THE SPOKEN WORD
They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. (Rev 12:11)
Let’s take a look at a topic which we ignore at our peril - the power of words.
Consider, from a purely psychological point of view, what words do to a child who grows up hearing nothing but personal criticism. It would be most unusual for such a child to mature into an adult with high self-esteem. On the other hand, a child who knows that he or she is loved, and who is consistently praised and affirmed, has a far greater chance of having a positive self-image in adulthood.
This is because words are very powerful. In fact, not only do they influence your mental health, but also your physical health!
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body. (Proverbs 16:24 AMP)
Now consider the things you say about yourself.
A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth and with the consequences of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:20-21 AMP)
NB! Death and life are in the power of the tongue. The words you speak over yourself literally become a matter of life and death. In other words, you influence the course of your life by the words you speak!
Now, consider where the words you speak come from.
For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Mt 12:34 NIV)
If you are consistently saying negative things about yourself it means that you are thinking negatively about yourself, and you become what you think!
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7 NIV)
This brings us back to the battlefield of the mind.
We saw how stress, if not dealt with in a healthy way, results in anger and fear (and sometimes both) and if these emotions are not harnessed they can lead to depression. We saw also that it is not the lack of brain chemicals which causes the negative emotions. It is the negative thought pattern resulting in a prolonged emotionally stressed state which depletes the brain chemicals. This feeds further negative thoughts which then reinforce emotional stress. A vicious circle indeed! (And never forget who is behind your negative thoughts and who is feeding that vicous circle.)
This vicious circle is the stronghold which we discussed at length when we learnt about the battlefield of the mind. We also saw that to demolish the stronghold, we have to take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
There are two ways of doing this: We can speak words of faith and we can speak words of gratitude.
WORDS OF FAITH
We have already dealt with the importance of addressing the enemy aloud. We have seen that he is an expert at discerning our thoughts and thought processes, because he knows our histories and our characters and he can read our expressions and body language. In other words, he can read our minds in the same way that those who know us well can read us. However, he cannot actually read our thoughts.
(There have been occasions when I have successfully kept him at bay by quoting Scripture over and over again in my mind. This is during 3:00 am panic attacks (he specialises in them) and I do not want to disturb my peacefully sleeping spouse. I believe it works because it is a spiritual battle and the demon can sense the spiritual resistance. However, in spite of this, the quickest and most effective way remains addressing the demon directly by speaking out the Scriptures.)
But there is another aspect to this for consideration: the effect that your spoken words of faith have on you!
Consider what the Apostle Paul says about hearing.
The plain Greek says: So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17 KJV)
Within context, he is talking about the importance of preaching to those who have never heard of Christ. The Amplified Version says it best: So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that comes from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). (Rom 10:17 AMP) It stands to reason that you cannot place your faith in someone of whom you have never heard, which is why evangelism and preaching the Gospel is vitally important to advance the Kingdom.
But this verse also establishes an important principle for believers: you strengthen your faith by speaking the Word of God.
How does this enable us to take every thought captive?
We start by feeding our minds with positive, godly thoughts.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent and praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)
(Yes, we are back to the Shoes of Readiness which come with the Gospel of Peace!)
What better source of truth, nobility, justice, purity, and loveliness than the Word of God? By filling your mind with God’s Word, you will develop healthy, positive thoughts about yourself and your situation. This will naturally change your speech, which, in its turn, will reinforce your positive thought patterns.
When you wield the Sword of the Spirit and speak out those declarations connected with the armour, you are speaking words of faith.
And if you are frequently speaking the Word, you will be hearing it, which will reinforce your faith - because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! In this way you will have broken the vicious circle and will have established a life circle instead!
The Word says that our tongues are the pens of a skilful writer. (Psalm 45:1) With them we write His words on the tablets of our hearts. (Proverbs 3:1-3)
With your reinforced positive mindset, you are in a far better position to guard your mind against the attacks of the enemy. With the Word in your mind and on your tongue you can face down any demon at any time!
WORDS OF GRATITUDE
Now, let’s go back to the Garden of Eden for a reminder of how Lucifer successfully deceived Eve. We have previously discussed how he sowed a doubt into Eve’s mind, but there is another aspect to this - discontentment and ingratitude.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
He knew very well that God had forbidden only one tree. His intention was to take her focus off the MANY trees they were allowed to eat from and to focus instead on the ONE that was forbidden. This lies at the heart of discontentment and ingratitude.
If Eve had replied, “Oh, please! What does that one tree matter when we have got hundreds to eat from?” then Lucifer would have had to come up with another plan.
This brings us to the final weapon listed by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6.
Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet shod with the readiness which comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:13-18a NIV)
Prayers of praise and thanksgiving are a powerful weapon against the wiles of the devil.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice! ...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4, 6, 7 NIV) (And, once again, we are putting on our Shoes of Readiness which come with the Gospel of Peace!)
This is our second means of taking every thought captive - developing an attitude of gratitude.
- Counting your blessings may be a bit of a cliche, but it works!
You can do something as simple as sitting on a chair in your house while you look around at everything you have to be grateful for. You can be thankful that you have a chair, for starters. A roof over your head. Clothes on your back. A warm, comfortable bed. Family. Friends. Food. Electricity. Water. That you can walk. That you can talk. That you can see. That you can hear. That you can read. The list is endless.
Make it a habit. Every morning before you even get out of bed, spend time counting your blessings and thanking God for them.
- A second strategy is to gather Scriptures which express praise and thanks.
Here are a few to start you off: Psalm 9:1-2; 34:1-3; 100:4-5; 118:24; Isaiah 12:2; 61:10
You can start with just one. Make it your verse for the day. Write it out and put it where you go often, for example above the kitchen sink or stove, or possibly on your bathroom mirror. Read it out. Memorise it. Speak it out. Remember - faith comes by hearing!
If you have been struggling with negative emotions for years, this is not going to be an overnight victory. One verse will not wipe out years of fear, anger and/or depression. It will take courage and determination. There will still be bumps in the road and days when nothing seems to work. The important thing is NEVER GIVE UP!
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy… (Jn 10:10a NIV)
Don’t let him! Fight him! Draw that line in the sand. So far, Satan, and no further!
...but I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and life to the full. (Jn 10:10b NIV)
Jesus is your weapon.
With the knowledge of His truth in your mind, clothed in His righteousness, walking in His peace, holding up His faith, protected by the certainty of His love, wielding the Sword of the Spirit and with shouts of praise on your lips, you have everything you need to have abundant life - life to the full!
May God bless you with the peace which passes all understanding!