Faith Factor 10 – Word of Faith

One of the more controversial aspects of modern faith teaching is the emphasis on words. Some Christians have come to the conclusion that if they speak the right things often enough they can create the result that they want. Others say that this is pure shamanism and New Age mysticism.

However, despite any distortions to the truth about our words, the Bible does make clear connection between our speech and our faith. So this look at the Word of Faith is an important Faith Factor.

Expressing Faith

We saw in previous Faith Factors that faith is supposed to be supported by evidence in the believer. Jesus told Jairus to “only believe” (Mark 5:36) when he heard that his daughter was dead. To keep on believing, Jairus allowed Jesus to continue the journey to his home, instead of giving up hope.

On that same journey a woman who had continuous bleeding expressed her faith by pressing through the crowd to touch Jesus’ garment. She was instantly healed (Mark 5:27-29).

Others let a man down through the roof, as testimony to their faith (Mark 2:1-12). In fact the Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11, lists the many things people did to express and confirm the faith they felt within.

One of those forms of expression is found in our words.

Confession

The link between words and faith is so significant that it gets a clear title of its own. It is called the “Word of Faith”.

“But what does it say? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” Romans 10:8

In Romans 10 we have several expressions which show that faith is linked to the words in our mouth.

“But the righteousness which is of faith speaks like this, Say not in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who will descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what does it say? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:6-10

Faith is linked to our Confession of what we believe in our heart. It involves words in our mouth. It is a word of faith.

Blab it and Grab It!

Some have come up with the idea that the power is in the words, so they can Blab it and Grab it. This is not what the Bible teaches. The word of faith is a message preached to us, which produces faith in our heart. That faith is not in our faith, nor in our words. That faith is clearly anchored in the person and the work of God. We believe that God is who He is and that He will reward us for diligently seeking Him (Hebrews 11:6).

When we speak with our lips we are simply giving expression to the faith in our heart which produces in us the confidence in the substance, becoming to us the very evidence of the things we hope for.

So the, just as praise and rest are expressions of our faith, so too our words are a further confirmation of what we believe in our heart.

Every Day in Every Way

A psychological trick which was popularised several decades ago involved the shamanistic process of speaking affirming words to ourselves so we can change our internal perceptions, and thus what springs from them.

Some people have confused these two concepts. The popularised mantra, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better”, was an attempt at mind over matter. It had nothing to do with faith in God and rather put the faith in the words spoken.

Some well-meaning Christians then began to talk about the “power of our words”, mixing Biblical truth with the popularised New Age ideas.

Christian expressions of faith have nothing to do with mantras or self-hypnosis. The power is not in the words, although they do become an integral part of the faith process. The words become one of the fruits or works of our faith, but they are not some faith trick, or spiritual power tool in our arsenal.

Mouth and Heart

Faith requires that the words of our mouth match the faith that is in our heart. The words do not control the heart, or manipulate our inner reality. The words of our mouth express what is in our heart. If you want to work on either one, then I strongly suggest you work on the heart.

God looks at the heart. The issues of life spring from our heart. When a person speaks nicely with their mouth, they can have ugly and hateful things in their heart. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. God gives us a new heart.

Words are the shallow lapping of water on the shore of our heart’s ocean depths. Don’t get fooled into worshipping your words. Get into the business of gaining a new heart and keeping your heart with all diligence.

Yet your heart and mouth are linked, as we have seen from Romans 10. Your mouth is meant to express the faith that is growing in your heart.

And you words do then have a powerful role.

Seal it with Your Lips

When you believe something in your heart, but keep it secret, you do not achieve the same seal upon your believing that you have once you have made public your secret heart beliefs. Therefore confession seals your faith and takes on a powerful quality in your salvation.

Jesus warned us that our confession of faith in Him will have awesome effects in the spirit realm.

“Whoever therefore will confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whoever will deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32,33

That is also why Romans teaches us that our confession seals our salvation.

“That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9,10

Confessing Victory

Along with being at Rest in the midst of your trials, and praising God for the victory that has not yet been seen, it is also totally fitting that you speak words of faith.

Declare the victory outcome you believe for. Put yourself on the line, by speaking out what is in your heart. You won’t be blabbing it and grabbing it, since you have already grabbed it in your heart. Your words simply seal your faith, rather than creating an outcome. Use your words as a powerful and fitting testimony to what is unseen in your heart.

Consistent with God

As you speak, be sure to speak consistently with God’s Word. The Greek word for this in the New Testament writings is homologia, meaning “the same speech”. We are to speak ‘as one’ with what God has said in His Word. Thus our language is ‘homologia’, the same speech as God’s speech.

This term is used about our faith professions, in the book of Hebrews. The picture created there is that Christ, as our Heavenly High Priest, takes our professions into God’s presence, to attest to our confidence in Him. Thus our words take on an important role in our faith program.

“Wherefore, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” Hebrews 3:1

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Hebrews 4:14

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” Hebrews 10:23

Declare Your Faith

Aware of the cautions I have given here, I urge you to make more use of your lips. I challenge you to declare, confess, testify to and express your faith and confidence in God, with your mouth.

Speak out what you are believing for, even if only among those who will support you, or even privately, to God, if you think there is no-one who will not mock you.

Let the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be acceptable in God’s sight, because they are charged with faith and are part of your whole lifestyle of confident expectation that God is the awesome God of creation and the Bible and that He is intimately and personally attentive to you and ready to powerfully reward you as you place your trust in Him and speak out your confidence to Him.

Building Faith or Sharing Doubts

Do your friends build your faith or pull you down with doubts? Since you desperately need ‘faith’ in your life, in order to please God, you are wise to protect yourself from those who will pull it down.

Let me remind you that faith is the thing the Bible says will “please” God. If you want to please God you must be a person of faith. Faith is not something reserved for the religious. It is vital for everyone who ever hopes to have God’s help or any kind of relationship with Him.

“Without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Sharing Doubts

Many years ago I heard a preacher tell of a conversation he had with a minister who was heading to a conference. The conference brought together theological people from many places, so they could “share their doubts” about the Bible with one another.

Such a gathering is preposterous. It celebrates the very antithesis of faith. And since Christianity is ‘faith’ based, there is no prize for promoting and propagating doubts. If the people around you pull down your faith then you need to shield yourself against that, not dive into it with gusto. It is no wonder that many men of the cloth (priests, ministers and theologians) have empty hearts and a vain religion. They do not value and protect their faith in God.

Building Faith

Faith is found in people in different measures. It is possible to have “great faith” (Matthew 8:10). We can be “weak in faith” (Romans 4:19). We can build up our faith (Jude 1:20). We can have “little faith” (Luke 12:28).

Faith can be built up as noted above in Jude 1:20. We are even told how to build up our faith. The two main instruments we have for encouraging our faith are the Word of God and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jude tells us to build up our faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit which we know as praying in tongues. Jude calls this “praying in the Holy Spirit”.

“But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 1:20

The other way to build up our faith is through hearing the preaching of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul points us to this means in his letter to the Romans, explaining that faith is produced by hearing the preaching of God’s Word.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

Build Up Your Faith

To encourage your faith make sure you listen to someone preaching a faith building message each week. You can do this much more easily than in previous generations, thanks to audio-recording. Listen to people who believe what the Bible teaches and who press in to see God’s power in their lives. Those people are seeking to live in faith, so they are likely to boost your faith in God.

Also make sure you associate with people who are moving in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and operating the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Your faith will be encouraged and your life impacted by the fresh experience of God in your life and among your friends.

Oh, and if someone invites you to a conference where everyone is going to share their doubts, don’t go!

The Wigton Martyrs

This is the day that …Margaret McLaughlin, aged 60, and Margaret Wilson, aged 16, were martyred for their faith, in 1685.

“Use the Prayer Book – or else!” Such was the substance of the new Act of Uniformity passed in May, 1662. As a result, persecution broke out with fury against all who refused to conform. In Scotland these dissenters were named “the Covenanters” – so called because they had signed a manifesto known as the “Solemn League and Covenant”. “They were outlawed, their worship forbidden, and all who were caught were executed. Even the use of torture was not unknown” (Valiant in Fight, by B. Atkinson, page 141).

Another historian comments: “These Scottish Protestants were hunted with bugles and blood-hounds like so many deer. Those who gathered secretly in glens and caves to worship God were hanged; or drowned without mercy” (The Church in History, by R. Kuiper, page 255).

Thus it was that these two women were tied to stakes at low tide at “Solway Firth in the waters of Blednoch”, and there left to drown as the tide rose, for refusing to renounce the Covenant (Songs About Heaven, by E. Emurian, page 22). As the waters came closer, young Margaret sang Psalm 25 and quoted Romans 8:35-39: “What shall separate us from the love of Christ … tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or distress, or persecution? Nay!”

History refers to them as the Wigton Martyrs, godly folk who, like Moses, “endured as seeing Him Who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). A memorial to these two faithful women may still be seen at Wigton today.

My Woman of Faith

Last week I wrote how dependent wives can find it easier to be a ‘woman of faith’ than their husbands do in being a man of faith. A dependent person must look to God to protect them against the weaknesses or vagaries of those who have responsibility or power over them. In Colossians 3:20 we learn that obedience in children involves ‘faith’, since it pleases God and only faith does that (see Hebrews 11:6).

When a wife, child or dependent person happily submits to the leadership of someone who could possibly disadvantage them, they are likely doing so because they really trust God to protect them and provide for them.  This predisposition to trust God is an advantage in prompting a wife to be a woman of faith. Often men struggle to trust God because they are more likely to correlate their own physical efforts with the income and provision that comes in.

Here are two examples that have come to mind from my life journey, where my wife, Susan, has been my woman of faith, while I have been a man of fear. On one occasion I had stepped out, as a young married man, attempting to start my own business. I had worked out exactly how much money we needed each week and we were right on the line. Then, just a few days later our landlord arrived to advise that he was putting the rent up nearly 50%. As I walked back into the house, after farewelling the landlord, my head was spinning with the news and the new challenge. I had no idea how we were going to make ends meet. Susan, met me at the door, fairly dancing on the spot. She was just SO excited. She praised the Lord and exulted in how exciting this was. I was stunned! How could she be so delighted when we had just received such bad news? Yet she was right. It turned out to be an exciting and wonderful time for us and we didn’t get swept away into bankruptcy. God was good and still is today.

On a later occasion I was at Bible College in New Zealand and had arrived with very little money in the bank. Susan and I had three children by then and the youngest, Matthew, needed new shoes because he was growing fast. Susan asked me several times for funds to buy new shoes and I kept putting her off. I was afraid to use up a large chunk of what little money we had. There was no visible source of further funds and this money was to keep us going for many months yet.

Finally, when I tried to duck the question yet again, Susan challenged me point-blank. “You don’t trust the Lord to provide, do you?” The surprise and rebuke in her tone humbled me, because she was right. She chided me that God would provide. We were in Bible College, learning to be ministering people, so we should be the first to trust God. Here I was in fear and holding tightly to the little that we had, rather than trusting God. Suitably challenged I decided to give some of the money away – as well as releasing funds for the shoes. In very short order we received a much larger gift from friends in Australia. God was good to us, but He needed my woman of faith to shake me out of my fear.

I am hardly qualified tell others to be men and women of faith, when I have been so prone to doubt. But allow me to encourage you, whether you are a dependent wife or child, or an income earning person. Please become a man or woman of faith. It’s the best way to live.

Woman of Faith

I was blessed this week by an email from one of my team sharing about her challenges as a wife. She prompted me to realise that women have a possible advantage when it comes to faith. To help you appreciate what I am perceiving let me share with you an observation out of my family teaching.

Children are required to obey their parents. The Bible reveals that this is an act of faith. Children are instructed in Colossians 3:20 to obey their parents. In the same sentence Paul points out that this is “well pleasing” to the Lord. “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” That doesn’t directly say anything about ‘faith’, except when you correlate that with Hebrews 11:6, which says that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. If children’s obedience is ‘well pleasing’ and only faith can ‘please’ God, then children’s obedience is an act of faith.

Faith kicks in when a child has to suppress their own idea of what is good for them, to comply with the requirements of their parents. Many a child has been afraid of missing out, being looked down on by others, or otherwise suffering because their parents make decisions which they would like to change. For a child to happily honour and obey his or her parents in the face of those challenges the child needs to be trusting that God has everything under control.

Similarly, everyone who is under authority must exercise that same kind of faith. This includes wives. So wives are often more in a position of conscious faith than their husbands might be. This is compounded for the men because men are more likely to be in the workforce seeing a direct correlation between their effort and their income. This can block their awareness of God’s provision, and prompt them to think of themselves as the ‘provider’. A wife who is reliant on her husband’s endeavours and the favours he bestows on her must turn to God and look to God’s grace to see her needs and wishes met. Herein is the seed-bed of the ‘woman of faith’.

A dependent wife should find it easier to be a woman of faith. It should be easy for her to take a faith posture. Note, however, that a grasping woman, who wrests control from her husband or who manipulates him to get her way, has missed the special faith posture which other women have. A grasping woman fails to be moving in faith and so fails to please God.

There are many examples of godly women who have been strong in faith, despite their vulnerability, while their husbands have found it hard to trust God. Even when a husband does well financially he can simply lift his expectations, and hoard what he has, rather than trusting God to bless him. This is not to say that all dependent wives are women of faith or that all working men are devoid of faith. But I do recognise that a woman of faith is a precious thing and that the limitation which some women struggle with is seen by others as an advantage – helping them stay reliant on God.

I’ve just remembered a time when I was the man of unbelief and needed my wife to prompt me out of my lack of faith. I will share that incident with you in a future post. I have been blessed over the years by having a woman of faith in my wife, Susan. I commend each woman, child and youth reading this to not resent their place of dependence but to see the advantage it offers them to be a person of faith.