“…If you have faith like a grain of 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 17:20 (ESV)
In the San Fernando Valley a huge mountain stood behind the house I grew up in. It was quite intimidating because of the dangers it posed my family throughout my early years. One year the mountain caught fire forcing my family to evacuate our house. Then in winter a heavy storm triggered a mudslide from the mountain, which flooded our home. Another time wild coyotes came down from the mountain killing one of our dogs.
Despite my fears, I decided one day to climb that mountain. I wanted to see what was on the other side. Upon reaching the top, I stood in awe. Instead of looking at the mountain with fear, I now look at it captivated by an amazing vision.
My mountain today is no longer the one behind my house, but it’s the one that stands between me and God’s vision for my life and family: the mountain of fear rooted in unbelief. Recently my wife and I learned that my son has special needs. My first response was to be in denial, then fear and unbelief that my wife and I could make the changes necessary to accommodate our son and become the parents God destined us to become.
Only through these new challenges did we begin to realize this was one of the best things that could have happened to our family. It is teaching us how to rely on God, deepen our love for our children, strengthen our marriage and develop a genuine compassion for others.
Everyone has a mountain, but not everyone wants to move their own mountain. In fact, many try to avoid it, deny it, resent it, medicate it, hide it or blame others for it. God is all about moving mountains to change lives, not simply making them purposelessly disappear to provide short-term relief.
1. Matthew 17:20 “From here to there…”
Mountains are meant to be moved: From Intimidation to Inspiration
The view from the top of the mountain would not have been inspirational had the mountain been small. Once on the other side, I was no longer intimidated, but inspired. It reminds me of when my dad was dying of cancer – I had a mountain of bitterness and resentment towards him that I thought was impossible to reconcile. However the Bible showed me that the problem was not my dad, but my own fear and unwillingness to take on my mountain of bitterness.
To move a mountain you must first face it, size it up, admit why you’ve avoided or tolerated it, then take decisive action to move it! (James 2:17).
The Bible gave me the faith and conviction I needed to begin talking with my dad. Over the course of several months, our conversations went from being intimidating to inspiring. God not only helped us get reconciled, but inspired my dad to study the Bible and become a Christian four months prior to his passing. When we take on the mountains that intimidate us, he moves them from being obstacles to opportunities – to inspire and change lives around us!
2. Matthew 17:20 “Because of your little faith…”
Mountains are Necessary for Faith to Grow
Without mountains in our lives, our faith would never be put to the test to the degree necessary to make it grow.
1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us that the kind of genuine faith that pleases God is one that’s been purified like gold through testing and trials. This is why mountains are necessary for faith to grow (James 1:2-5 ). It strengthens our faith to take on greater challenges (Job 5:7) and unexpected troubles (Matthew 6:34). We must begin seeing every mountain as an opportunity to build our faith in God. Faith grows with each mountain we choose to take on and move.
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt… even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Matthew 21:21-22 (ESV)
3. Matthew 21:21 “if you have faith and do not doubt…”
Doubt-Free Prayers Move Mountains
With faith we can move mountains, but with doubt we often create them. Have you considered that the size of the mountain often reflects the depth of doubt you may be harboring? No mountain can be moved where doubt exists. Doubt makes prayer powerless (James 1:6-7). And doubt allows us to make our mountains an excuse for why we don’t change or live by the Bible. But when we decide to pray more than doubt, and pray unceasingly past our doubts (1 Thessalonians 5:17) that God moves mountains.
The specificity and depth of our prayers must match and surpass the height and depth of our mountains.
4. Matthew 18:19 “if two of you agree…it will be done”
Move Mountains Together With Friends
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:19 (ESV)
When God moves our mountains, it’s also part of his plan to help others discover how to move their mountains. I would not have changed my relationship with my dad and overcome my mountain of bitterness if it hadn’t been for friends who showed me the Bible and how God moved mountains in their lives.
The God who comforts… will lead them and guide them by springs of water. I will make my mountains into roads, and the roads will be raised us.
Isaiah 49:9-11 (NCV)
When our mountains move, our vision becomes clear and faith grows stronger. We’ll no longer see the obstacles and mountains that intimidated us, but “roads” of opportunity in their place that God is guiding us on to live out his vision for our lives.
Questions to help us Move our Mountains:
- What is the most intimidating “mountain” in your life?
- What decisive action will you take with God to face it and begin moving it? (James 2:17)
- What doubts have made your mountain seemingly greater than God’s power to move it? Choose to admit your doubts by study the Bible to confront each of them. (John 20:24-29)