Mark 11:24 . . . Believe You Receive
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Some of the most thought-provoking Biblical studies are based on the concept of believing we receive, from the passage found in Mark 11:24. Believing to receive from God is something that the Master Himself taught his disciples about. And not only did He teach it in this section of Scripture, but He also taught it throughout His earthly ministry.
There are those who would view this portion of Scripture in Mark 11:22-24 as an isolated teaching, and thus not suitable for building a doctrine upon. However, if we look closer, we can clearly see that this message was not an isolated message at all, but was taught at several crucial points in Jesus’ ministry.
In the early part of His ministry, when Jesus was training His disciples, His disciples asked Him to teach them how to have more faith.
Luke 17:5-6 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
What’s the principle He is teaching? The essence of His statement, to break it down to its simplest form, is that If you had faith, you would say, and it would obey. This undergirds the notion that the release of faith has something to do with speaking words of faith, or speaking faith-filled words. And this was spoken by the Lord while He was raising up His disciples, in the early part of His ministry. Jesus taught faith, and He illustrated it in His teachings and He demonstrated how it works. He was and is the authority on how faith works. The Bible says that He is both the author and finisher, or perfecter, of our faith.
Jesus taught this principle of faith again on another occasion, after He had sent forth His disciples two by two to heal the sick, and to cast out devils, and to raise the dead. They were initially very successful in their endeavors, but then, at a certain place mentioned in the ninth chapter of Mark, came upon an unclean spirit that would not come out when they commanded it to. Jesus ultimately resolved the situation by casting out the unclean spirit, and the disciples took their question to Him.
Matthew 17:19-20 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
He told them it was their unbelief that had hindered them. Jesus had evidently not been told the cardinal rule that you should never suggest that someone’s faith may be at fault when they don’t get results. No one had told Him that it might hurt their feelings or make them feel bad. He just came right out and said, “Because of your unbelief. . .”
Because of your unbelief. You know, if you stop and think about it, that’s another way of saying that the devil would not come out because you didn’t believe he would. It was your unbelief. You could say, and probably be accurate, that the disciples made a command of faith they didn’t believe would come to pass. This incident took place in the middle part of Jesus’ ministry. So then, Jesus taught this principle of faith from the start to the finish of His earthly ministry.
The account in Mark 11:22-24 takes place near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, just days before the Passover in which He would be crucified at Calvary. Jesus’ comments in this passage come in response to Peter pointing out to Jesus that a fig tree which Jesus had cursed the day before had dried up from its roots. Let’s look at the entire passage.
Mark 11:22-24 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Have faith in God, or have the faith of God, as some translators tell us. Have the faith of God. Does God have faith? Of course, He does. What does God have faith in? He has faith in His word. By faith He spoke the worlds into existence. So then, have God’s faith. Have faith in what God has faith in, His word, His great and precious promises to us. All other ground is sinking sand.
“Well, brother, I know the word says that, but I just believe thus and so”, or “I just believe such and such.” We need to throw that away, if we ever plan to please the Lord. It doesn’t matter what we “just believe.” When people say that they just believe a certain thing, it tells me that they really don’t have any basis for believing what they believe. They JUST believe it. Why? Just because. They pull it out of thin air, or they merely repeat something they heard someone else say, without questioning it, or without comparing it to Scripture.
It says “Have” faith in God. The word “have” in this Scripture is the Greek word “echo”, which means to lay hold of. If you look up the origin of the English word “echo”, you will find that it is the Greek word “echo.” In English, the word echo means the reflection of sound, or the repetition of anything. To have the God kind of faith, or to lay hold of God’s faith, is to echo what He believes. Find it in the Scripture and echo it. That’s how you have it. Make God’s faith your faith. If the scripture says, “By His stripes ye were healed,” then I say, “By His stripes I was healed”, whether I feel healed or not. I agree with what God says about me.
Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Why does Jesus use a mountain to make His illustration? I believe He used the mountain to make His point simply because it was the biggest thing they could see. And if this will work for a mountain, then it should work for anything you’ll have to deal with in life. Did Jesus mean a literal mountain? Probably not. I haven’t seen or heard of anybody moving one. We will probably never have to move a literal mountain, but we will likely have to move some obstacles out of our way that stand up against us in our lives. And faith in God’s word will move those mountains.
Jesus used the phrase, “Shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe . . .”
Notice the words “in his heart.” Romans 10:10 tells us that “with the heart man believeth. . .” Faith and doubt are both of the heart, and not of the head. Our head and our heart are different places, or different parts of our being. Our head is up above our shoulders, where our eyes and ears are. Our heart is down in our bosom, down in our heart area. Faith happens in the heart, not the physical heart, but in our heart of hearts, our hidden man of the heart, our spirit man. So, what does this person Jesus is referring to believe in his heart? He believes that what he is saying shall come to pass.
The phrase “shall come to pass” means to become, or shall come into being. One of the pitfalls in our understanding of this principle is that we want to think of it as instantaneous. It says “but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass.” Shall come to pass means shall become, shall come into being. It really doesn’t even imply instantaneous results. Faith has the potential to get results instantaneously, but more often than not it takes some time. Otherwise it wouldn’t require patience. And patience is an ingredient of faith.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I [Jesus] say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, [at the time you’re praying] believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. [at some point in the future.]
When you pray, believe (with your heart) that you receive, and you shall, at some point, have them. The phrase “ye shall have them” is the Greek word Esomai, which means the future first person singular of the verb "to be." It is in the future tense, which, in the English language, is established by the words “will” or “shall.” It will be, or it shall be. In other words, it will happen in the future.
But in our heart, we believe we have it now, when we pray. I heard someone say years ago, that you can have faith in your heart and have doubt in your head, and still be successful. I didn’t understand what they were saying at the time, but now I do. The head and the heart are different places. They act differently. Believing happens in the heart, while reasoning and analyzing take place in the head. The head aligns itself with natural laws, what we know to be true in the natural world. The head, the analytical part of our being, has a difficult time, perhaps an impossible time, understanding spiritual things.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The natural mind operates like an unsaved person’s mind, until it begins to be renewed by the word of God. But the natural mind, which is basically an analytical machine, can trip us up when we are attempting to receive something from God by faith.
Let me illustrate. I had this happen to me several times recently when I was believing God for healing in my body. I would go to the word of God, find the Scriptures that promise physical healing, and believe I receive my healing, and begin to rejoice in my heart.As I would do that, I would be happy on the inside, because I was believing that I was healed, because, according to the Scriptures, Jesus took my infirmities, and bore my sicknesses. And then I’d feel some better.
But then I would wake up the next morning, and notice that the symptoms were still there. And I’d think, well, I thought I was healed, but I guess I didn’t get healed, and then depression would inevitably come, along with a helpless feeling, and a sense of hopelessness and despair. And those things would fill my heart. Then I would be back at square one. I did that over and over, moving myself into faith and then into doubt. I would believe the word with my heart, and then allow my head to talk me out of it. Look at John 16:5-6.
John 16:5-6 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
The heart is where sorrow happens, and its where doubt happens, as well as where despair and hopelessness happen. If we believe that we are sick, and that there’s no hope, our heart will fill with despair and hopelessness. We are, in our own estimation, helpless victims. We get depressed, and our heart is filled with doubt. But faith also happens in the heart. Faith happens when we believe something different. When we believe we receive healing, based on God’s word, our heart rejoices. But that can be short-lived, as our head begins to analyze the situation, and tell us that we’re still sick. And we go back to despair and anxiety.
The real key to receiving from God is to break the cycle of faith and doubt, and keep our heart in faith, even when our head contradicts what we are believing.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Guard your heart, for out of it are the wellsprings of life. Your head can direct the condition of your heart, if you allow it to. What’s the solution? Get into the promises of God until the heart takes hold of them by faith. Believe you receive what you desire, based on those promises. Keep those promises in front of you. Keep your heart rejoicing in them. Let them be the force that determines the condition of your heart.
And then refuse to let your head talk you out of it. The symptoms on the outside are not the reality. The promises you’re rejoicing about in your heart are the reality. Jesus said to believe we receive when we pray, and we shall have them at some point. The “believing we receive” is our part, the “shall have them” is God’s part. He brings them to pass as we believe in our heart that we have received them. We don’t strive and struggle and make a fuss about when it’s coming to pass. We just leave that part alone, and trust in the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
But with faith in our heart, we are now in a position to do what Mark 11:23 says, to speak to the symptoms, believing that what we say is going to come to pass. We have believed we received healing when we prayed, so faith is in our heart, and we’re now speaking to the symptoms, doubting not in our heart, but believing that those things which we are saying shall come to pass. We don’t let doubt, anxiety, despair and hopelessness come back into our heart. We guard our heart with all diligence. We keep it in faith, letting His words not depart from our eyes.
We are, at this point, at the place where Hebrews 10:36 says –
Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
You see, there is a patience factor in the faith process. You can believe in your heart that you’re healed, even with your body and your head telling you that you’re not. So, we must understand that faith is of the heart, not the head. And we must believe we receive when we pray.