Q:What inspired you to write your new book, Give Me This Mountain—Faith to Go from Barely Surviving to Actually Thriving, and where did you get the idea for the title?
A: The idea for writing this book came about when I was preaching a sermon in 2018. I remember echoing these very words Caleb spoke, “Give me this mountain!” (Josh. 14:12), and seeing in this Bible story how to walk in the Lord’s ways of faith and thrive in the face of the setbacks and challenges that come our way.
I thought back then that it would be a great book to write to help believers understand, possess, and grow in the kind of faith Caleb had. There is so much for us to learn from this story of how an 85-year-old was able to conquer a mountain when everyone said it was impossible. When you read this man’s inspiring story in the Bible, you see not just how his resilience, hope, and faith shine through but how the key to all that is Caleb’s relationship with the Lord and his trust in the word of the Lord.
So I wanted to explore his story for everyone desiring to grow in faith and to inspire readers to understand how they, too, can confront their adversities and take on their mountains by faith with the Lord on their side.
Q: What would you say to someone going through a difficult season? How can they move from a place of surviving to thriving?
A: If you’ve been going through a challenging time, I want you to know that our Lord Jesus cares about what you’re going through, and He wants to lead you to thrive even in these times. His heart for you is not to just barely survive but to flourish, walk in wholeness, and have good success no matter what is going on around you.
I know this might not be easy to believe, especially when your reality seems to contradict God’s promises so blatantly and painfully that sometimes, you can’t help but wonder, “God, why is this happening to me? Where are You?”
There’s a woman of faith in the Bible who found herself backed into a corner by what seemed like very unfavorable circumstances. Her name is Esther, and I share from her story in Give Me This Mountain. What is interesting about Esther’s story is that we do not find God’s named mentioned in it even once. Even when things kept taking a turn for the worse, it seemed as if God was nowhere to be found.
Perhaps you know what that feels like.
But friend, I want to encourage you in this: You might not see the Lord showing up in the way you think He’s supposed to, but He is more present and active than you realize. While He is not behind your pain or struggle, He is still working behind the scenes in your life. He is able to help you through this difficult time, bring comfort and peace to your mind and emotions, and cause all things to work together for your good.
This is what He did for Esther. As I expound on further in my book, we can actually find the Lord’s signature hidden in the original Hebrew text, appearing at pivotal moments in Esther’s story that eventually led to deliverance and victory. He was there all along, even when it didn’t seem like it.
So beloved, please take heart. Today, I believe the Lord is saying to you: “I will make darkness light before you, and crooked places straight. I have not forsaken you, and I will do these things for you because I love you” (Isa. 42:16). May you sense His love and presence right now, and begin to see Him providing for you and leading you to thrive and reign over every area of lack and defeat.
Q: Joseph, one of the main audiences you wrote this book for is young adults. Why do you believe God has placed them on your heart during this season?
A: While all believers can benefit from learning about God’s ways of faith, I believe it is the young generation especially that the Lord wants to raise in these last days to have Caleb-like confidence in Him. The Lord has a special place in His heart for young people, and He’s got such an awesome destiny for them in Christ—a destiny of really knowing Him, being strong, and carrying out great exploits (Dan. 11:32).
At the same time, He also understands what they’re going through as they navigate life in today’s world. They are trying to figure out their careers, relationships, and finances against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, global instability, and economic upheaval. They are being bombarded with all kinds of voices and opinions because of their round-the-clock access to social media and digital content. In the midst of all this, they are under immense social pressure to have it all together. It’s no wonder so many young adults today feel overwhelmed with stressed and anxiety.
But I believe that when young people believe right about the Lord’s love and all that He has accomplished for them at the cross, they will start walking in boldness and audacious, unstoppable faith, taking down their giants, and fulfilling His purposes in their lives.
I remember growing up as a young person hearing a message of guilt, shame, and condemnation, that God was harsh and that we need to show perfect obedience to please Him. It takes many years for one to heal from such teaching which imparts condemnation and fear—the opposite of bold faith. So I wrote this book to help young people everywhere live with a personal revelation of the Lord’s unconditional love and of the perfect and irreversible work of the cross so that they’re able to overcome the anxieties, temptations, and unprecedented challenges in the world today.
If you’re a parent of a teenager or young adult, or if you know a young person who is going through a difficult time, please consider blessing them with this book!
Q: Why do you think it is so important for young people to know God has a purpose for their lives? And how can they discover that purpose while also learning more about themselves and their hearts’ desires?
A: Ephesians 1:11–12 msg tells us so beautifully that it is in Christ that we discover who we are and what we are living for. When we don’t know that we are His beloved, that we are different from people of the world and set us apart for His purposes, we often live life wanting and chasing the things that don’t satisfy or bring us true fulfilment. But when we realize and believe our Lord Jesus has a great purpose and plan for us—to know Him and reveal His marvelous works—we will want to live differently from the world.
Understanding and believing this is crucial for young adults as they make decisions that will eventually determine the trajectory of their lives. They will realize they don’t have time to waste indulging in sin and meaningless pursuits that cannot satisfy. They will stop living like the world—driven by a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for what they see and don’t have, a craving for achievements and possessions that just inflate their pride (1 John 2:15 NLT).
Instead, they will start making decisions and plans for their lives that line up with God’s Word because they know their Father’s heart is to lead them into a life that’s greater than all these things. And when they realize that it’s not their strengths that qualify them for this glorious destiny but their weaknesses and need for His grace, they’ll find themselves walking in a closeness with the Lord. They’ll start to want what’s on His heart for them and for others, and they’ll walk in the kind of bold faith they only used to dream of.
Q: We all have struggles and areas in our lives that we feel like we’ll never be able to overcome. What is chutzpah faith, and how does this help us conquer them?
A: Chutzpah faith is audacious faith that depends solely on the Lord in the face of adversity. It’s the faith demonstrated by Caleb, David, the prophet Elisha, and other men and women of faith in the Bible whose stories I share from in my book. They did not see their challenges as problems, but as opportunities to experience the power of the Lord, and for the Lord to turn those challenges into blessings for them and to showcase His glory. They knew with certainty that He was with them, that He was always faithful to His promises, and that they didn’t have to face their challenges alone or in their own strength.
In the same way, we too can walk in chutzpah faith to win the battles of life when we keep our eyes on the Lord, His unfailing love, and His Word. We can boldly believe that because the Lord is FOR us (Rom. 8:31), we can boldly ask Him for all that we need and confidently expect to see His supply. We can boldly expect healing or wisdom for good success or favor even in the face of impossible situations. We too can stand at the foot of our own mountains of adversity and know with certainty that the battle belongs to the Lord and He will help us conquer them!
Q: When we’ve gone through a difficult season, bitterness can make its way into our hearts. How do we cleanse the hurt so that we can move forward in life?
A: When we’ve been disappointed time and again, it’s not easy to live life with a confident expectation of good. When we’ve been lied to or when we feel we’ve been taken advantage of—that’s the time bitterness can creep into our hearts. But to allow bitterness to fester is like allowing poison to remain and do its destructive work in our bodies. Bitterness can stifle our faith and our growth, so how do we successfully root it out?
In Give Me This Mountain, I expound on an event that took place shortly after the children of Israel left Egypt, where they had been brutally treated. In the wilderness, they came to a place called Marah—which means “bitter” in Hebrew—and they could not drink the bitter waters there. Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which Moses cast into the waters. When he did that, the Bible says that “the waters were made sweet” (Exod. 15:23–25). The tree is a picture of the cross on which our Lord Jesus hung, bearing every broken heart and every sting of betrayal.
Here is the key to dealing with bitterness: bring the issue that’s been tormenting you to the Lord, and see Him bearing your disappointment and broken heart at the cross. Give Him your hurt and bitter feelings, knowing He died to make sweet all that’s bitter in your life now. When we start to do this, we allow His healing to begin where our deepest wounds are, and we allow Him to set us free from bitterness. We can leave the place of bitterness as the children of Israel did, and we can look forward to the good things our Lord Jesus has for us.
Q: In your book, you mention that one of the keys for us to start thriving in the face of adversity is to make the Lord the first person we share our feelings and emotions with. Could you tell us more about this?
A: When we are faced with setbacks or challenges, many of us tend to complain about our situation or vent our emotions before our family and friends. While doing this can help us feel better momentarily, it rarely changes the situation or frees us from feeling upset about it. And then there are those of us who bury our emotions without allowing ourselves to process them in a healthy way.
But the Lord wants us to respond to difficult circumstances differently and see much better results. He invites us to share with Him before anyone else all that we are feeling, whether it is disappointment, discouragement, frustration, or stress.
I can’t emphasize this enough: when you’re faced with a challenge, talk to the Lord about it. Everything Jesus did at the cross for you—His forgiving you of all your sins and making you the righteousness of God—was all so that there would be no more wall between you and your heavenly Father. So that you can take up His invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace, tell Him what you’re feeling, what’s troubling you and “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). We begin to thrive when we go to Him and allow Him to step into and move in our situations.
I love Proverbs 3:6 amp which says, “In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” Our Lord Jesus isn’t just someone who lifts our burdens and saves us from our troubles, but is also a friend who wants to guide us in all the big and small affairs of life. So talk to the Lord. You will find Him giving you practical wisdom for the situation.
I personally like going on evening walks and having quality conversations with the Lord while strolling. I can’t explain it, but by the end of the walk, something has changed. Even without asking the Lord for anything, I find that He has added something to me. I find that I’m not so worried anymore, that He has imparted strength to me, and that I’m much more conscious of His super-abounding supply for life’s demands. As you pour out your heart to Jesus, He won’t let you leave the same way you came. He’ll give you His strength, infuse you with His peace, and so much more.
Q: What are some of the ways we limit God’s provision and blessings in our lives?
A: The Lord showed me once: love gives (John 3:16), grace supplies (Phil. 4:19) and faith takes. He wants us to freely take by faith what He is freely supplying to us by grace. When we don’t know or lose sight of how much He loves us and is already supplying to us because of the cross, our faith becomes hampered and we end up taking little from Him.
That’s why Jesus said to His disciples, “Oh you of little faith.” He was essentially telling them, “Why do you take so little from Me when I have so much to give?” This is why it’s so important that we keep hearing the preaching of the gospel that reveals the person of Jesus and His finished work. The more we do, the more we see His love and grace toward us, and our faith and ability to take what He’s freely giving, grows.
Sometimes, when we don’t seem to be seeing what we’re trusting Him for, we can also lose sight of His love and promises for us. We become focused on the giants in the land, we lose heart, and we end up walking by sight and not by faith. We pray small prayers when the Lord invites us to come to Him boldly to ask for whatever help we need, and we forget that His heart is to bless us exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or imagine (Heb. 4:16, Eph. 3:20).
How do we get out of this rut? Make it a priority to keep hearing His word of grace. That’s how faith comes (Rom. 10:17) and how we’re able to press on in faith even if we haven’t seen our breakthrough yet—and eventually possess every blessing that is our inheritance as believers!
Q: In your book, you talk about how we can let faith influence our feelings instead of the other way around. What do you mean by this?
A: One of our biggest struggles with faith is that we often get it confused with our feelings. Now, our feelings are subject to the ebb and flow of our daily experiences, so can you imagine what it would be like if our faith constantly followed the ups and downs of our feelings? On a great day, our faith would be high. But when we’ve messed up and are feeling lousy (and need faith the most), our faith would be at an all-time low or non-existent. This is not how the Lord wants us to live.
We need to understand that faith is not a feeling. Faith is a spiritual decision to believe in the Lord, His Word, and His finished work for us. It is sustained by an intimate relationship with the person of Jesus and by looking unto Him (Heb. 12:2). Faith is not a feeling, nor is it sustained by our feelings. So it’s okay to have feelings, but know that our faith doesn’t have to be affected by them. I share about this in depth in Give Me This Mountain.
I also show you from Scripture that when we learn to believe right about the Lord, our right believing produces the right feelings. In Psalm 56:11, the psalmist pens these powerful words about faith in the Lord: “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.” Can you see how choosing to trust the Lord results in fear being driven from our hearts? When we choose to turn our eyes to our Lord Jesus and declare His Word by faith, our emotions also become positively influenced, and we can win the battle against negative and defeatist thoughts.
Q: You say, “God doesn’t speak what He sees. He speaks what He wants to see.” Talk to us about this “language of faith” and how we can start speaking it in our daily lives.
A: I believe the Lord wants us to tangibly walk out the victory He has already won for us at the cross when we face the giants and mountains in our lives. And He has shown us a powerful way we can do this in Romans 4:17 which says: “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
Here the Lord is showing us His language of faith and how to exercise our blood-bought authority as believers. And since we are made in the image of God and His Spirit abides in us, as we learn to speak out His promises for us in the Word and not what we see in our circumstances, we will also experience the God-kind of results.
Essentially, there are two things the Lord wants us to get about the language of faith. First, faith is believing we already have what we ask for in prayer. Second, we are to speak and act as if it is already done.
In Mark 11:24, Jesus encouraged His disciples to respond to the promises in God’s Word by believing and speaking as if they had already received what those promises said they had. This is also what the Lord is encouraging us to do—speak and act as if it’s been done, as if we already have our miracle. When you start saying by faith, “I have it!” God says, “Yes, you do! And you shall have it!”
Q: How do we really possess and start walking in the unshakable faith that Caleb had?
A: The more you read Caleb’s story, the more you realize that it is less about Caleb and more about the God whom Caleb knew. The more we get to know our Lord Jesus, especially His heart of love and grace toward us, the more we will find great faith springing forth effortlessly. The Bible tells us that faith is energized through love (Gal. 5:6). So every time we catch a revelation of the Lord’s love for us, faith is the result. Our faith becomes galvanized.
In my book, I talk about how there are actually two special people in the Bible who followed Jesus from their youth till their old age—Caleb and the disciple John. What did they have in common? We can see from the things they said that they both knew in the deepest parts of their beings that the Lord loved them. That’s why even when everything around them seemed to be falling apart, they just believed and held onto His word. Their faith never failed because it was fueled by their personal revelation of Lord’s unfailing love for them.
Likewise, every time we see Jesus in His love and grace, He sees us in our faith. So if you want to grow in faith, take time every day to practice His presence and enjoy His love for you. See Him compassionately reaching out to you to show you His grace in every area of need. That’s when you’ll experience the same unstoppable faith that Caleb and John had.
Q: Difficulties in life can cause us to settle for less than God has promised us in His Word. Why is it important for us to recognize this and refuse to settle?
A: In Give Me This Mountain, I talk about having “pit-bull faith” when we’re going through tough seasons in life. What is pit-bull faith? It’s faith that doesn’t simply roll over and settle for anything less than possessing every good thing that our Lord Jesus died on the cross to give us.
Why is it not okay to settle? Because each time we settle for less, we actually end up with less while our confidence in a good God erodes a little bit more. And that is not okay. Now please understand we’re not talking about being greedy or materialistic. We’re talking about owning by faith what Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross already paid for us to have.
That’s why God wants us to have a pit-bull faith—especially when we’re confronted by contrary situations, when bad reports come streaming in, and when we don’t see our breakthroughs for a protracted period of time. Because the truth is, we have a God who is faithful to do all that He has promised in His Word (2 Tim. 2:13), a God who watches over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12). This is why you don’t have to settle and why we can have the perspective captured in 2 Corinthians 4:17 msg: “Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times”!
Q: In your book, you talk about “disappointment-proof faith.” Explain what this is and how we can protect ourselves walking in it.
A: What God wants for us is to grow in resilient, disappointment-proof faith. That’s the kind of faith that withstands and outlasts disappointments. How do we walk in disappointment-proof faith? By shifting our focus back to what really matters—the person of our Lord Jesus. We develop disappointment-proof faith by seeing more and more of Him in the scriptures, day by day.
The more we see Him and His finished work in the Word, the more we become anchored in His love, and we don’t become easily disappointed or shaken. When we don’t see what we want to, we have confidence He is still working behind the scenes, making all things turn out for our good (Rom. 8:28). We’re able to bring that area to the Lord, open our Bibles, and ask Him to show us more of Himself, His love for us, and how trustworthy, reliable, and true to His Word He is.
This is the faith the Lord was teaching and building in the two disciples He met on the road to Emmaus. This is the faith that pleases God—faith that believes He is a good God and a rewarder of those who seek Him and trust in His goodness (Heb. 11:6). And this is the faith that powers you to conquer every single one of your mountains!