Friday, March 4, 2011

"I believed; therefore, I have spoken."

Several years ago the national women’s ministry department of the organization I belong to had these words as its yearly theme: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” I was not the director for women’s ministries at that time, so I had no background or information concerning the theme. I remember reading the poster for the first time and thinking, “What in the world does that mean?” Today I was listening to a sermon and this same scripture was read, but this time I read it context, and God brought out a powerful truth that I’d like to share.

These six words come from a chapter that God has used numerous times to speak to me. In 2 Corinthians 4, the apostle Paul uses his powerful words to create an imagery of the power of the Spirit of God living within us. As you read the passage below, I will put explanatory information about the words or phrases in parenthesis.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry (of reconciliation), we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God (even if it reveals our own faults). On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend (prove or establish) ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay (“cracked pots”) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.

There are so many nuggets of Truth here, but I want to focus today on verse 13. The word “spirit” there is “pneuma”, meaning “breath of God”, as in Gen. 2:7 where God breathed into man and gave him life. When we read the Scriptures, and choose to believe that they are God’s undeniable Truth, we breath in the Word, and it builds our faith. John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” When we read and meditate on the Word of God, we breath in the Spirit of God, because God’s Word is God.

We must believe the Word of God, and apply it to our lives before we can have the spirit of faith. Some people seem to believe that faith is only necessary for salvation, and then we just need to obey the law and we will be fine. Not so! We need to have the spirit of faith just to live every day. A spirit of faith in God is necessary to be successful in our Christian walk, no matter how long you have been following Christ. It is my opinion that this is why so many “Christ followers” don’t seem to have made any change in their live since they accepted Christ: they don’t have the spirit of faith.

Years ago I spoke to my church about the power of praying God’s Word, speaking God’s Word, and allowing it to transform the way they think and act. Many people said “Amen!”, but few people accepted the challenge and actually did it. We are so critical of the Israelites coming out of Egypt because an eleven day journey took them 40 years. But how many of us would have to say that we have been dealing with the same issues in our own lives for 10 years, 20 years, or 40 years? The Scriptures tell us that the Israelites died in the wilderness because of unbelief, but how could they be unbelieving in God when He performed daily miracles for them? Maybe it wasn’t that they didn’t believe in God’s power, but that they didn’t believe in God’s ability or power to work through them. Ouch. How many of my sisters would have to say “ouch” with me?

See I will tell you that I believe that God can do anything, so why am I not living in faith in my own situation? Could it be that I too have issues with believing that God can do what He says through me?

This is where the six-worded theme comes into play. When I choose to believe the Word of God, even when or especially when I can’t see any evidence, I am believing in faith. I have the spirit of faith when I choose to believe God in the face of my crisis or circumstance.

Now add the second stick of dynamite. Speak out what you believe. “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” I must speak out the Word of God in faith. I must speak out what God’s Word says, even when everything I see with my natural eyes says it can’t be true. This is Faith!

Reread verses 7 and 8. How is Paul able to say these things? How they possibly be true? Because he knows Who he believes in, and chooses to speak out His Word as Truth.

If you are new to this concept, let me help you take the first step. Read over the verses above again, and pick out the one or two verses that really seem to speak to you. Write them on a sheet of paper, or on an index card. Now insert your name or situation into the verse to make it truly personal, and throughout today, read the personalized verse aloud. If you can, put it up at your job. Hang it on the bathroom mirror. Tape it on the visor of your car. Carry it in your purse. And read it, read it, read it! Watch how your faith grows as that verse causes new seeds of encouragement and confidence to come to life.

I believe the Word of God; therefore I speak out the Word of God, and my belief just keeps getting stronger.

Be blessed today! And keep building your faith!

In pursuit of zoe,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reminding me that God wants to work through me and that the only thing stopping it is my lack of belief that He will. God has given me abilities and talents and I choose whether or not to allow God to minister in and through me. However, many times I must admit that I am a stumbling block in my own way and do not allow to what only He is able to do.