[Home] [How to Measure Your Beliefs] [The Man-Made Church] [Misc]
[Home]>[How to Measure Your Beliefs]>[8. The Language of Kings]
This is the 8. chapter of
"How to Measure Your Beliefs."
by Frank L. Preuss
8.2 To Speak to Things
8.3 Jesus Speaks
8.4 My Personal Confession
8.5 Faith and Love
Agape - 1. Corinthians 13:4-8
Jesus is the king of kings and we are the kings. In the book of Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 it says: And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
We are kings and we have to learn to live like kings. The Bible is full of examples. King Jesus is our example in the New Testament. But also other personalities can be our example. There are many stories in the Old Testament about kings, especially about the kings of Judah and of Israel, and we can learn from them - what is good and what is bad. Whenever we read stories about kings in the Old Testament, we should not think: Why all these monarchical reports, why not more about the simple people. These "aristocratic" reports have a deeper meaning; they point to the "aristocratic" generation - the believers. We are these believers and we are kings and priests.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, we find God's fundamental guiding rules for kings. God says that the king must be chosen by him and he must be from among your own brothers. Kings are people chosen by God and they are our brothers - they are believers. It must not be a foreigner, because that is not a brother. An unbeliever can't be a king. An unbeliever can't be successful in life; at the end of his life, when his spirit leaves his body, he goes in the wrong direction.
The following verses advise that a king has to avoid everything that draws him back into the world. And the world is paraphrased as Egypt. These are the prerequisites to becoming a king.
The last three verses, Deuteronomy 17:18-20 describe the duties of a king who has taken the throne. We could think of many things a king or a head of government should do and which are important. But God has the following commands for a king: He is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of the Bible. It is to be with him. He is to read it all the days of his life.
We as kings have to organize a Bible and keep it at hand and have to read it for the rest of our lives.
And then the reasons are given: To learn to revere the Lord his God. To follow carefully God's word. Not to consider himself better than his brothers. Not to turn from the word of God. That he and his descendants will reign a long time.
And the king's descendants are the ones he leads to a believing life.
In the last book of the Bible, where we are called kings and priests, we find ourselves again in the same position we were in when God created us: God created us to rule. In the first as well as in the last book of the Bible it is pointed out why we are on this earth: to rule as kings and priests. And our ruling will only then be successful when we do it under the authority of the king of kings - when we do exactly what our king tells us.
The way to success is simple for a believer. All the days of his life, he reads the Bible and he maintains the right motivation.
And don't forget: the Bible is an ongoing thing. God did not die 2000 years ago and did not stop 2000 years ago to speak to his people. There are plenty of newer books available and many of them were written in current English. So there are holy writings that do not even have to get translated or have to be updated to today's English. Let not the religionists keep you away from what God has to say today to you.
We want to have a look at a woman who acts like a queen and who later becomes the wife of a king, of King David. We find the story in 1 Samuel 25.
Abigail is the wife of Nabal. Nabal is a property owner and very wealthy. He is such a wicked man, that no one can talk to him. While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. He sent ten men and asks for whatever Nabal can find for them. Nabal reacts negatively and indicates that David is a servant that ran away from his master. When David hears of this he takes 400 men with swords and is on his way to Nabal.
One of the servants tells Nabal's wife Abigail about this. She is an intelligent and beautiful woman. She loses no time. Her faith goal is to prevent a disaster striking her family and her employees. She takes donkeys, loads them with food and goes to meet David.
When Abigail sees David, she quickly gets off her donkey and bows down before David with her face to the ground. She falls at his feet and speaks to him. She speaks like a queen, and David listens to her. It is worthwhile to read this speech. Her wisdom is distinct. David probably receives the best advice ever given to him.
He should have ignored the whole thing; he was acting in anger. A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16). He knew he would become king of Israel; such an attack upon his future subjects would have been detrimental for his political future. But what was more important was that his relationship with God would have suffered.
One sentence stands out (1 Samuel 25:26): Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand. This is the highlight of her speech, where she talks about her faith goal: the prevention of bloodshed.
It is surprising that she does not put her faith goal in the form of a prayer or of a request. She formulates a confession. She talks as if the disaster is already prevented. She kneels in front of this mighty man of war who is just too eager to shed blood. In full view of the potential military attack, Abigail confesses the opposite of the war objective.
She talks as if the attack has already been prevented. Her trust is in the Lord, she says that the Lord has kept David from bloodshed and from avenging himself.
This woman speaks of non-existent things, as if they already existed, she calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). She speaks like a queen. She speaks words of faith. And David understands this language. With this language, he spoke to Goliath.
Abigail is successful. David starts praising God and the wisdom of this woman. He blesses her. He accepts her gifts.
Abigail saved the life of every male belonging to Nabal, and she saved David from getting out of fellowship with God. During this time Nabal is holding a banquet like that of a king and gets very drunk. The next morning Abigail tells him what happened and Nabal's heart fails; he becomes like a stone and dies about ten days later.
Abigail becomes David's wife, and is therefore later the wife of a king. Abigail is a woman of faith; she speaks the language of kings.
Jesus says, we can speak to mountains: "Move from here to there;" and to mulberry trees: "Be uprooted and planted in the sea". And we know from Jesus that he spoke to the fig tree and to the waves. Jesus spoke to the fever; he rebuked it.
In Joshua 10:12-14, we find this report of Joshua speaking to the sun and to the moon.
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
Joshua spoke and the earth stopped rotating. We should not be surprised that God can stop the rotation of the earth. It was he who made the sun, a heavenly object more than a hundred times bigger in diameter than the earth. And he made the solar system and the Milky Way and all the other galaxies, all very much bigger than the earth. Why should he not be able to keep such a little grain from turning?
We, as believers, can influence this world by speaking words. It is a supernatural way, because we are operating in the spiritual realm. We can cause interruptions to processes and situations. The Lord listened to men like Joshua and interrupted the uniformity of the solar system. Joshua was in harmony with God. The Lord listened to the voice of a man; the Lord fought. The earth stopped rotating.
One man spoke, but this man did not have any power, it was God's power. This man of God acted on behalf of the creator and this almighty God let what his servant said come to pass. When we are in the will of God, we also speak to things and it happens.
In the New Testament, in the book of Acts, we find how Peter spoke to the crippled beggar (Ac 3:6) and to a paralytic in Lydda (Ac 9:34). Both were healed. And he spoke to a dead woman (Ac 9:40) and she came back to life. Paul spoke to the crippled man in Lystra (Ac 14:10) and he jumped up and began to walk. And Paul spoke to an evil spirit (Ac 16:18) and the spirit left the woman. In all these cases, Peter and Paul spoke to things; they did not pray to God, but they spoke to people and to spirits. They also prayed, but the actual solution was achieved by speaking to things. These people from the Bible are our examples.
God has provided various means for us to bring healing to the sick: laying on of hands, the prayer of the elders of the church, anointing with oil, the gifts of healing, the ability to drive out demons and so on. But one method is always possible - to speak a word. We can also give other names to this method:
The prayer of intercession.
To confess God's word over something.
To exercise authority over something.
To speak with authority.
To tell an evil spirit to leave.
The prayer of faith.
To let God's word work through our mouth.
To bind and to loose.
To speak to things.
This method does not depend on time, place and circumstances. We can use it wherever we are. When I drive in my car and I see an ambulance in action, then I can speak God's word into this situation, even without knowing the circumstances now or ever.
When I receive a letter from the other side of the world, and I read something about a sick person, I can speak salvation, healing and a blessing over that person.
And this method applies to all areas of life. When I walk in the street and I see a needy person, I can speak peace, prosperity and success over him. When I see the field and the livestock of a farmer, I can speak a blessing on his barns and on everything he puts his hand to. When I think of my friend who runs a business, I can speak abundant prosperity over his coming in and over his going out.
When I am in the desert and I want to go home but the car does not start, I speak to this thing, to this machine, to this mechanism and tell it to function.
We speak in faith, we use our authority and we do it in the name of Jesus. And we can be sure of the result.
Whatever we do and whatever we say, we act in the name of Jesus. This is our testimony that we are part of his organism. This membership is fully acknowledged in the spiritual world, by God and his angels and by the devil and his helpers.
Whatever we do, we do it in faith. We speak to the devil in faith (1 Peter 5:9), we resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith. And we build ourselves up in our faith (Jude 20), but ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Faith causes us to be victorious (1 John 5:4-5), for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? We know that our victory does not depend on time; we must be patient (James 1:3-4), because knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. This wanting nothing is another expression that includes everything: it is not lacking in anything. It is comprehensive; with faith and perseverance we will lack nothing. This includes peace and rest (Hebrews 4:2-3), but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest.
We know that we have to mix faith with the word we hear. Hearing and believing, speaking and believing, belong together. Because we believe we have rest. Unrest and fear are signs of unbelief. Fear is the opposite of faith; it is faith in the devil. And all those promises in the Bible are for us who believe (Hebrews 6:12), that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. These promises were for Jesus and the first Christians and we imitate them. With faith and patience, we will make all promises our own. We imitate the above mentioned examples. And our first example is Jesus, who is the author and perfector of our faith; on him we fix our eyes (Hebrews 12:2); him we imitate. We study Jesus, how he lived, how he acted, how he spoke, how he asked. Jesus always asked in a way that people had to answer positively. A question like (Matthew 9:28): Believe ye that I am able to do this? can almost only be answered in a positive manner. Jesus guides people to first make a positive statement: "Yes, Lord" and then faith will simply follow, even if it was previously absent.
Often people say: "Jesus is my Lord. God raised him from the dead" and only after this confession, their faith comes. When they hear these words coming out of their own mouth; hear them with their own ears, then faith comes, even if they still had their doubts a moment before.
With his questions Jesus invites answers of faith. He does not want to hear our problems, he wants our reply to contain the solution; we should confess the solution. What will ye that I shall do unto you? (Matthew 20:32). What would ye that I should do for you? (Mark 10:36). What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? (Mark 10:51). What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? (Luke 18:41). Four times, the Bible records Jesus' question; it seems to be his normal and commonly used way of asking. So let us learn from the master and let us never ask: "What is wrong with you?" or "What is your problem?"
Our question should be: "What do you want God to do for you?" or "What do you want from God?" or "What is it you want?" (Matthew 20:21) or even more simply: "What do you want?" (John 1:38). People who come to us, know that we minister in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and that they thus come to a servant of God.
But it is not necessary that people come to us; we can go to them. Jesus did. In John 5:1-15, we find the report of the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus went to him and asked in his own typical manner (John 5:6), wilt thou be made whole? This again is a question one can only answer in a positive manner. But the reply was quite different (John 5:7), Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. This man confessed his problem and his failures. But Jesus' authority did not depend on the faith of this man. If this man had faith, it could have been used for his healing and he would have grown faster in his faith. It is important to have faith and to let it grow, because in 1 Timothy 6:11 Paul says, but you, man of God, pursue faith. And in John 11:15 Jesus says, that you may believe.
But God's grace, love and ability is above our lack of faith; he can reveal his love to us even when we have no faith. This man got healed, not because he believed, but because Jesus spoke healing into him (John 5:8-9): Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked. This healing at the pool of Bethesda shows us that we can also speak healing into people who have no faith or little faith themselves. It should encourage us to keep on speaking words of life into other people.
The sequence of events is quite interesting: First the man got healed and afterwards he acted. He only believed in his healing after he was healed, then he took his bed and walked. Had there been faith on his side, John probably would have first recorded the reaction of the man and then the healing.
But from the description used here, we can conclude that the man did not believe the words of Jesus; he did not believe that he was healed when the word was spoken. Only after he realized that he was healed; after the supernatural had happened and after he had verified it, did he believe. And then he reacted by picking up his bed and walking. He first got healed and then he picked up his mat and walked. The sequence is just the other way round as it was with the 10 lepers who first started to go to the priests and then - after they had started to walk - got healed. Their own faith had made them well (Luke 17:19). But this man at the pool of Bethesda was made well by the faith of Jesus - not by his own faith.
He was on faith level "little faith". But the information given in John 5:3-4, that the healings in the water of the pool were caused by an angel of the Lord, infers that this man did one thing that expressed his faith: He called on the name of the Lord. His presence at the pool and his waiting for God's angel testify that he called on the Lord.
One thing God can't resist. When we cry out to the Lord in our trouble then he delivers us from our distress (Psalm 107: 6, 13, 19 and 28).
The wording of our questions is relevant. It reveals our level of faith to us and to others. If we meet somebody and it is obvious that this person has a physical problem, let us say a plaster cast or a wound in the face, we should be careful how we formulate our question, or consider whether we should ask a question at all, and consequently react to sickness - to the work of darkness - and confess and accept it. This is a good occasion to practice the vocabulary of silence.
The wording of our questions has to be "faithful" - full of faith - and we have to decide if we really have to ask or if it might be better to keep silent.
The same applies to answers. In both cases, we have to listen to our inner voice. In 1 Timothy 1:19, Paul says, Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.
We have to listen to our conscience; we have to consider every question and every answer. Proverbs 15:28 says, the heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. Jesus weighed his answers or he did not answer at all. Jesus was always sovereign in his speech, he is always king. Sometimes we answer too quickly, because we want to be nice; we want to show that we are interested in the flow of the conversation; we consider the time of the other person as valuable; we don't want to let the other person wait for an answer. We are taken captive by the pace and the stress of the world and we conform to it. Sometimes we answer immediately, because we don't want to give the impression that we perhaps don't know the answer, that we have to think first or that we are at a loss for an answer. Sometimes we want to impress the questioner or we want to prevent him from asking further questions by giving an immediate and precise reply, which actually requires some thought and therefore is not precise.
Jesus very often quotes passages from the Old Testament. When he speaks to the devil, he only uses Scripture. He emphasised them by saying beforehand, "It is written". He tells the devil that it is a verse out of the Bible. So when we want to use a sharp and effective sword, we can only take the genuine one, the word of God. And that is why we should have a word available for every important happening in life. We have to select such words, memorize them and speak them out. We should always have the right answer ready for the devil.
Sometimes Jesus uses an interesting way of answering: he replies with a question. If someone asks him a question, he takes the liberty of having the same right; of also asking a question. We find this in Mark 11:27-33, right after our most important faith principle - Mark 11:23. The questioners are the leaders of the Jews, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders. These highest office bearers wanted to know the origin of his authority and Jesus knew that there was no point in explaining it to them, because they didn't believe. They came with hostile intentions and Jesus proves it to them by asking them where John the Baptist's authority came from. Their answer was: "We don't know." With this, they proved that they didn't know God and did not recognize one of his prophets. And the best proof, of course, was that God himself, in human form, stood in front of them and they didn't recognize him. They did not know God. Jesus said to them: "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things." When Jesus heard the question of the Jewish leaders he knew that they had made up their minds already and that they wanted to get a statement out of him with which they could accuse him of blasphemy. In spite of it, Jesus guided them in the right direction; he spoke of the authority of John the Baptist. He did not deviate from the principle of their question, but he diverted their attention to another person; to a person that is not controversial. In Mark 11:32, it is stated that everyone held that John really was a prophet and with their answer "We don't know" they testified that they were not included in "everyone"; they did not believe what all Israel believed. It proved to Jesus that they would not believe in his authority either.
Jesus' method was to divert from the controversial case, and to take up a case that is not controversial, but the same in principle. Many Christians today use this method when they explain a contemporary problem by referring to a story in the Bible.
Jesus compels people to think; he directs them towards the principle. And Jesus shows people what and how they really are. He has a way to let people know how he sees them. He encourages the god-fearing, commends on their faith and helps them to gain more faith. Again and again he says to them: "Don't be afraid; just believe." Stop fearing, start believing. As long as you entertain fear you can't believe. Fear is the opposite of faith. Jesus teaches them, heals them and delivers them. He encourages them.
And Jesus holds up a mirror to the ungodly. Jesus tells the Jewish leaders the parable of the wicked tenants in the vineyard (Mark 12:1-12). Their reaction is described in Mark 12:12, and they sought to lay hold of him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
In every encounter with Jesus, he seems to cause people to recognise themselves. After he has achieved this, he shows them the right way. But the decision to follow his advice, he leaves to the people. We are always free to choose. We can say: "But as for me and my house-hold, we will serve the Lord." Or we can leave it.
Our lives as Christians should follow Jesus' example. In our contact with people, our behaviour and our speaking should cause other people to recognise themselves and should give them a light that shows them the way.
In his speaking, Jesus seems to avoid talking about present circumstances; he does not confess momentary conditions. In spite of him being in permanent contact with sicknesses, he does not talk about his work. He never talks the problem, he speaks the solution into being. Jesus makes an exception when there is something more important involved, when he wants to explain an underlying principle. We want to go back to the raising of Lazarus (John 11:14-15): Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe. The disciples did not understand Jesus' confession of faith; of his faith goal, that "Lazarus has fallen asleep," so he explains to them the situation, he tells them plainly what the problem is. But he immediately adds the solution to the disciples' problem, the increase of their faith when they will be witnessing Lazarus' resurrection. Jesus was glad that he was not there when Lazarus was sick and died. To raise Lazarus after he had been dead for four days would bring faith to many and it is for God's glory so that God's son may be glorified through it.
So we must feel free to speak the problem when something more important is to be done. When we want to explain a faith principle because someone asks us why we are doing things the way we are doing them, then we can explain to them exactly what the situation is. We then do not deviate from or give up our faith goal because we will still add it to our explanation. Our faith, which is in our heart, does not change for that reason.
We often speak about momentary conditions; confess situations we experience. But if we think about it we actually can't find reasons for such talk. It might stem from us wanting to be social, wanting to be approachable, make contact easily, create a relaxed atmosphere. These statements are purposeless and dangerous when they are negative. Then they consolidate a problem, they do not bring the required solution.
Also when our words are actually not true, can they lead to this untruth. These are some examples: I was tickled to death. This noise is disturbing. My son is always lying. My husband is not a Christian. I suffer from the heat. They still haven't sent the money.
Often things become a problem only after we have confessed it. If for example, a group of people are standing together talking and one person makes a remark regarding the noise it becomes a problem only then. Before the remark was made, hardly anybody noticed the disturbance.
We must not forget that our normal daily speaking cannot be separated from our speaking when we pray. Jesus spoke correctly. His words never contradicted the word of God. He spoke the desired result, not present circumstances. He said what God said.
Jesus said what God said. We follow him and say what the Bible says. We use the same sharp, effective sword - the word of God. For some key situations in life, we should therefore have this sword available. We should search for verses in the Bible, write them down, commit them to memory and store them in our armoury. This weapon will then be available at the right moment and the more we use it in combat, the more confident we will become. When we pray and speak out these verses, we use the word that originally comes from God. With this, we show that we fight on his side, that we have the same aim and speak as one person. Then we are strong, because God makes us strong, because with him we are strong, without him we can't do anything.
We want to write down some verses for some main subjects of a believer's life. It is always good to confess one's salvation and we therefore want to place this confession in front of our examples.
Jesus is Lord
I am saved, because I confess with my mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and I believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
Generally it is always good to make this confession, but it also helps when the devil tries to let us doubt our salvation. To know this verse by heart is indispensable when we want to introduce somebody to Jesus and invite him to become a believer - to make his peace with God. Jesus safes us when our spirit leaves our body so that we don't end up at the wrong place. But this salvation is comprehensive. It applies to all situations in daily life. Jesus wants - and can - safe us out of all these situations. It is therefore a good thing to say at the smallest problem, "Jesus saves" or "Jesus is Lord," because he is Lord over every situation. He shall save us out of everything.
Also when we counsel somebody who doubts whether he is a believer, it is good to point out that to become a believer is to make a decision and that this does not necessarily have something to do with feelings. One simply calls to mind the decision one once made and repeats the word that one gave oneself and gave God.
Jesus accomplished our salvation when he went to the cross, but he also obtained our health. His salvation was complete; it included eternal life and a victorious life here on earth. Health and financial prosperity are explicitly included. Our confession for health is therefore:
By Jesus' wounds I have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).
This is a direct reference to what Jesus did on the cross for me. He caused my health. And he caused my financial prosperity. In the eighth chapter of 2 Corinthians Paul writes about financial matters and in verse 9 he says: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Jesus was poor when he went to the cross, he did not have money and all his personal belongings had been taken away. Before he was arrested, he was financially rich, because many gave money and other things to his ministry and Jesus even had a financial administrator who was often told to give money to the poor. Jesus himself could not have been poor, if he was able to help others and give money.
It is good to have money. But it is bad to love money. In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and that some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. This is actually a faith principle: eagerness for money causes us to wander from faith. We should let God make us prosperous, but we should not become eager for money.
Only if we ourselves have money, can we give to others. Our third confession is therefore prosperity.
But my God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
God will give me everything I need, not only money. I will therefore be blessed with everything, with material goods, with mental prosperity and with spirituality.
We always have to be victorious as Christians. There are only two possibilities in every conflict. Either I have victory: I overcome because I have God on my side and I work together with God or the devil has the victory because I am not resisting him but agreeing with him.
We do not fight in this physical world, but in the spiritual realm. Our battlefield is our mind and our enemies are the desires of the flesh - the desires that oppose our spiritual aims - and the forces of darkness, the devil, who gives us negative thoughts, and the world and its influences. We resist this pull of forces. It is the flesh, the devil and the world which influence toward darkness. Our aim is therefore to be victorious over these influences.
In all these things I am more than a conqueror through him that loved me (Romans 8:37). Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
My strength to obtain victory comes from Jesus. He defeated the devil and I just have to remember this victory and appropriate it, then I am more than a conqueror. Jesus was the conqueror and I am more, because I don't have to do the actual work - Jesus did that on the cross - I just have to accept it and to make use of it. I have part in the victory without me fighting with flesh and blood. I have the easier part in the victory and this easier part we also call the good news.
And this conqueror is in me, Jesus is in my heart and he is greater than the devil, who is in the world. I and God are the majority, nobody can beat us, we are always victorious.
One subject many Christians seem to find difficulty with is guidance through the Holy Spirit. How am I guided? How do I know that the Holy Ghost is guiding me? How are decisions made in the life of a Christian? We already dealt with the subject of how to be led by our own spirit. Here we want to consider just one aspect, probably the most important one. Guidance is a matter of faith and everything we considered in the past passages is relevant. The simple rule is: we stop praying for guidance and believe that he guides us. We believe that he answered our prayer and confess that God guides us.
And when we come to a point in our walk where we have two or more possibilities and we can't see any difference and our heart has no preference for one possibility, then we make a decision. To act is sometimes more important than to wait in unbelief. When the time is ripe we decide. And common sense also comes from God. We simply know that our mind is guided by Christ and that is why we confess:
But I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Our last item shall be praise. We are strong when we praise and glorify God; we are in the right frame of mind and the devil can hardly get at us. The joy of the Lord makes us strong. As long as we have a positive and joyful attitude, the devil can't steal from us; he can't get the upper hand; he can't make us depressed. When we are praising God, the devil knows that we haven't given up, even if our circumstances don't look so praiseworthy.
We must never admit defeat. The reason why many people are defeated is because they accept it; they actually give up their faith. They don't believe that they will reach their faith goal any more. And often they were already very close to their aim and then they allowed the devil to deceive them.
In 2 Corinthians 2:14, Paul tells us that God always causes us to triumph in Christ. We should never lose. And praise is the standard we put up as a sign that we have not given up. Our last form of confession is praise to God.
Praise and glory
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).
One reason why praise is so important is that praise is letting our faith grow strong. Paul says in Romans 4:20, he was strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Everybody hearing me praising God can measure my faith, including the devil, and he then knows that my faith level is high. He will avoid getting a beating and will stay away from me. Let us praise God and grow in faith.
When we give glory to God, we praise him, we use our mouth, we confess and we speak or sing. And here we return to the connection between believing and speaking. Correct speaking increases our faith, because the speaking is followed by the manifestation of the spoken words. And the principle of this faith growth is described in Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And this principle is fulfilled in Romans 4:20 as well, because when we give praise and glory to God we hear. But we also give praise and glory to God when we speak his word. Everything in our lives that gives glory to God lets our faith grow.
It is recommended to set up a confession sheet for each of these six themes and call it "My Personalised Profession". We should then start collecting passages of the Bible for each of these six themes. We should write these Scriptures down on our sheets and we should do it in a personal form; we should write "I" or "me" or even our name. We can also put another person's name there and pray a prayer of intercession. It is a powerful way of praying to read these confession sheets out loud. The more we do it, the better we will understand the words and their meanings; we accept them and they will sink into our hearts. Only when we believe these words, will they take effect because Hebrews 4:2 says, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. If we hear ourselves talking but we don't believe the words we hear, then they are of no value to us.
If we have a problem in one of these six areas; let us say we seem to get sick or we are sick, then we should concentrate on our Scriptures which we called "Health". Perhaps we should read them daily and search for more Bible verses. Often we might find something that fits the situation very well. There are many passages in the Bible regarding health and healing and one can quite easily fill a couple of pages.
Prosperity is a subject with which we can fill many pages. The reason is that this subject does not only include finances, but actually covers all our physical needs, including health. It is the main aim of God that we are well. The whole Bible seems to be centred round this theme. God again and again tells us what we have to do and what we are not supposed to do. He will bless us when we do what he says, and the results of rebellion against God's word are also clear; the Bible lists many. And all these blessings of the Old Testament are ours because the Bible says in Galatians 3:9, those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.
We already mentioned that our confessions are of little use if we say the opposite in between our confessions. This is doubt and is described in Hebrews 10:38-39, now the just shall live by faith: but if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. The point is that we are saved; that we are saved out of every situation we might encounter. It is a matter of life and death because the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21).
Let us take an example. Mrs. A says to Mrs. B, "I can't stay away from home so often and go to meetings. As you know, my husband is not a believer." To this Mrs. B replies, "But you have prayed for your husband already, you should always confess that he is a believer." The answer from Mrs. A comes immediately, "Oh yes, I do that every day and I thank God that my husband is saved." Mrs. A has prayed for her husband and afterwards she confesses that her husband has made peace with God. But all this is of no avail if Mrs. A says the opposite in between; if she says, "As you know my husband is not a believer." The easiest way to talk unbelief is when we are amongst our Christian friends and speak in confidence.
What also helps in talking unbelief is to always talk about present circumstances. Mrs. A shrinks back, she doubts and God is not pleased with her. She shrinks back and is destroying her own faith goal.
The vocabulary of silence is also more important than confessing. The main thing is of course faith, which we have in our hearts. All our confessions don't help if we do not have faith. Some people confess a scripture and then look expectantly at the other person. They expect a reaction. Sometimes there is also a questioning undertone in their manner of speaking. When they sense a positive reaction in the other person, they are pleased. They try this confession business and they try this certain verse out of the Bible and are glad that they meet up with our approval. But they don't actually have faith. If they had faith, they would not try to get other people's support. If they had faith, they would make that confession to help another person or to proclaim God's word. If they had faith, they would know that their faith does not depend on an additional confession. It is not a sign of strong faith if somebody confesses a Scripture again and again. It can rather be a sign of unbelief. Our faith does not depend on the number of our confessions.
When we consider the Shunammite once again, we detect that the Bible does not report that she confessed that her son would be raised from the dead. Her strength was her faith and her mastery of the vocabulary of silence. She probably relied on the word of Elisha from 2 Kings 4:16: "About this season, according to the time of life," Elisha said, "thou shalt embrace a son." She had the word of the man of God and that was good enough for her. She had a son and she wanted to keep him; that he had died could be undone. She actually made a positive statement only once and that was when she answered Gehazi and said that everything is all right. Her faith was the important matter, not her confessions. We have admired the Shunammite for her ability to keep quiet, but she had a second outstanding virtue: She knew to whom to confess and what to confess. Sometimes it is good to address a strong confession to persons in order to strengthen their faith; to let them take part in what God is doing or to simply plant the word of God into their hearts. But the Shunammite was in a precarious situation. It was important for her to concentrate on one thing and to keep her eyes strictly upon her faith goal and to pursue it. She only spoke to Elisha about her aim. She did not say one word about her faith goal to the other three people she made contact with: to her husband, to her servant, and to Gehazi. But of course, more important, is the fact that she never confessed the problem. Even to Elisha she only said the necessary words. It was important in her situation and correct to only share her faith goal with a believing person. If she had shared her faith goal with one of the three other people, she would have risked that words of unbelief and doubt were uttered. They might have expressed astonishment at such audacity; to want to raise the dead. Such reactions would not have helped her faith and would have been a stumbling-block. She spoke words of faith only to the man of God. And so it is often in our lives, we should confess our faith goal only to people who are strong believers, who have proved strong faith. And when we want to remain in a very restricted circle there will be only three persons left and they are God, the devil and we ourselves. God is pleased when we act in faith (Hebrews 11:6): But without faith it is impossible to please God. It is he who causes the manifestations of our faith goal. When we speak faith, God's angels get active and produce our wish. The devil only reacts when we oppose him - in faith (1 Peter 5:9): "Resist him, standing firm in faith." And in James 4:7 we find what happens: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. When we speak our confession of faith - our creed - the following happens: God and his angels hear it and the angels come and serve us; they do what we say: confess. The devil and his evil spirits leave us, they hear our words and run away. We ourselves hear our own words and then we see what the angels have organized - see the manifestation - and our faith has grown. We have fought and won. In Matthew 4:11, we find what happened after the fight between Jesus and the devil: "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." This was the result of the confessions Jesus made, the devil fled and the angels came. The angels came and attended to him. The most important people to whom we confess our faith goal are therefore God, the devil and we ourselves.
Sometimes it is inappropriate to pray at all - it is advisable not to make any confessions. A situation might arise where it is necessary to first find out what the matter is. Then we should ask God to show us what we have to do and what kind of situation it is. In the seventh chapter of Joshua, we find how Joshua tears his clothes and falls facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. His prayer is full of accusations and complaints against God and perplexity. And God tells him to get up. Then God explains to him why the problem arose and what action has to be taken. The following is stated in 1 John 5:14: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. When we are not sure that our prayer - our confession - agrees with God's will, we have to do some investigating. We have to examine the Bible and see what it says there regarding our situation, or we have to ask God to give us wisdom; to guide us and to let us know his will. We have to always maintain our contact with God, we must know his will and sometimes we have to ask him directly.
Our personal confession must always agree with God's will.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:3 we read, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth." Paul speaks here of growth of faith and of the increase of love simultaneously. It appears as if both activities - faith and love - belong together, as if the one can't increase without the other. From 1 Corinthians 13:2, we already know that if we have a faith that can move mountains, but have no love, we are nothing. And in the following example, we will see that we actually can't love a person if we don't know how to believe.
Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. If I have an enemy, I have to love him. To begin with, we have to see that to love a person is not the same as to trust a person; they are two different activities. I have to love everybody, but I don't have to trust them. God makes a clear distinction between the two. We have to love God and we have to love men - our neighbours. But then God says that we have to trust him and that we are not to trust in man. God even goes so far as to curse us if we trust in man (Jeremiah 17:5): Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart departeth from the Lord. God also gives a reason for it: trusting in men is turning away from God. Another reason is given in Psalm 146:3-6: We can't trust in men, because they are mortal: they cannot save and when their spirit departs, they return to the ground and on that very day their plans come to nothing.
But we have to love all people, even our enemies. How do we love our enemy? I decide to be a doer of God's word and to love all enemies. It is a decision. When I am dealing with an enemy of mine, and everything in me wants to hate and to fight, then I recall my decision to love him. I remember the decision I made; the word I gave God, to obey him; to love my enemies and I keep my word and I keep my faith. If I would hate him, I would be breaking my word and I would be acting in unbelief. To love is a decision and to adhere to this decision is a matter of faith. I can therefore only really love if I know how faith works and how to apply it. And if I have difficulties in adhering to my decision, I fight in my mind. I reject all thoughts of hate; I take these thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. A good way to do this is to pray for the enemy. I then don't necessarily have any feelings for my enemy, but I do something that helps him - I love him. If I really want to love somebody, I have to do it in faith and if I really want to believe, I have to do it in love. In Galatians 5:6, Paul says, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. My faith always has to act in love, even when I deal with my enemy. I have to love my enemy and I have to love my brother. In Romans 14:1 we read, accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. This is a clear rule for people on the lower level of faith. We have to accept these people and we must not argue with them over things we know, but which they are still trying to learn. When we deal with a person that is weak in faith, we can no doubt measure their faith, but after we have done this, we have to be careful. We know that Jesus always announced the result of his measurements, but he walked in perfect love. He did it in the right attitude. Whether we can do the same thing, we have to decide for ourselves.
In all matters of faith, we have to take responsibility. And when we give counsel to a man it must be understood by him that in matters of faith, the responsibility of how far he wants to go with his faith depends completely on him. We have to advise a person that is sick to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 16:12). But we never say to a person: "When you are sick, don't go to the doctor, go to God, he will heal you." That would be wrong. Only that person can make such a decision and is responsible for it. In Romans 12:3, Paul admonishes: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." When we deal with people that are weak in faith, we can only do it in love. The degree of our love we can measure against the word of God. The definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is probably the best for this purpose.
Charity suffereth long,
and is kind;
charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up,
doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth;
beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
Charity never faileth.
This list can also be used as a confession sheet; we can also confess it over other people. Our faith will greatly depend on our level of love, and this table is useful when we want to scrutinize our degree of love.
To make it easier for us to walk in love permanently we should practise the presence of God. God is love and when we think about him then we think about love. When we practise the presence of God then we think of him and of his word.
In the beginning, we mentioned the importance of faith and that without knowing how to believe, we can't pray correctly, we can't love a person as we should, we can't forgive, we don't know how to be led by the spirit, how to live healthy, how to prosper and how to talk properly. Then we have seen that believing and speaking go together and that we can't separate the words we speak in prayer from the words we use in daily life. We have to apply faith in all things we do. We have to keep to the directions we receive from God when we speak as well when we think. During our whole life, we have to be led by the Holy Spirit. Our connection with God is a continuous process. When we define this continuous conversation with God as prayer, we come to the conclusion that prayer is something we do all the time. We practice this exchange of information with God in every phase of our life. We bring everything before God, and we are also always on standby, ready to receive from him. In all our ways we acknowledge him. We simply believe that we are in permanent contact with the Holy Spirit. We always bring our thinking back to one subject: God. We practise the presence of God. We follow the direct walk in communion with God. We learn to cultivate the deep presence of God whether we are worshipping and praying, or following our daily business. The communication with our creator becomes constant. We open our hearts to receive God and his presence. And when God is in our hearts, we also have love in our hearts because God is love. It then becomes easy to walk in love. When we think of God and his word, we have love in our hearts and we are strong in faith.
God is in us; his Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit. In the Old Testament, the ark of the covenant was the symbol of God's presence, the ark guided the believer and brought blessings. In 2 Samuel 6:11 we find this report: And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obededom and all his household.
The presence of God brings blessings and guidance. In Leviticus 26:11-12 we read: And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
The New Testament often speaks of us being the dwelling place of God; our body being the temple of the Holy Spirit; us being God's temple. In Revelation 21:3, we find a similar description as that from Leviticus: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." But the best description we find in Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in his letter to the Ephesians 3:16-19: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
The practice of the presence of God is achieved through faith; Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. Our aim is therefore to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The more we practice the presence of God, the more we grow in this experience and become vessels of God for his use. All the time, every moment, we are conscious of the presence of God - moment by moment we fix our eyes on Jesus.
Notice: A collection of faith principles can be found at:
Home > Misc > Study Helps > Faith Principles
(2.1 Faith Principles).
The faith principles there listed can be used to recapitulate what has been discussed in "How to Measure Your Beliefs".
This is the end of the 8. Chapter of "How to Measure Your Beliefs" and the end of the book.
Have a look at my confessions: Misc
Go to the next part of this website, the book
The Man-Made Church
and there to the first chapter:
Organism - Not Organisation
[Home]>[How to Measure Your Beliefs]>[8. The Language of Kings]
[Home] [How to Measure Your Beliefs] [The Man-Made Church] [Misc]
The address of this page is: