Faith Factor 13 – Seek Him

This series has been building your faith and directing its effective operation, so you can enjoy the awesome things which God has prepared for you. I have shown you that faith is the very substance of things which you believe for, and that God has a storehouse of Grace, filled with unbelievably good things already prepared for you.

I have shown you that faith is the key to that wonderful storehouse and that you are to speak the word of faith to match what you believe in your heart, which is in line with God’s Word.

I have shown you that God is blessed when you step out in faith because your faith pleases Him. And, since it is God’s good pleasure to give you things, and your reaching out for them pleases Him, you can create Double Delight for the Lord by stepping out in faith.

The Focal Point

Where some faith preachers derail their followers is that they become so excited about what faith can achieve in a believer’s life that they fall into one of several traps. One distraction is to become excited about faith, for faith’s sake, putting faith on a pedestal and putting faith in their faith. I have spoken out against this several times already.

Another trap is that covetousness creeps in and the believers begin to think about what they can get out of God, through exercising their faith. This leads into the “prosperity gospel” and “blab it and grab it” mentality which has developed in some places.

Covetousness is an expression of self-focus, rather than focus on God. If you are concerned about what you can get for yourself, then you are not living your life sacrificially for God’s glory.

I need you to see again that God is the absolute and ultimate focal point of our faith. We are not to become distracted by faith or by what we can get by using faith. We are to remain totally committed to and devoted in service to God.

It’s About Seeking Him

Let me take you back to the definitional verse I use as the basis for this study series. It is Hebrews 11:6, from which we discover that faith pleases God and that faith is the combination of believing that God “can” and that God “will” bless us.

“But 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

Notice those words highlighted there. God is a rewarder of those who “seek Him”. Faith works when we are not seeing faith or the goodies faith can bring into our lives, but when we are seeking God!

Seek Him, or you will end up seeking the faith to get the outcomes you want. It’s about Him, not You!

It’s All About HIM

Do not seek the outcome which faith can open to you. Do not seek your own personal advancement or aggrandizement. Do not seek to finally prove yourself, get the things you have always wanted, set yourself up for life, or any other self-interested outcome.

Seek Him and Him only. Your “reward” is not found in the material outcome, but in Him.

While your heart might seek wealth, security and comfort, think about this. If you get some material advancement, but miss out on getting God, you have come up empty. The material advantage will slip away, and you will be left with nothing.

If you are seeking “Him” then you will have the most wonderful riches of all. You will be blessed with “all spiritual blessings” in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).

He is our life. He is the prize beyond all prizes and the treasure beyond all treasures.

Renounce that Covetousness

If God is not enough for you, then you will die miserable. If God is not a reward in your life, then how can mere material things satisfy you? Your heart is deceptive and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and it lies to you that material goods, relief from financial pressure, and similar outcomes are worth more to you than intimate relationship with God. Eve sought something more than her awesome place of personal fellowship with God, and she lost God’s presence, without getting anything of what she hoped to gain.

If you resonate with that, then realise that you have a covetous heart. You have allowed lust and covetousness to wheedle their way into your heart and they are now demanding something other than what God’s Spirit is longing for from within you.

Renounce that Covetousness and clean up your heart. Do not chase that which does not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2). Do you consume the years of your life chasing an illusion. Seek God. Find the treasure that is beyond any attempt to value it.

God is the Reward

God told Abraham that He, God, is a reward of immense proportions.

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1

Having God in your life is amazingly rewarding. He is the reward in Himself. If you had a life filled with vain distractions, indulgence and all that your heart could desire, there is no guarantee that you could even sleep at night. Many of those who have the things you are tempted to covet live in fear, torment, shame, emptiness and regret.

Material rewards do not have any of the rich value of spiritual blessings.

Lean Soul

Covetousness will create a famine on the inside of you. When you long for “things” you bring trouble upon yourself and your inner life shrivels up. The love of money is a root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). Those who are keen to become rich pierce themselves through with many pains (1Timothy 6:9).

“But they that will to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:9,10

When the Israelites longed for the things their soul craved, they demanded it from God. God gave them what they wanted, even though it was not good for them. The result was that the people’s soul’s shrivelled and became “lean”.

“They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:13-15

If you take faith as a spiritual tool you can use to get what you want you will be sending a famine into your soul. Seek God, or end up empty and filled with regret.

Distracted by Him

Rather than being distracted from your spiritual life because of things which you lust for, it is far better to be distracted by God from your material life. Seek God. If you do not have it in you to seek God, then seek to have the will to seek Him.

You could even pray a prayer like this, ….

“Lord God, I know I should be seeking you, but I can’t get excited about doing that. I want to value you above everything else, but I am distracted by things which my heart lusts after. I ask You to invade my life and arrest my senses. Bring me to the place where I long only for You and can find all my fulfilment and blessing in being totally distracted by You. Please come and rescue me from the weakness and failure of my own human heart. I ask this in Jesus’ wonderful and powerful name, Amen”.

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.

Authority and Speech

The link between authority and the right to speak is clearly stated for us in the Roman centurion’s encounter with Jesus (Matthew 8:6-13). In that encounter the centurion asked Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus immediately offered to go with the centurion to effect the healing.

The centurion’s responded by telling Jesus that all He had to do was speak the word: “speak the word only, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).

The centurion had great faith in Jesus’ ability to speak healing, rather than minister it by physical process, such as putting his hands on the sick person. The reason for this expectation is then given by the centurion, in a speech about authority and words.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.” Matthew 8:9

Under Authority

The centurion was a man “under authority”. This means he was in an authority hierarchy. People with greater authority than him (his commanding officers) conferred authority upon him. That enabled him, as a centurion, to have people “under” him. Those under him included soldiers and his servant.

Authority is not negotiated, but delegated. Authority is not given to us by those under us, but by those we are under.

Some people have strange ideas about authority. I have heard people explain that husbands only have authority when their wives willingly submit to them. This misguided idea probably represents a broader western misunderstanding of authority. In light of our highly autonomous and democratic society we do not properly understand the reality of authority. Authority is conferred. It is not a gift from our subordinates.

Husbands have authority from God. If the wife refuses to acknowledge it then the man does not lose his authority. God still holds the wife accountable for her rebellion against God’s will. She has not dissolved the authority, because it is outside her power. If the husband gives it up, he is held accountable by God for his rebellion against God’s will.

Commands

The centurion was under authority and so he was able to give commands. When he spoke the word that word was obeyed by those who were his subordinates. His soldiers came and went at his command and his servant did what he instructed.

The giving of commands was directly linked to authority. The centurion’s sentence included reference to his place in an authority hierarchy, and his ability to speak instructions which are obeyed.

Authority confers the ‘right to speak’ upon those who have it.

If a stranger arrived and tried to command the soldiers or the servant there would be no compliance. The soldiers and servant obeyed the centurion because of his rank, not because of his tone of voice, good looks, or winsome ways.

Faith in Christ

The centurion’s speech confirmed he was convinced Jesus was the Christ and had authority from God. The centurion did not believe that Christ was relying on some supernatural ability which was picked up accidentally, or owned by some fluke of nature. He believed that Jesus had His power because He was appointed by God, under God’s authority.

Therefore the centurion was confident that Jesus had the authority to speak to sickness and demonic work. Being in a place of authority gave Christ the right to speak and have His words obeyed, even by nature.

Jesus was amazed at this high level of faith, and He told the audience that this was remarkable. He then sent the centurion on his way, with the word of healing. The servant was healed that very hour.

Power Words

Do you have the ability to speak power words? Or are you ignored?

The way to give your words more power is to be under greater authority. The higher the authority you are under and the greater the delegated authority given you, the more power your words have. If your words are falling to the floor and are impotent, then your place under divine authority needs to be upgraded.

Moses went to Egypt’s Pharaoh with the power words, “Let my people go!” There was a tussle over the words and some protracted opposition and negotiation, but Moses’ words prevailed. They were power words.

Speaking in Faith

I recall a humorous testimony Virgil Johnson gave of his conversion. As he headed out to a night of indulgence his mother challenged him that she knew his plans and would pray to stop them. He denied her accusations, but she persisted that if he tried to drive his car across the bridge to the bad part of town he would not be able to make it. She would pray that his car not be able to get across.

He denied her accusations and dismissed her claims, then drove straight toward the bridge. As soon as his car pulled onto the bridge it broke down. Despite all his attempts to get it started he finally had to give up and get the car towed home.

When he walked back inside his mother told him she knew exactly what had happened, because she had prayed. She then grabbed him, and sat on him, while she and her sister prayed for him until he was gloriously saved.

Virgil’s mother spoke words of faith. She did so in the authority of her God. She did so as a spirit-filled child of God, moving in faith. She claimed a level of authority in her words, directly from God. And God honoured her words.

You don’t have to be a President to speak words of power. Being under God’s authority is greater than being under human leaders and constitutions.