They said it was physically impossible. Unconquerable.
In March of 1953, it was the last frontier in the known world. No human being had ever set foot on the peak of Mount Everest, and many of the world’s most sophisticated scientists and experienced mountaineers believed it to be impossible. In previous years, there had been thirteen documented expeditions—large, well-funded teams comprised of the most skilled climbers on the planet, making their push towards the one part of the world that man had yet to stand upon.
Every attempt had been met with epic failure. Many men perished, buried deep in frozen blocks of ice on the mountain. Yet one New Zealand mountaineer was determined to reach the summit.
Sir Edmund Hillary eventually became the first person to conquer Mt. Everest, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. What many people tend to overlook is that Hillary did not make it to the top of Everest the first time he tried. The first time was a complete failure. His team encountered one setback after another, and in the process more than half his climbing party died. He experienced disappointment after disappointment.
Nonetheless, the British Parliament decided to honor him with an award. When he entered the chamber to receive his award, the people gave him a standing ovation for daring to attempt such a risky climb. When the applauses subdued, Hillary turned his back to the audience, stared intently at the picture and said, “Mt. Everest, you have defeated me once and you might defeat me again. But I’m coming back again and again, and I’m going to win because you are as big as you are ever going to get… but I’m still growing. You can’t get any bigger, Mt. Everest, but I can.”
This is the same man who said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” That attitude is a game-changer!
Jesus gave his followers some instructions about confronting mountains:
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:22-25 ESV)
Moving a mountain was a metaphor in Jewish literature for doing what was seemingly impossible (Isaiah 40:4; 49:11; 54:10; Matthew 21:21–22). Those who believe in God can have confidence that He will accomplish even the impossible, according to His sovereign will.
Jesus didn’t say to go around the mountain. He didn’t say run from the mountain. He said to speak to the mountain. Of course, speaking to our mountains doesn’t imply that we try to manipulate God into doing what we want through impressive words or fall subject to a distorted “name-it-claim-it” theology; it simply means that we make an intentional confession of our faith by planting God’s Word deep in our hearts, and letting our words reflect that faith.
Speaking to mountains might sound crazy but if your faith isn’t strong enough to move your mouth, then it isn’t strong enough to move your mountain.
If your faith isn’t strong enough to move your mouth, it isn’t strong enough to move your mountain.
Maybe your mountain is a financial crisis or a work-related challenge. Maybe it’s a health issue or an emotional battle going on in your heart. Maybe a mountain has come between you and your spouse, or you and your children. It might be shame over a failure that is keeping you from getting back up again. A mountain can be anything that is standing between you and absolute surrender to God in every area of your life right now. It can represent anything that causes you to think less of God’s sovereignty, or causes you to shrink back in your trust that God can do the impossible.
Whatever mountain you may be facing right now, don’t be afraid to speak to it. Serve that mountain notice—that you won’t be intimidated by it, that your God is bigger than the mountain, that your faith will not shrink back. Tell that mountain that it won’t rob God of His glory in your life, that you are going to keep growing, keep getting stronger, keep believing, and keep coming back to face it with boldness and dependency in Christ. Sometimes the strongest words we can speak that have the capability to move mountains are “I forgive you” (Mark 11:25).
Sometimes the strongest words we can speak that have the capability to move mountains are ‘I forgive you’ (Mark 11:22-25).
It’s God’s business to move the mountains in our lives. It’s our job to let our faith move our mouth.
Think about that as you abide in Him this week.
For further study: Mark 11:20-26, Matthew 17:20, James 3:1-12, Proverbs 12:14, Hebrews 10:23
Question for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:
- How would you describe the greatest resolve in your life (what you are most determined to accomplish or become)?
- What do you think of in your life when you hear Sir Edmund Hillary’s words: It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves?
- What are some mountains you and your family are facing right now?
- In what way did Jesus correlate forgiveness and unforgiveness with the effectiveness of our prayer life (Mark 11:22-25)?
- If you were to measure your speech this past week, did your words and conversations speak more to the size of your mountains or more to the size of your God? This coming week, what disciplines can you put into practice that will attest more of the latter?