The Indispensable Condition
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 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. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:20-26 NKJV
The miracle of the barren fig tree is the only miracle that Jesus performed with a curse rather than a blessing. He spoke death rather than life. Why? Jesus used His faith to curse the tree to show His disciples that God is able to accomplish difficult and impossible things with ease. He was also showing them that faith is the means to deal with and remove difficulties in life, only if a certain condition is met. That condition is forgiveness!
Jesus told His disciples to have faith in God, not to get faith. God has already given every believer the necessary faith (Rom. 12:3) to deal with difficulties and problems in life. To “say to this mountain be removed” is a picture that Jesus used to teach that God can do anything. You have the power of faith and prayer, but the Lord did not give you that authority to pray for the miraculous for your convenience, fame or acclaim. Every act of faith must rest on the promises of God. If you know it is God’s will to remove a certain difficulty, then you can pray with confidence (1 John 5:14-15). Therefore, “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
But there is a caveat—forgiveness is the indispensable condition. Beyond just saying it, not doubting it, believing and receiving it, forgiveness in your heart is absolutely essential, it is imperative, and necessary (Mark 11:25). This is the irrefutable relationship between faith and prayer. In prayer you can ask, refuse to doubt, believe and hope to receive; but if you are harboring unforgiveness against anyone, your prayer and faith are in vain. So, first, forgive everyone; then speak to “the mountain.” Pray with a pure heart and unselfish motives in order to advance God’s kingdom, giving Him all the glory!