What Is Faith – Part 6

This will be the last article on this miniseries about “Faith”. We have learned about a lot of important truths in this miniseries that I have based off of a series of sermons preached by Leon Fontaine. He reminds us that faith comes from hearing God’s word, every Christian possesses faith, which is a matter of the heart, and that God really wants the very best for you and me, His children. (You can click here to go to the site where you can download past sermons as podcasts.)

In this article, I want to expand what I wrote about in Part 2 entitled, “The Facts About Faith.” There is great truth in the idea that words carry power. It is well known in Modern Psychology and in Counseling that words can be used to build up people or to cut people down. There is a positive effect upon people when they are complimented and encouraged, and there is a negative effect on people when they are criticized or ridiculed.

But there is a lot more that goes on in our use of words than just making people or ourselves feel good or bad. We should not analyze the power of words and simply on the psychological or emotional level. We need to realize that there is a spiritual level, or a spiritual reality, that can be tapped into when we speak. Again, let me state emphatically that I am not referring to the magical or ritualistic use of words.

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Listening to Leon’s sermon, he says that words literally function in three realms. The first is the physical realm and can be seen in something as simple as a person saying something embarrassing and then turning beet red. At a deeper level, when a person continually speaks negatively, that person is dumping chemicals throughout their body which will affect their mood and can lead to depression.

Words function secondly on the mental realm which is also at the emotional level. Loving words can build a person up and they both think and feel good about themselves. But as we know, too often, words are used spitefully and in a hurtful way which can destroy a person’s self-worth and identity. Even though the words that are spoken are often not true, when they are accepted as true by the person, then they become true.

And that leads us to the third level, namely that words function within the spiritual realm. It is at this level that a person sees himself or herself as God created them to be. It is at this level that we see God, life, and reality from God’s perspective as presented to us in Scripture and not as others around us might suggest, or what we may have been taught to believe within ourselves.

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What I am suggesting is that the words that we speak are a reflection of what we think and truly believe. And, as is well known within both secular counseling as well as in Christian counseling, you will ultimately experience what you believe. Therefore, if you are a negative minded person and speak negative words, then you will undoubtedly experience negative things within your life.

The opposite of this is just as true. If you are a positive minded person and speak positive words, then you will experience positive things within your life. In James 3:3-5 it says:

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

A truth that can be surfaced from these verses is that we can determine the direction and the future of our lives simply by the words that we speak. For some, that could be a scary thought. I would like to suggest instead that this is an opportunity presented before each of us. With God’s help, and a positive attitude and beliefs on our part, we can in many ways control the outcome of our lives.

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Here is an interesting fact to consider: we can talk out loud at a top rate of about 150 words per minute, but our minds which are constantly thinking are “talking to us” at a rate of about 1300 words per minute. It is in this latter group that we get what they call “self talk”. So the question is, what is it that we are telling ourselves about God, life, and ourselves.

Let’s get real practical now then as we conclude this series on faith. The things that we put in our heart feed our minds, and our minds are constantly speaking to us. So have we accepted negativity and disbelief into our hearts? Then that is what we will feed our minds and what we will speak into our lives. We must not allow ourselves to do this.

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The solution then is to fill our hearts, even saturate them, with the truths about God such as His love and mercy and grace, all of which is found within the pages of Scripture. And that is where we started this series, namely that faith comes from hearing the Word of God. Then as we discover the wonderful promises in Scripture meant for us, we must speak those promises into our hearts and into our minds and so by faith see them become realities in our lives.

In the 30+ years that I have been a missionary and minister of the gospel I have found the spiritual truths that I have presented above to be very real. My prayer is that you too would be able to walk this walk of faith and see God work in your life the same ways that I’ve seen him work in mine.