Healing Help 16: Words Matter.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.(Mark 11:23 NKJV)
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. …But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.(James 3:2, 8 NKJV)
Believe it in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say.Kenneth E. Hagin
“You can have what you say.” If you’ve been around the faith and healing crowd for any length of time, you’ve surely heard that phrase. In the context of Kenneth Hagin’s famous teachings on the subject, it makes spiritual sense. Words spoken in faith have power. For some, the “power of words” became a bit of a religious fetish. In fact, some people became so fearful of making the wrong “confession” that they wouldn’t tell their doctor their symptoms. We had (and still have) Christians correcting other Christians for their “bad confession.” For some, the utterance of a negative word brought condemnation and fear. They were led to believe they had completely negated any prayer they had prayed. In a moment of frustration or fear they said something that indicated doubt, and now all is lost, they’re a faith failure. That’s not true. God is not nervous or touchy, and His promises remain true despite your weaknesses.
I once had a co-worker who had flu symptoms. Being a gung-ho faith guy, he locked himself in his office and began saying that he was healed over and over. This went on for several hours. When he came out to go to the restroom, I asked him how it was going. He said he had heard a famous evangelist say that he had confessed his healing 500 times, and on the 500th time he was healed. Now my friend was counting his confessions, hoping that number 500 would be magic for him, too. That is a warped form of religious works, earning your healing by repeating a mantra. Works never works. It only breeds condemnation for perceived failure.
One by-product of a works-based understanding of faith is condemnation. Some people, when they experience sickness, feel as if they have failed, that they are somehow inferior to the “faith giants” around them. That’s not true. You never have to feel guilty or ashamed for being sick. We live in a fallen world, you are not perfect, God loves you anyway, and sickness is not a sin. Similarly, if someone you know is sick, your job is to pray for them, interceding on their behalf until healing comes. Pray Ephesians 1:15-20, that God would open their hearts to see what He has done for them. If they are open to it, you can gently teach them the points that follow below. You’re not the confession police.
The Bible clearly teaches the importance of what we say. It doesn’t teach that what we say forces God to move. Just the opposite. When I believe that God has answered my prayer, I say so! I don’t move Him, I acknowledge that He has moved. It’s just that simple. Here are some truths regarding confession that will help you get free, then get healed:
- Faith speaks what it believes. Paul goes so far as to say that salvation comes from believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord. (Romans 10:9-10) The essence of faith is that I say what I believe. (2 Corinthians 4:13)
- Jesus is called the High Priest of our profession. We are enjoined to hold fast to our confession of Jesus as Lord. So also, we confess that Jesus is Healer. (Hebrews 4:14)
- Confession is not designed to harass God into doing something. It simply acknowledges what we believe He has already done. (Matthew 6:7; Mark 11:22-24)
- God honors His Word, not yours. God is not obligated to do something He has not promised simply because you say it over and over. God’s Word has creative force. Human will does not. Faith begins with knowing the will of God. (1 John 5:14-15)
- You can’t control your tongue on your own. James said that no man can tame it. That means sheer will-power will eventually fail. The question is, “What flows out of the fountain that lies within me?” (James 3:2-12)
- Faith is of the heart. (Mark 11:23) Taking care of your heart, filling it with faith and love, is the most important thing you can do to aid in your healing. Your heart informs your tongue. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).” Whatever is in your heart in abundance is what comes out when the pressure is on. Guard your heart!!! (Proverbs 16:23-24)
The Bible is adamant about the power of our words. What we say impacts us in many ways. Knowing the importance of words can be a great motivation to do what’s necessary to get your heart in order, to bring the tongue under the spirit’s control, and to unleash your faith. (Proverbs 18:20; 15:30; 16:23,24; 21:23; Isaiah 50:4 et al.)
Purposes of confessing what God’s Word says:
- To build faith in your heart. When you know that your faith is not where it needs to be, one way to build faith is by simply speaking God’s promises to yourself. In fact, this is a form of meditation. (Romans 10:17; Joshua 1:8)
- To resist the devil. The spoken Word is the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus gave us the example in the wilderness temptation. You can use the same method when fear and doubt assail you: “It is written…!” (James 4:7; Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:4,7,10)
- To control your thought life. Much of the battle we fight is in our own mind, the internal dialogue that goes on constantly. Taking charge of what you think about is of great benefit in the life of faith. Argue with your own thinking by talking to yourself when your thoughts are going astray. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8)
- To protect your heart. According to Solomon, all the issues of life proceed from your heart. Keeping your heart free from life’s debris is a full-time job. You can protect your heart by controlling what you listen to. You can speak God’s Word and listen to yourself! This passage is powerful: Proverbs 4:20-27. Read it in several translations. Let God make it real to you.
- To release the power of your faith. When faith arises in your heart and you pray the prayer of faith, believing that you have what you asked for, then you can boldly say, “It’s mine I have it now. I have been healed by the stripes of Jesus.” (Matthew 21:21-22; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24)
Here’s the point: Words spoken from a heart of faith play a significant role in receiving God’s promise of healing. It’s important to be aware of what’s coming out of your mouth because that reflects what you have in your heart. Faith is of the heart. Just saying things over and over doesn’t make your healing come. Faith says it because you believe it has already been done. If you mess up, get frustrated or angry, and say something you regret, God still loves you. Just say “oops!” and correct yourself, then speak what you believe.
Don’t forget, faith and denial sound exactly the same. Don’t pretend you believe just to impress your friends. If you need help, ask for it! We are in this together. James 5:14-15 is for just such moments. Call for help from the elders of the church. By the same token, pretending that you don’t have symptoms doesn’t make them go away. If you hurt, or have other distressing signs of a problem, just saying it doesn’t exist is not a good idea. Asking for medical help is not unbelief. (We’ll look at that in more depth in a later lesson.)
Next Steps: This is a particularly important subject. Give it the time and attention it deserves, and you will reap great benefits in the long run. You can’t control your tongue by your own willpower, but you can take steps to grow your faith and de-clutter your heart. Your tongue will quickly follow. There are lots of Scriptures in this lesson. Take the time to visit each of them and stay with them until you sense that the concept is yours. There is a peace and joy that comes when truth on the page becomes reality in the heart. If you’re battling illness, take one passage every day and begin reading it out loud to yourself.
As you build heart faith, don’t try to do it alone. Reach out to friends who will agree with you and encourage you. If you need prayer support, email me or call the office and we will get you on our prayer list. God wants you healed and so do we.
- Pastor Virgil Stokes