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Faith, and what we say
- Jacob Ninan
We know that faith is what is needed to establish a relationship with God and to become His children (Jn.1:12). We also know that this faith does not mean just to subscribe mentally to a set of doctrines. The apostle James takes a lot to trouble to explain that a living faith is one which produces practical changes in our behaviour, attitudes, values, etc., in such a way that we grow up to become more and more like Jesus (Jas.2:14-26).
However, having been born again through grace and by faith, it is still possible that we limit God in giving us His promises and helping us to grow spiritually when we negate the faith that is in us by careless use of words. To take an example, consider God's promise that He will cause all things to work together for our good (Ro.8:28). We think we believe this, and we even preach about it. But then comes a time when we face one of those tough situations of life, and we say, "I think it's going to turn out badly for me."
We believe that God has promised us never to leave us or forsake us (He.13:5). But then something terrible happens to us, and we say, "It looks like God doesn't love me anymore. He seems to have left me all alone." We preach that God will never allow us to be tested beyond our ability (1Co.10:13). But then we say, "This is too much for me!"
We don't mean to say such things. But we are under severe pressure, and we give in to our feelings and say things that are really contrary to what God says. What this shows us is that either we really don't believe in our hearts what we profess to believe, or that we have not learned how to exercise our faith.
If we have said something foolishly, don't think there is no hope now. God is large-hearted and merciful. See the example of David (1Sa.27:1).
The Bible says that we believe in our heart, and we confess with our mouth, and that results in salvation (Ro.10:10). Obviously, if we believe in our heart but confess something contrary with our mouth, we block our progress, don't we?
Think of another situation, where we confess with our mouth what we really don't believe in our heart! We want to believe what we say, and we hope that it will happen because we confess it. But we can't make things happen just by saying something. God can do that because He is almighty. Also, there is never an inconsistency between His heart and words. But if God has given us faith in our heart and then we confess it, it will happen, because God is the One behind it.
We get faith by hearing God (Ro.10:17), when God speaks to us through the written word of God, or through the Holy Spirit working in our heart. When we have heard God speaking to us like that, we have boldness, and then we can confess it with our lips and receive what God has promised. But if God has not spoken to us, but we decide we want to get something from God, we can confess with our lips the whole day and we will get nothing but a hoarse throat!
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't ask and hope for an answer when we haven't heard God specifically. He is a good Father, and longs to give us more than we can ask or think. But don't expect that He has to do whatever we ask Him.