I hope you realize, Dear Reader, my weekly musings document my own personal journey of discovery. Whether we want to or not, we are constantly learning and growing, or stagnating and fading. If you’re reading my columns, I trust you, too, are on a journey of improvement. I hope the insights I’ve gained will be of some benefit to you.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article pointing out how words, according to Genesis 1, were first used to create, not communicate.
The writer of Hebrew confirms, “… the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3a).
Man was not yet created to hear any of what God spoke, hence the only purpose of His words was to create.
“Brother Tim, what’s the big deal with words?”
If we are truly created in the image of God, as noted in Genesis 1:27, then we were given the power to create with our words, as well. With our words we define our future, whether we will succeed or fail. With our words we declare our health, whether we will live or die. With our words we determine our eternal destiny, whether it’s heaven or hell.
All of this with the words we speak.
The secret is it’s not just the words you speak; it’s the words you believe and speak that will come to pass.
Jesus told His disciples, “Have faith in God. 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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:22b-24 [NKJV]).
This is the scriptural basis for the teaching of most recent and modern-day faith teachers. I have listened and studied many of them. Their life isn’t simply what they say, it’s also what they believe.
Many try to emulate them. Unfortunately, they understand the speaking part, but they have not transformed their minds (reference Romans 12:2) to truly grasp the believing part. I can claim health and prosperity all day long, but if I don’t believe it, I’m simply creating a cognitive dissonance that serves no one.
However, if you understand that the only way to change your mind is by speaking new or different words, then yes, you will create a cognitive dissonance until such time as your thinking is aligned with the Word of God.
In case you are wondering, this can be a lifelong process. Changing old, outdated thought processes can take time. Keep in mind what Isaiah prophesied:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 [NKJV]).
If God is my heavenly Father, and He is, shouldn’t I act like Him? No one thinks it odd that I developed characteristics of my earthly dad. Why should it be any different if I develop traits like my heavenly Father?
I suspect there are those who would want to quote 1 Corinthians 2:9 to me, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
I wonder if those same folks ever read the verses following that: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12[NKJV]).
In other words, yes, God does think and act on a higher level than mere mortals, but He is not withholding His truth, His wisdom, or His knowledge from us. He shares them with us on a spiritual level, not a fleshly or physical one.
Which brings me back to the title of today’s column: Everything responds to words.
It was just a couple of days after I wrote my previous column that I heard a faith teacher make that same statement. His teaching was on the power of words and how, if words alone created the universe, then the whole of creation will still respond to words. I had never heard the concept quite like that. Within a day, I had the opportunity to test it. I had eaten a bowl of oatmeal with chopped dates one morning and something, whether it be an oat husk or a dried date skin I know not, but something got between my back tooth and gum such that it was uncomfortable. By lunch time, it was downright painful and made chewing a challenge.
What to do? It might be days before I could get an appointment with the dentist. A toothpick had been unsuccessful in removing it. Chewing gum had worked before, but I couldn’t find any in the house.
It finally dawned on me, try speaking to it! The idea that everything responds to words flashed across my consciousness. (I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit was bringing the teaching back to my remembrance.) I knew it couldn’t hurt and it just might work. So I spoke to the debris stuck in my gum and told it to leave. Then I forgot about it … Until the next day.
The next morning as I began to eat breakfast, I realized there was no pain and no discomfort with my eating. Whatever had bothered me was gone.
“Brother Tim, do you expect us to believe you spoke to an irritant between your teeth and gums and it left?”
Here’s the beauty of faith: You are free to believe what you want to believe. I choose to believe there’s power in my words.
Tim Hughes is a lay minister and elder at Ascension Life Church in Athens. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org