We are called to follow Jesus

When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, He became hungry. The devil then used His hunger to tempt Him by essentially saying that if He was the Son of God He could get rid of His problem by commanding some stones to become bread. In other words, if He was who He thought He was, He should use His authority and command the stones to become bread, thereby getting rid of His hunger problem.

Rather than turning the stones into bread, as the devil suggested, Jesus quoted Scripture and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,’”. Jesus actually refused to use what the devil was saying was rightfully His by virtue of His being the Son of God, — His authority.  

Why didn’t Jesus use His authority and do what the devil was telling Him to do; why didn’t He turn the stones into bread and satisfy his hunger, or His ‘mountain’ as some would say in today’s vernacular? He didn’t do it for one simple reason — because He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Although He existed in the form of God, He chose instead to empty Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient… (Philippians 2:6-8). 

We, dear friends, are now in a form of God: We are the body of Christ and His Holy Spirit dwells within us. Should we do any less than Jesus? Rather than speaking to problems and so-called ‘mountains’, should we not instead be submitting to our Father, and our Lord’s Father? Shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ example and empty ourselves and take the form of bond-servants? Should we not be obedient?

The manner of some is to raise themselves up to an equal level with God and take authority over their so-called ‘mountains’ and problems. They, unlike Jesus, regard themselves as being equal with God in that they have all authority (or so they think). This belief comes not from the Holy Spirit, but from Satan himself. He tempts us as he tempted Jesus — he tells us that if we are who we think we are (children of God) then we should take authority over this, and that. But, God forbid that we follow the leadings of Satan; God forbid that we follow the teachings of those who have followed those leadings, and also teach them, swearing they are gospel. And, yes, they really are gospel, they tell us what not to do!

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus was speaking of a specific mountain, the mountain of transfiguration, vs. 9. He referred to it as ‘this mountain’. In Luke 17:6 He was speaking of a specific mulberry tree, for He referred to it as ‘ this mulberry tree’. In each mention of speaking to a mountain and/or a tree in the New Testament Jesus referred to them as ‘this mountain’ and ‘this tree’. Never once did He designate mountains, or trees, as problems. This concept originated in the minds of men who listened to Satan. It is not Scriptural.

The Scriptures tell us the Lord wants us to persevere through our problems and difficulties, not speak to them; He wants us to submit to suffering; He wants us to count it all joy when various trials come upon us; He wants us to learn perseverance and endurance through our problems and so-called ‘mountains’. And how long will we have to endure — until we receive the crown of life, James 1:12. The teaching that we can take authority over our problems and/or ‘mountains’ is preventing people from having a relationship with Jesus and comes dangerously close to robbing them of the crown of life. It is very serious. 

Dear friends, we are called to follow Jesus, not remedies. The next time you are tempted to command your so-called ‘mountain’ to be cast into the sea, say this instead, “It is written, ‘Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,’”James 1:12.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. I hear people all the time saying, “Don’t tell God how big your mountains are; tell your mountains how big your God is.” The Bible never hints of anything like this. May I suggest that we, instead, talk to our God and tell Him how much we love Him and appreciate His sending Jesus to take away our sins, and to give us an inheritance with the children of God, and a promise of eternal life. 

I also suggest that we cast our cares upon Him and praise Him for His lovingkindness and mercy. Rather than get caught up in a boxing match of words with the devil, I suggest that we steadfastly look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for our deliverance from every problem or so-called ‘mountain’ is in Him.

We are not saved by any authority we may have; we are saved by the gift of God, His only begotten Son. We are saved by His obedience and His sacrifice; for in Him we live and move and have our being.

So rather than run from problems or try to find a way out of them, I suggest that we refuse to lift ourselves up to a level with God and that we become obedient, enduring our problems and so-called ‘mountains’, which is the will of God. 

I also suggest we stop falsely calling speaking to our ‘mountains’ Biblical, and call it what it really is— an exercise in the power of the mind.

P.P.S. After writing this letter I saw the following on a Facebook post:

Now this is what you want to do all the time. Don’t place your attention on any difficulties at any time. Look only to Jesus through every circumstance. Keep your eyes fixed upon Him constantly. Maintain praise and adoration in your heart even when you don’t feel like it, when it is not easy to praise. We will never be able to work out a single situation ourselves anyway. Leave the working-out to God and simply keep your eyes on Jesus, who is the Answer to every need and every problem.

Rev Loran W. Helm

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