“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40).
Jesus regularly spoke to things and, as we shall see, He tells us to do the same. We know we have turned a major corner in our lives when we increasingly speak to things and decreasingly ask God to do those things. This transition in our prayer life is not about ordering God to do things, but it is about us understanding the authority that has been delegated to us.
The story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4 is fascinating. If you read the entire account, you will find that the disciples blamed a sleeping Jesus for their problems. After they woke Jesus, they “prayed” to Him to help them. The Master spoke to the storm, and it ceased. This would seem to be a wonderful example of answered prayer, but Jesus ruins the celebration by implying that they didn’t need to get Him involved. He asked, “How is it that you have no faith?”
Say what? “Uh, Jesus, let me help You understand something. We did have faith – faith that You would take care of things. Our faith is what caused us to cry out to You to help us! What do You mean we have no faith?”
When Jesus asked, “How is it that you have no faith,” He was implying that the disciples weren’t getting what He had been saying to them in the past. It is one thing to have faith that God can do something, it is quite another to believe that we can do the same thing in His name. It is not so much faith in God’s ability, but in our ability in Christ.
There is another story in Mark 11 that will help us in this discussion. “In response Jesus said to it (the fig tree), ‘let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it . . . Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’ 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 11:14-23).
In this situation, Jesus spoke to a fig tree with a powerful result. When He was questioned about it, He started His answer by saying, “Have faith in God,” and then made it clear that we are also speaking to things (“mountains”). The phrase “Have faith in God” could just as easily have been translated “Have God’s faith” (and actually is in certain translations). This rendition would seem to more clearly tie His cursing of the tree to His words concerning what we can do if we speak to objects in faith (“whoever says to this mountain . . .”).
Can you imagine a police officer constantly asking his sergeant to do what the officer was commissioned to do? “Hi Sarge, this is Steve again. I have a person down here on 5th and Main that needs to be arrested. Could you come and arrest him?” The sergeant would say something like, “Oh you of little faith. Don’t you know who you are? You have a badge and you have been commissioned to do this yourself. You don’t need me to come down there. Please believe in who you are!”
Many of us are like that police officer, but we can break out of this wrong thinking by learning to speak to that which is around us. Doing so is a wonderful key to a higher level of living. YOU’RE CRAZY IF YOU DON’T TALK TO YOURSELF and to the things in your life.
Talking to Things – The Bible Way
Let’s look at biblical examples of people talking to things:
- Jesus said (to the leper), “Be cleansed” (Matthew 8:3).
- The Centurion said, “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).
- “And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick” (Matthew 8:16).
- “He said to the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ And he arose and departed to his house” (Matthew 9:6-7).
- “Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other” (Matthew 12:13).
- “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour” (Matthew 17:18).
- “‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed” (Mark 1:41-42).
- “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’” (Mark 4:39).
- “Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked” (Mark 5:41-42).
- “Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:34-35).
- “He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!’” (Mark 9:25).
- “In response Jesus said to (the fig tree), ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again’” (Mark 11:14).
- “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).
- “So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them” (Luke 4:39).
- “Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise’” (Luke 7:14).
- “Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 7:24).
This week, as you speak to things in your life with faith, you’ll see those things begin to shift and change.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.