by Kenneth E. Hagin
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 so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. – Mark 11:23,24
I have preached on Mark 11:23 and 24 so many times throughout the last sixty years that some people think I wrote that passage.
But I didn’t write it. Jesus said it a long time before I ever came on the scene.
I want you to look at a particular phrase in this text. Notice that right in the middle of verse 23, Jesus said the one who “shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe in his heart that those things which he saith shall come to pass” – he is the one who shall have whatsoever he saith! Or you could say the reverse: The one who doubts in his heart shall not receive whatsoever he saith.
You see, doubt is the thief of God’s greater blessings!
Let’s look at a few scriptural illustrations that show how doubt robs us of the greater blessings that God intends for us to receive.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit [the same Greek word translated ,spirit is also translated ghost]; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is 1; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter
was come down out of the ship, HE WALKED ON THE WATER, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, 0 thou of little faith, WHEREFORE DIDST THOU DOUBT?
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea, they were troubled and they cried out, “It’s a spirit. It’s a ghost!” Naturally they thought Jesus was a ghost. What would you think if you were out in the middle
of a lake and someone came along, walking on the water? You’d think you were seeing a ghost too!
But Jesus said unto the disciples:
Be of good cheer; it is 1; be not afraid” (v. 27). Peter answered, ..Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on, the water” (v. 28), and Jesus said, “Come”‘ So Peter got down out of the ship and walked on
Someone might say, “Yes, but Peter began to sink.” We know that.
But the Bible also clearly says that he walked on the water (v. 29)! It’s easy to criticize Peter. But at least Peter did walk on the water. So we can’t very well criticize him for sinking until we’ve walked on water without sinking! But then on the other hand, it’s important for us to understand why Peter began to sink.
You see, Peter quit walking by faith, and he started to walk by sight. Notice verse 30 said, “But when he SAW the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink…. ” Peter was blessed to some degree
because he did walk on the water for a while. But when he quit walking by faith and got into doubt, doubt robbed him of the greater blessing of receiving all that God had intended – for him to walk all the way and not sink! Now in connection with this thief called doubt, I want you to see
something concerning the ministry of Jesus in His hometown, Nazareth.
58 And he [Jesus] DID NOT MANY MIGHTY WORKS there [in Nazareth] because
of their UNBELIEF.
Why do you suppose Jesus didn’t do many mighty works in His own hometown? Wasn’t He the Son of God manifested in the flesh? Wasn’t He anointed with the Holy Ghost and power, and didn’t He have the Spirit without measure as John 3:34 says?
The answer to each question is emphatically, “Yes!” And yet Matthew 13:58 says Jesus “did not many mighty works there.” Why? The rest of that verse tells us: because of their unbelief!
Now let’s take a look at Mark’s account of this incident.
5 And he [Jesus] COULD THERE [in Nazareth] DO NO MIGHTY WORK, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
I think it’s interesting to note that Mark’s Gospel doesn’t say Jesus wouldn’t do mighty works in Nazareth. It says that He couldn’t do them!
Now that messes up some people’s theology because they believe God can do anything He wants to do, anytime He wants to do it. Well, if that were true, then we’d have to throw out Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5! After all, God does want everyone to get saved, doesn’t He? Second Peter 3:9 says God is not willing that any should perish. Well, then, why doesn’t He just make everyone get saved? Because He doesn’t
operate that way. God says, “Whosoever will, let him come” (Mark 8:34; Rev. 22:17).
No, there are a lot of things God can’t do – not always because He doesn’t want to, but because people won’t cooperate with Him. That’s what we just saw in Mark 6:5: “… he [Jesus] COULD there DO NO MIGHTY WORK, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” In other words, just a few folks got healed.
Think about that! Just a few people were healed in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth under the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Why? Because of the people’s unbelief.
So first, we saw that Peter was robbed as an individual of the greater blessing that God had intended for him to have. Jesus never intended for Peter to sink. He intended for Peter to walk all the way to Him.
But when Peter saw the boisterous wind, he became afraid and began to sink. So he was robbed of God’s best because of doubt.
Then second, we saw that almost an entire city was robbed of God’s best because of unbelief. When Jesus left the city of Nazareth, He left people sick who could have been, should have been, and would have been healed because it was the will of God to heal them all. But they never received that healing because of their unbelief!
Now I want you to notice that your doubt and unbelief will not only steal God’s greater blessings from you personally, but it can also cause others to miss out on God’s best.
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, 0 faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, WHY COULD NOT WE CAST HIM OUT?
20 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.
In order to get the full picture of what had happened, let’s go back a few verses in Matthew 17. Jesus had just taken Peter, James, and John to the top of the Mount of Transfiguration, leaving the other nine
apostles at the foot of the mountain. As Jesus came back down, a man approached Him and said, “I brought my son to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” So Jesus had this man’s son brought to Him. Then He rebuked the devil, and the devil departed out of the boy.
After the man’s son was delivered, the other nine apostles asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast the devil out of him?” Jesus answered, ” … because of your unbelief.. ” (v. 20)!
But think about this: If the apostles hadn’t already been getting folks delivered, they wouldn’t have asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we cast this one out?” So they must have been casting out devils before that time;
otherwise, the man wouldn’t have taken his son to them in the first place.
If you knew someone who was sick and needed to be ministered to, you wouldn’t take him somewhere where the people don’t believe in praying for the sick, would you?
For example, back in 1939, 1 pastored a church in the blacklands of north central Texas. One Sunday night, a woman in my church brought me a letter from her neighbor across the street. It said: “Dear Reverend Hagin, I don’t know you, but I read in the paper that you’re the new pastor of this church. My daughter and I visited several years ago for different services, so I know that your church believes in divine healing, anointing with oil, and praying for the sick.
“I have been bedfast in my home for two years. I realize that I’m 72 years old, but I just don’t believe God is through with me yet. Would you come to my house in the morning at ten o’clock to anoint me with
oil and pray that I may be healed?” And she had given her address.
Well, the next morning at ten o’clock, I was at this woman’s house She was lying on a hospital bed that had been cranked up almost to seated position. Her special nurse escorted me to the bed and
introduced me, saying, “This is Reverend Hagin.” As I shook hands with the white-haired woman, she reached out and held on to my hand. She said, “Now Brother Hagin, when you get as old as I am, you don’t have time to mince words.”
I was only 22 years old back then. But today I can understand what she meant because I’m older now than she was then!)
The woman continued: “You may wonder why I sent for you since I’m a member of another church. But my church doesn’t believe in divine healing. They don’t pray for the sick, and they don’t anoint people
with oil. In fact, as far as I’m able to ascertain, your church is the only church in town that does. Besides that, I know healing is in the Bible because I’ve been reading my Bible. Now just go ahead and anoint
me with oil and pray, and I’ll be healed. You just watch!”
I didn’t know this woman. I had just met her that day for the first time. But I anointed her with oil and prayed the prayer of faith, and she was healed. The reason I know she was healed is that the next week
she came to our church for the Sunday night service.
But the thought I wanted you to get is that the woman didn’t send for someone from her own church because her church didn’t believe in divine healing. She had sense enough to realize that unbelief would only rob her of God’s promise of healing. So instead, she sent for someone who didn’t doubt the Word of God, and by faith she received God’s greater blessing for her.
Now that woman was healed using her own faith, but I had a part to play too. If I had not been in faith with her, my unbelief could have hindered her from receiving her healing. I also found that to be true
later on in my ministry in connection with ministering to the sick with the tangible healing anointing.
In 1950 Jesus appeared to me in a vision during a little tent meeting in Rockwall, Texas. It was the first vision I’d ever had of Jesus. In the vision, Jesus laid the finger of His right hand in the palm of each
one of my hands, and the palms of my hands began to burn as if I were holding a coal of fire in them. Then He laid His hand on my head and said, “I have called thee and have anointed thee, and I have given unto thee a special anointing to minister to the sick.”
Now Jesus also said something else to me in this vision. I don’t mention this part of the vision much anymore because I minister in a different way today. Jesus said: “When you minister to the sick, lay
one hand on each side of their body. If the fire in our hands jumps from hand to hand, then there is a demon in their body. Call the demon out in My Name. If the fire doesn’t jump from hand to hand, then it is a case of healing only.”
From 1950 until 1952, I ministered to the sick in that way at the Lord’s direction. Then in 1952, the Lord appeared to me in another vision and told me, “From this night forward, what is known in My Word
as ‘discerning of spirits’ will operate in your life and ministry when you’re in the Spirit.” So now when I minister and lay hands on people, I can tell if there is an evil spirit present either through the word
of knowledge or the discerning of spirits.
Well, after that first vision in 1950, I held a meeting in Oklahoma. While ministering to the sick on an individual basis, I asked one man: “What is wrong with you?”
He said, “I have tuberculosis of the spine. My spine is as solid as a crowbar, and I can’t bend over. The doctors say there is nothing they can do for me.”
I laid one hand on the man’s back and one hand on his chest, just as the Lord had directed me to do. Immediately I felt the fire in my hands jump from hand to hand, and I knew an evil spirit had brought
about that condition and was enforcing it in this man’s body. So I said, “Come out of him, you foul spirit, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
But then I missed it. I said to the man, “See if you can stoop over and touch your toes.” That was doubt! The man tried to bend over, but his back was as stiff as a board.
I said, “We’ll try it again.” (Again, I was in unbelief, and I didn’t even realize it. You see, faith doesn’t try something; faith does it!) I laid my hands on his back and his chest again, and the fire began to jump from hand to hand like heat waves. I said, “You foul spirit that oppresses this man’s body, come out of him in Jesus’ Name!” And without really realizing that I was missing it, I repeated: “See if you can
stoop over and touch your toes.” Of course, he couldn’t. His back was as stiff as a board.
We tried it the third time and nothing happened, so I sent him on. As he walked away, I was thinking about what had happened, wondering why it didn’t work. Then as fast as you can snap your fingers, there stood Jesus right in front of me. No one else saw Him, but I saw Him just as plainly as any man I’ve ever seen in my life.
Jesus pointed His finger at me, almost touching my nose. He said, “I told you, ‘If you feel that fire jumping from hand to hand like heat waves, there is a demon or evil spirit in the body. Call him out in My Name, and he will leave.”‘
I said, “Jesus, I know You said that. But I told the demon to leave, and he didn’t.”
He repeated: “I said, ‘Call him out in My Name, and the demon will leave in My Name.”‘
“I know You said that, Lord,” I answered. “It seems as if it were just last night that You appeared to me. But I told him to leave, and he didn’t.”
Jesus said a third time, “I said, ‘Call him out in My Name, and the demon will leave!”‘
I said, “Lord’, I know You said that. And I told him to leave, but he didn’t.”
I’ll never forget the look on Jesus’ face. I think I know what He must have looked like when He took that whip and drove those moneychangers out of the temple because it looked to me as if little flashes of
lightning were coming from His eyes. He said, “Yes! But I said he would!” And Jesus disappeared.
Finally, I got it. I realized exactly what had happened. I’d been saying, “See if you can bend over.” That was doubt and unbelief. The same way unbelief had prevented the disciples from casting the demon
out of the man’s son, my doubt had robbed this man from receiving his deliverance.
When I looked down the aisle, the man was about to sit down in the pew, so I called out to him, “Come back up here.” As the man retraced his steps back to the platform, I stood there waiting like a cat ready to jump on a mouse. He stepped back in front of me, and once again I laid one hand on his chest and one hand on his back. Then I said, “I told you to leave in Jesus’ Name, and out you go!”
But this time I said, “Brother, stoop over and touch your toes!” Over he went! His back was immediately loosed!
You see, doubt or unbelief causes you to receive less than God’s best. If you walk in the natural after your senses and according to sight, the natural will dominate you. But if you walk by faith – faith in the Word, in the promises of God, and in what God speaks to your heart – you put yourself and others in a position to receive God’s best. And I don’t know about you, but I want God’s best!
Too many times we wait for the intervention of God’s divine sovereignty in order to receive our blessing, and that does happen occasionally. But God’s best and His highest are constantly available to us through
the avenue of our faith. We receive the miraculous by the hand of faith! There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it!
So how can you receive God’s best? By being hungry and thirsty for it, and by constantly resisting doubt in your life. Doubt is the thief of God’s greater blessings, and the only security against doubt is faith.
Faith in what? Faith in God’s Word. Faith in what God has said!
So determine never to let doubt steal from you ever again. Take God at His Word, and by faith appropriate all of God’s greater blessings in your life!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE WORD OF FAITH MAGAZINE APRIL, 1996, PP 4-7. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.