descend in unimaginable glory, and touch His feet on earth. Some people call this naivety or fairy tale, but as believers, we call it faith.


Now let’s focus.


A faith walk. There’s nothing glorious about walking. Placing one foot in front of the other, it is one of the most ordinary aspects of life. As a common mode of getting from one place to another, it is certainly not remarkable. And yet this is how the life of faith is described— as a faith walk. Faith is lived out step by step, day by day. There are no shortcuts. A life of extraordinary faith is built by stepping forward in faith today, again tomorrow, and again the day after that. Then one day we will look back and realize how far we’ve come.


The mundane activities of life can and should be performed with faith. Can you drive to your job and sit at your desk, day after day, without believing that God has placed you there for a reason? Or without believing that your work has significance? Can you carve out time for a friend who needs to cry on someone’s shoulder without believing that God is using you for kingdom purposes? Can you pray for a missionary overseas without believing that God’s timing (placing her on your mind) is perfect, and that He sees your unseen labours and will reward you?


Can you stock your fridge with good food, speak a word of encouragement to your kids, and sweep the dust bunnies from the corners without believing that, like the wise woman who builds her house (Proverbs 14:1), God will grow something beautiful there— something eternal?


We desperately need a daily glimpse of our great God—the One who is seated on a throne in the heavens, sovereignly in control of everything that happens in the universe He created—to live faithfully step by step each day.


God is so good! He doesn’t ask us to blindly place our faith in someone unknown. As God reveals His faithful love to us each morning, and our understanding of Him deepens, we can place our trust in Him. Each time that the sun comes up and you meet with Him, He whispers, “this is who I am child. Believe Me today in this.” And then the next day there is more: “This is how much I love you. Trust Me today.” As we lift our souls to Him, He teaches us to walk the way of faith.


We serve a God unseen. This can be tricky because we interact with the world around us through our five senses, but we have been designed to look through the eyes of faith to the greater reality of the spiritual realm. We have not seen Jesus, yet we love Him. We have never laid eyes on our Savour, yet we believe in Him. And this act of faith fills us with inexpressible joy.


Focusing on the unseen helps us place our trust in an invisible God. The perspective from the His throne at the centre of the universe, unhindered by time and space, can’t be compared to our microscopic view of our circumstances. Our daily decisions affect our lives tomorrow, and these decisions cannot possibly be wise unless we seek the One seated on the throne.


If we could see the spiritual world around us with perfect clarity, and peer into the future with unimpaired vision, we wouldn’t need to walk by faith. But this isn’t our reality as our feet plod on the hot pavement of earth. We are called to a walk of faith. The good news is that Jesus walks with us and gently nudges us to take that next step of faith.


FAITH PRAYS


There is a little girl across the ocean who calls me Mama. Although we’ve never met, our hearts are intertwined by years of letters sent back and forth across the miles. Her own mother died a couple years ago, so it brought tears to my eyes when a letter came with her tentative question etched on the page: “Can I call you Mama?” Yes! A thousand times, yes!

A recent letter made me laugh. In it, she had drawn a precious picture and written a verse beneath it: “Pray without sissing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).


At first I giggled at the misspelling of “ceasing,” but then I realized how true her version was. So often our prayers are sissy, wimpy prayers, and lacking in spiritual fervor and passion. God must wonder if we really care about what we are saying. “We serve a God who doesn’t slumber,” I recently heard a Bible teacher say, but I wonder if I’ve made Him yawn a few times. It just might be time to take the quiet out of “quiet time,” stand to our feet, and pray without sissing!


Why are our prayer often small and tentative? Or worse—why is it that we sometimes don’t ask at all? If I turn the question back on myself, shining light in the darkest corners of my heart, the answer stares back at me, unblinking: I don’t believe God will answer.

It’s startling, isn’t it? But I don’t think I’m the only one. We don’t ask because we don’t believe He’ll answer. Maybe it’s because we’ve asked before—begged even—and the heavens remained silent. So, why go through the disappointment again?


As you can see, prayer is undeniably linked to faith. First, we must believe that God hears our prayers, and then we need to believe He will respond.


We are meant to stand before the throne of grace with confidence and the belief that— through the blood of Jesus Christ—we have every right to be there. Praying according to His will, and assured that He hears us, we can boldly bring our requests to Him. You see, Christians who truly believe in God’s promises will pray faith-filled prayers. They aren’t afraid to ask God for impossible things because they believe He delights in and responds to faith. In other words, our prayers reveal our level of faith.


Pouring out our hearts to God, believing He is a refuge for us, is a demonstration of trust in Him. Just as we would never express our deepest longings or darkest pain to someone who wasn’t close to us, we won’t run to God if we don’t trust Him.


Ask in faith. Pray in faith. When we are in desperate need of wisdom, instead of seeking the wisdom of the world that is folly, we are told to ask God in faith and believe that our generous, gracious God will give wisdom us without reproach. He will never shame us for asking, and there is no quota on the number of times we can go to Him and ask Him to meet us in our need.


I can’t forget the clarity I felt a few years ago during devotions at a local school, when the principal read from a biography of George Muller, a great man of faith. Although the words are paraphrased, he said, Perhaps the most important key to prevailing prayer, he would stress, is that prayer must be offered in faith and that the answer to such prayer can be recognized and received only on the plane of faith. We must maintain the believing attitude, expecting the blessing, and being ready to receive it in God’s way and time and form, not our own. What portion of this quote speaks to you most? Why?


We can only recognize and receive the answers to our prayers in the realm of faith. Faith prays and then looks expectantly to see God’s work. And if the days drag on and our prayers go seemingly unanswered, we must maintain a believing attitude with the expectation that God will answer with omniscient timing. I imagine myself standing beneath a clear blue sky, flinging my prayers heavenward, and then waiting with arms outstretched and palms up ready to receive the answer.


I challenge you today to infuse your conversation with God with a little more faith. Perhaps you want to shake things up a little—if you normally sit when you pray, try standing to your feet. If you always kneel, try lying facedown before Him. Spiritual habits are good, but not when they become monotonous and dull. Pray in faith and believe God will answer. Follow the counsel of my sweet sponsored daughter and pray without sissing!


FAITH CONQUERS


My son certainly doesn’t get his competitive nature from me. Both he and his dad prefer to win at any sport that they are playing. They say it’s a lot more fun that way. Sometimes I wish I had that competitive drive to motivate me to dig deep and play hard, but I would much rather chat with the people on the sidelines than play the game.


While life is not a game, we are in a competition of sorts. The kingdom of darkness and kingdom of light are in opposition to one another, and we are caught in the middle, on the battlefield. Although the outcome has been predetermined and we know that Light wins, we will live in victory or defeat on our journey by the choices that we make. The world and all its enticements (the flesh and its temptations, and the enemy and his vicious schemes) threaten to overcome our faith, but real faith—a consistent and abiding faith that trusts in Jesus—conquers.


I John 5:4 says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”


As believers, we are born of God, therefore we have overcome the world. The moment we were saved, we became victorious over the world. The Greek word for overcome literally means “to conquer.” Believing in Christ is the key to being born again, and the key to victory is our faith—not only initial saving faith, but a constant trust in Christ through all the peaks and valleys of life. When our lives are characterized by abiding faith, we will overcome the pressures of the world, the temptations of the flesh, and the flaming arrows of the enemy.


A conquering faith can’t be manufactured. Although we tend to rely on ourselves, looking within to muster up the strength to overcome, no amount of willpower or sheer determination can cause us to be victorious in this life. We simply don’t have what it takes. Jesus Christ is the only One who has ever lived a completely victorious life.


Our victories and defeats are driven by our beliefs. With his arrows directed straight at the weak spots in our armor, the enemy would like nothing better than to destroy our faith and leave us in a bruised, battered, and defeated heap. Are you prone to anxiety? The enemy knows, and he has aimed his arrows there. Are you susceptible to laziness and apathy? The enemy will distract you from your calling with all sorts of worldly pleasures.


The shield of faith—that is, the belief that God is who He says He is—will extinguish the enemy’s flaming arrows every time. Satan is no match for a believer who cries out to heaven knowing that God will move on her behalf.


Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Satan is a pathetic counterfeit. He prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour, but we can resist him by remaining firm in our faith.


When we believe God is in control, and we actively place our faith in Him, our minds will be guarded by divine peace from fear and anxiety. When we believe God has only good in mind for us, we will search for it and continue to praise Him during the storm. When we believe God has called us to something and promised to equip us for the task, we rely on His strength to be faithful in it. Our level of faith determines our victory.


We can be victorious even while enduring a difficult situation. When our worlds are crumbling around us, we can be found standing amid the ruin with our faces tilted toward heaven.


The person who can overcome by faith will live forever with Christ in eternity. We will win in the end—that is a certainty, but our experience between now and then is determined by where we place our faith. We will fall in defeat every time we rely on ourselves, trust in people above God, or believe that God to be smaller than He is. We will only be victorious if we continue to place our trust in God and believe Him to be Almighty over our past, present, and future. The victory that overcomes the world every time is our faith.


FAITH TO MOVE MOUNTAINS


A few years ago, we surprised our kids with a trip to western Canada. My husband was travelling for work, so the kids thought we were simply driving him to the airport when we all piled into the car. When we arrived at the terminal and got out of the van to say good-bye to daddy, lo and behold, our suitcases were packed and alongside his! They were dumbfounded and more than a little excited to go on their first-ever airplane ride.


What was truly remarkable about that trip was seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time. As we drove through those majestic peaks over the next several days, I never tired of staring at their beauty. They were so...permanent. So unmovable.


Sometimes we bump up against unmovable mountains in our own lives. Life can take unexpected twists and turns, and we can collide with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. A cancer diagnosis, a broken relationship, a bankruptcy, a job termination, a difficult decision—all these impossibilities threaten to smother our faith.


But Scripture tells us that faith can move mountains.


In Matthew 17:14–20, Peter, James, and John had just been with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the disciples had caught a glimpse of the glory of the Son of God and heard the voice of the Father. As they came down from this mountaintop experience (as it seems often happens), they were confronted with the reality of life below. A crowd had gathered around a father and his demon-possessed boy. The disciples had been unable to drive out the demon. Jesus called them faithless and promptly healed the boy.


When the disciples privately asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out the demon, He said it was because of their little faith. Jesus said their inability come from the littleness of their faith. They didn’t believe God could work this miracle through them, and so to them, Satan’s ability to destroy life was greater than God’s power to save.


Jesus went on to say that if they had faith even the size of a mustard seed—the tiniest of seeds—then they could move mountains and nothing would be impossible for them.

A small amount of faith can accomplish great things if that small amount of faith is placed in a mighty God. I’ve heard it said that when ice skating, it is far better to have small faith on thick ice than great faith on thin ice. To be successful in the battle against the rulers of darkness, we must trust God, who has complete authority over them. We don’t need a lot of faith; we just need the faith to believe that God is able.


But there are some things that are obtained only by stronger faith and more fervent prayers.

Sometimes we can go around and around the same old mountain, unable to conquer it. We repeat destructive patterns of behaviour and end up in the same place. We are paralyzed by decision-making and, instead do something, we do nothing. We become unable to move forward. A crisis leaves us in a broken heap of tears. Whatever the case may be for you, use the word of God to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 2:3 to be your motivation: “You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough.” For some of us, the mountain has loomed over our path for years. It’s time for us to move past this mountain. It’s time for healing.


Instead of focusing on the size of your mountain, speak to the mountain, and tell it that your God is bigger. He can remove any obstacle that stands in our way to a full and abundant life with Him. Our job is to have faith in a God who can move mountains—a relentless faith.

Speaking of mountains, let this glorious truth wash over your soul, and give you peace:

“Though the mountains move and the hills shake, my love will not be removed from you and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate Lord. (Isaiah 54:10, CSB)


Will you join me on a journey towards Relentless Faith? Download my Bible Study Relentless Faith: Trust in a God who moves mountains


For other Bible study resources, head over to my shop. It would be my absolute joy to serve you in this way. Let's meet on the pages of God's Word!





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