Say What?

Say What?!

 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

The Bible is not meant to be mysterious. God obviously wants us to understand what He is saying to us. We can’t live our lives based on what we don’t understand.

There are, I think, two things that work against our understanding. First, we tend to think of God’s declarations to us as complicated logic, when it’s the simplicity of it that we trip over. As teachers of scripture we should take what seems complicated and make it simple. Religion does the opposite – it takes the simple and makes it complicated.

Also working against our understanding of scripture is the fact that the original writings were penned in a time and language much different than ours. If Jesus were walking the shores of Lake George today, teaching the same principles as recorded on the shores of Galilee 2000 or so years ago, His illustrations would be different and the language would be English. The good news, though, is that there are study helps made available to us to open our minds to both the customs and languages of Bible times.

That said, let me define a few words out of this verse in Hebrews. The word confession means the acknowledgement of truth. Bible hope is a confident expectation with joy. Without wavering is literally without bending, that is, being firm and unmoved. Put it all together it would read “Hold fast to your acknowledgement of the truth that you’re confidently expecting, with joy.”

Now, let’s simplify that and say it like this: “Keep what you say in line with your joyful expectation of Bible truth.” Has God declared some things about you in His Word? Do you believe His Word is true? Then line up what you confess – what you say – with the joyful, confident expectation of those truths.

Over many years I’ve developed a list of things that I “confess” regularly. You don’t have to adopt my list, but take a look at it just to see if it challenges you to have a “confession list” of your own.

I am who God says I am. I have what God says I have. I can do what God says I can do.

I am a child of God, an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus. [Romans 8:16, 17]

I am born again and Spirit-filled. [Romans 10:9, 10; Acts 2:1-4]

I am forgiven and qualified for all the promises of God. [Colossians 2:13 & 1:12]

I am sanctified.  [I Corinthians 6:11]

I am justified, made righteous with Jesus’ righteousness. [II Corinthians 5:21]

I’ve been made more than a conqueror. [Romans 8:37]

Nothing can separate me from God’s love. [Romans 8:38, 39]

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]

I can run through a troop and leap over a wall. [Psalm 18:29]

I’m strong in the Lord and the power of His might. [Ephesians 6:10]

This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. [Psalm 118:24]

I’ve been delivered from power of darkness and translated to the kingdom of God’s dear Son. [Colossians 1:13]

I’ve been given authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt me. [Luke 10:19]

God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. [II Timothy 1:7]

I put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. [Isaiah 61:3]

I choose to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. [Galatians 5:16]

I don’t yield my members to unrighteousness, but only to righteousness. [Romans 6:13]

I continue on in my devotional time confessing some things that are specific to my life.

Our confession has one of two purposes in our lives. If we believe what we’re saying, it begins to come to pass. If we don’t (yet) believe what we’re declaring, we can use it to persuade ourselves of the truth. So, boldly say what the Bible says about you. And even (or maybe especially) in difficult times, don’t bend to the circumstances. Stay firm; don’t waver. Persuade yourself of the truth. You’ll be glad you did!

How’s Your Heart?

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

There are two phrases that I’d like us to take note of here: “believe in your heart” (verse 9) and “with the heart one believes” (verse 10). From the time I first started studying the Bible (not just reading it), I became interested in the subject of faith. Obviously “faith” and “believing” are the same thing. To “believe unto righteousness” (verse 10) means having faith for being made right with God. But faith for healing, deliverance, peace, and so on come from the same place.

One cardinal rule about faith is that it must be “heart faith.” Agreeing with the Bible mentally is a start, but the type of faith that moves mountains is settled deep in our hearts.

King Solomon exhorts us to guard our hearts, for out of them come the issues or boundaries of life. [Proverbs 4:13] Heart faith is what we need.

Agreeing mentally could be called “head faith.” The problem with head faith is that it won’t sustain us through the challenges of life. When we try to take a strong stand against sickness, for example, “head faith” wavers. In James chapter one we’re told that the person who wavers won’t receive anything from God. This is not a case of God holding out on us, but rather a case of doubt. “Wavering” and “doubt” are usually translations of the same Greek word.

That brings us then to “heart faith.” The “heart” here is not merely an organ in our chest that pumps blood.  “Heart” represents the center of our being. It’s a combination or link between our spirit and our soul. [I Thessalonians 5:23] Everything that has affected us emotionally over the span of life seems to get stored here. Painful experiences from the past can inhibit our ability to truly believe God at this heart level. We may agree mentally, yet disagree from our heart, and this “faith” produces nothing. But “heart faith” got us born again, and this same “heart faith” is what will receive healing, deliverance, peace or whatever God’s word promises us.

The question becomes, then, what are we going to do with the painful experiences in our hearts that have stymied our faith? The definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1 gives us the information we need.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Bible faith – the God-kind of faith – requires EVIDENCE! Gather enough evidence to persuade your heart of the principles and promises of the Bible. Where will this evidence come from? First and foremost from the Word of God. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Word is profitable for “reproof.” The Greek word translated “reproof” is the same as the one translated “evidence” in Hebrews 11:1. So we could say it this way: “The Word is profitable for evidence.”

Evidence also comes from what we see – not with the natural eye, but with our spiritual eye. In II Corinthians 4:17, 18 we’re instructed to look at the things that are NOT seen. Joshua was told by God to SEE that He had given Jericho into the hand of the Israelites. This “seeing” is a type of meditation. We can meditate – see ourselves – already enjoying the benefits of the promises of God, before there is any manifestation. Our senses may bring opposing evidence to us in the form of pain, symptoms, etc., so we have to gather more to overcome that opposition.

One last area (for this article) is the area of words. The words we hear spoken, especially the one coming out of our own mouths, become either positive or negative evidence. Proverbs 18:20, 21 relates that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Choose the right words and persuade yourself toward life!

Well, there’s much more to be said on this subject but this is as good a stopping place as any. I suggest you study this out for yourself, because the just shall live by faith – heart faith that is!