Episode 65: Breakthroughs, Part 5- Speaking God's Word

Peace to Live By Episode 65: Breakthroughs, Part 5- Speaking God's Word - Daniel Litton
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       Today I am giving the final message on this series of breakthroughs we have been going though—things that help us in our lives once we put them into practice. My hope is that you have been seriously considering these things—and definitely thinking about how you might improve your life, which will, in turn, make the lives of those around you more enjoyable. Indeed, that’s a great benefit to improving our character. When we make ourselves better, people like us more and want to be around us more. And today’s topic is very important for us, because as we consider the power behind God’s Word, my hope is that what you take what you learn and make great advantage of it.

       For this final area of discussion, we are going to be talking about speaking God’s Word both to God himself, in the form of prayer, and to ourselves, for encouragement, and for overcoming sin. We all have areas in our lives, and the lives of those around us, that we want to see get better. We all have problems we are dealing with, things that we would like to see improvement on. And the good news today is that God has given us a way to deal with these problems which betters our lives in the process. Some things can seem so overwhelming to people that they feel they have no hope. But today, I want to give you hope. And this hope comes from the Word of God.

       It is true that we can use God’s Word to help our problems, to speak life in our lives. I’ve done this for years, and I can attest to the fact that it works. Speaking God’s Word over our lives can help us with whatever difficult situation we are facing. You may be struggling with temptation, whether it be with lust, or with envy, or even anger. You may be feeling you want success in a certain area of your life, but have had a lot of difficultly obtaining a favorable outcome in that area. You feel cursed, like you just haven’t been able to overcome. Well, the solution to your problem is found in speaking God’s Word over your problem. I’m not just talking about speaking Bible verses when we are tempted, but actually speaking verses to our actual problems. We can learn and study what the Scriptures have to say about our particular area of concern. Once we see what God says, we can then bring our thoughts and our speech into agreement with him. The Word of God has a great deal to say about many things, and there is no shortage of help when it comes to aiding us with our individual problems in life.

       Remember in Ephesians 5:1 that the Apostle Paul told us, “…be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Now, if we turn all the way back in our Bibles, back to the very beginning, we find ourselves in Genesis chapter 1. If we read through Genesis 1, we will find that God is creating the Universe, the sky, the earth, and everything that we see. But what I want you to note today is how God does this. He does this by ‘speaking’ things into existence. This is his method by which he creates new things. As we just talked about, Paul told us to be imitators of God. Well, we cannot speak new things into existence—things that have never existed in the literal sense; we just don’t have that power like God does. However, we can speak God’s own Word to our lives, to our situations, to our problems. We can speak the things he has already spoken and the power behind his Word can help us with our issues.

       I want you to turn over to Romans chapter 4, and here the Apostle Paul is discussing the promise that God made the Abraham in the Old Testament. Let’s read verses 16 through 18, which state the following:

“That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” (ESV)

Our belief in God, we read then, the promise that we have in Christ, became reality for us through our ‘faith’ in Christ’s work on the cross. That’s how we have come into right relationship with God. Now, in the text it says that God promised Abraham that he was to be the father of many nations. And how did God accomplish this task? Paul tells us God did it because he “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” Now, this is remarkable. God made a promise in the past that something would exist that did not exist. And how did he fulfill his promise to Abraham, and really to himself? He fulfilled it, the text tells us, by calling that which didn’t exist, which hadn’t happened yet, into existence, just like he did in Genesis 1. God speaks, and what he desires happens. And the text tells us that Abraham believed what God had said, and exercised ‘hope’ that God would do what he said he would do. And we can do the same things in our lives.

       God has given us his Word in our lives, and we can take his Word and speak good things into our lives. He has promised us many things in his Word, and his desire is that we will have blessings in Christ, as a church, and in our lives individually. Anything that is in God’s will God wants for us if will speak it and believe. I’m not saying that we can get anything ‘we want’ in our lives, but interestingly enough, many of the things we want are the very same things that God wants us for us. If we want to be married, God can help us with that. If you want your children to believe in him and be good Christians throughout their lives, God wants that too. If we want to be more and more obedient to God in a certain area of our lives, God certainly wants that for us to. So, God can and will help us with these things as we speak his Word over our lives. Now, a person may want to be a multi-millionaire, and think he or she is going to speak for that, but God may not want that for you. A person may want to be the most famous and successful Olympic athlete to come, but that may not be God’s will for you. A person may want to have a problem-free life (don’t we all), but certainly that is not God’s will. James told us, and warned us, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3, ESV). Just as we shouldn’t ask God according to wrong motives, we should not take his Word and believe on it for wrong things either.

       So, when we have something we want for our ourselves, which we believe is God’s will for us to have, how do we speak God’s will over our lives? How do we speak the Scriptures? Let’s say you want to have good success with a person of the opposite sex, and eventually get married someday. Well, the key here is that you go through the Bible and you find verses that talk about this matter. Let’s say we go to 1 Corinthians chapter 7. That’s a good place to go when discussing marriage. Verse 2 says, “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (ESV). So, here, in the most basic sense, we learn that if a person feels that he or she needs to be married in life, that it is in fact God’s will for that person to get married. That’s pretty encouraging. I might also add verse 35 to my list, which says the same thing in another way. And I might add verse 37 which says that I can be married to whomever I wish, only in the Lord. So, we can add these verses to our list. Once we have a completed list, we then can speak this list between ourselves and God in prayer.

       And having this list of verses that addresses our particular problem or desire also encourages us, in our minds, to believe that God wants what we want, because at the heart of a lot of our problems in life is unbelief. We don’t believe God wants us to have this or that because we don’t have it, and therefore, God doesn’t help us because we don’t believe that he wants to. Again, Jesus said in Matthew 8:13, "Let it be done for you as you have believed” (ESV). We have to ‘believe’ first. We have to believe good is going to happen for us if we actually expect God to work on our behalf. Going back to James, he also told us, recall, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8, ESV). Notice how this verse says that it is us who have to draw near to God. It doesn’t say, God will draw near to us first, and then we can draw near to him. No, James tells us that we have to take the initiative. And so it is with speaking God’s will over our lives. We speak God’s Word, and believe he will do what he says he wants to do, and then this allows God to work and act on our behalf.

       But bear in mind, and be careful that you are not expecting God to correct your issue or give you your heart’s desire right away with everything. There are many things God may be quick to work with you about, but there are also things that take time, and sometimes quite a lot of time. Going back to the story about Abraham, God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations. But that didn’t happen for quite a long time. It took years for God to call into existence the promise that he had made to Abraham. And sometimes it takes a long time, or at least a long time from our perspective, for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our own lives. Recall, though, that Jesus said that we should always pray and not lose heart (see Luke 18:1, ESV). The verses we have compiled in our hands, the things we are speaking with God about, helps encourage us as we are waiting on God to deliver for us what we believe he wants us to have. It’s important for us to be encouraged consistently so that we do not lose hope. And God’s Word can do this for us. But it is our responsibility to continue to believe, and not be impatient and speak negatively toward our need or situation.

       James taught us to be patient. Again, when he was telling his readers that they had to be patient when waiting for Jesus’ return, he said, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient” (James 5:7, 8, ESV). James’ readers we eager for the Lord’s return, and we too can apply James’ illustration to any area of our lives where we are waiting (including for the Lord’s return!). The farmer sows, and then he waits, waits, and then waits some more. Often he will even aid the crop in growing by adding fertilizer (this is what we do when we are speaking God’s Word). Eventually, after he waits long enough, the ground produces a crop. Now, the farmer can walk outside, get upset, and shake his pitchfork, hoe, or whatever he has in his hand at the field, but it isn’t going to do any good. He can go outside in the storm and shake his fist at God because he doesn’t see his crop, but that’s only going to hurt things. He’s just going to be miserable and God probably wont want to help him with that attitude. And remember, even though we don’t see what is going on under the soil, often times the crop is growing. We have to use our faith that what we are speaking is making a different for the future.

       Another way you can think of it is like when you are getting in shape. You may walk everyday for one week, and see no results when you look in the mirror. You may even walk for two weeks straight, everyday, and still see no changes back in the mirror. But by the third week of walking, you’re probably going to notice your body taking a healthier shape. And it will get better and better as time continues. And so it is with speaking God’s Word. It just may take longer than ‘weeks,’ but be patient.

       Besides helping us with receiving our heart’s desires, speaking God’s Word also encourages us in general to remember our identity in Christ. It can help us to see ourselves in Christ as God see us. We can start a list of Bible verses that talk just to the subject of who we are now as Christians, as new creations in Christ. We might, as our first verse, put something like Romans 3:23, which, as we all know, says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23-25, ESV). And from there, we might add, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18a, ESV). And so we create a list of Bible verses about our identity in Christ, and this helps us to have a right focus.

       Let us recall what the Apostle Paul taught in Colossians 3, and this is an important verse for us. He said, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:1-3, ESV). When we create our list of verses for our identify in Christ, when we think about and speak these verses out loud, and even to God in prayer, that helps us to “seek the things that are above.” That helps us to “set [our] minds on things that are above.” When we set our focus right, it allows us to better accomplish the works that God has for us. It enables us to have more and more victory over sin in our lives. We can keep our minds at a higher level than the natural man, than those who don’t know Jesus. We can have and use wisdom in our lives. As Paul told the Ephesians, we become "“renewed in the spirit of [our] minds” (Ephesians 4:23, ESV).

       If we really want to get bold with speaking God’s Word, another thing we can do is put the verses we are speaking into the first person so that they are more personal for us. Like, for instance, I may take Romans 3:23 and say, ““for I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and I have been justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:23-24, para, ESV). Or, looking at 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18, I could say, ““I am in Christ, and therefore, I am a new creation. The old has passed away for me; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled me to himself” (para, ESV). So, we take the Word of God and make it even more personal for us. We make it hit at our very hearts, and further identify ourselves in Christ, setting our minds on him, and on things which are above, on Heavenly things.

       I really want you to get this. As we’ve talked about in the past, speaking God’s Word is good for us in overcoming sinful habits in our lives, things we have been struggling with on a daily basis. Let’s say, for instance, that you struggle with lust, and most people do. So, you might take a Bible verse from 1 Corinthians 6, which says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (ESV). That’s a good foundational verse. Then I would probably add the next two verses: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, ESV). And, so, you create a list of Bible verses that talk about this area of subject. Again, speaking these verses to yourself out loud motivates and encourages you. Remember, there is power behind God’s Word. So, when you speak these things during temptation, like Jesus did to Satan in the wilderness, this not only reminds you of the truth in your time of trial, but it also empowers you and pushes the enemy back.

       Let us remind ourselves of one of the last things Paul told Timothy before he left this earth, and it has to do with the goodness of God’s Word for us and the power behind it. He told him, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV). Often we cite this verse in the academic sense, but there is much more to it than that. Note that Paul said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” That’s important because that shows God’s anointing on it, for it came directly from God himself. And notice how the Word helps us in our lives. It is good for “teaching, for reproof [which means, showing us where we are wrong], for correction, and for training in righteousness.” So, when we speak God’s Word, we enlighten ourselves, we understand what God wants from us, we seek to make corrections, we know how to identify error, and overall it trains us to understand and recall what is right. This makes us “complete” as Paul said, “equipped for every good work.” When put into practice, it causes us to have the character of Christ.

       Again, in wrapping up, if you feel your life is cursed in a certain area or in general, you need help from God with receiving certain desires of your heart, or you just need help with temptation to sin, I would definitely recommend you do this practice—that is, speaking God’s Word to yourself and to the Lord in prayer. You have nothing to lose in trying this. Speaking God’s Word out loud definitely isn’t going to hurt you. If this is new to you, try it in ‘faith,’ believing that God does want to help you with your problems. He is your loving Heavenly Father, and cares very much about your situations in life.

       In conclusion today, I hope that this series on breakthroughs has been encouraging to you. My goal is that these basic things in our lives can work to help us have happy, healthier our lives and that we can enjoy them more, all the while becoming more like Jesus in the process. Maybe you’ve been listening to what I’ve been talking about and feel that you would like to get out from under some of the bad habits you’ve formed in your life, or you feel you have cursed areas in your life, but your not a Christian. Well, God leaves his door of salvation open to anyone who would believe in him.

       No matter who you are, I want you to know that God loves you and want to be in a personal relationship with you. He wants to help you be a better person. He wants to help all of us become more like Jesus, and that includes you today. In fact, God sent Jesus to the earth 2,000 years ago, and he died on a cross to pay our sin debts, all the wrongs we’ve committed in our lives, and to make us right with God. Jesus rose from the dead and is today with God in Heaven. Jesus wants to help you. He wants to be on your side, and doesn’t want to be against anyone. God is not a mean, corrupt, or violent God who wants to hurt people. He is a loving, caring, and helping God, and wants to help you today and see others be helped.

       If you would like to come into a personal relationship with God today, then I want you to follow my lead in this prayer:

God, I have realized today that I’m not following you in my life. I’m not following your ways in doing things, but I’m doing things the wrong ways. Today, though, I want to turn from doing wrong and accept Jesus into my life as my Guide. I want to do things the right way. I believe Jesus died for my offenses and can make me right with you. I believe he rose from the dead, is alive today, and will help me in my life. Please Father, help me to start today in making right choices, and being close to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton