Back to Basics: Faith Life
Words are important. Words have power. Words can be used to hurt or bless. The power of words extend far beyond emotional impact.
As believers, our words have a supernatural impact. What we say has the power to change circumstances and shape destinies.
Our words are our declaration of faith in God. Our declaration isn’t one based on human whims and wants but on the very Word of God.
In 2018, God led Trinity back to basics in the areas of our Prayer life, Word life, and Spirit life.
While many of us have deepened in these areas, God is still drawing us to go deeper in these areas so that we can establish and strengthen our faith life in 2019. When we talk about faith life, one important aspect of that has to do with our words.
What do we declare to ourselves and to one another? There is power of life and death in our words (Proverbs 18:21)!
What we speak forth can either build up or tear apart.
Beyond impacting feelings, our words have supernatural power to create and orchestrate change.
The principle of the transformational power of words can be seen in the creation of the world.
In Hebrews 11:3, we read that, “By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command [His words], so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
The Bible also tells us that, “In the beginning… the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” (Genesis 1:1-2)
“Then God said…”
As He spoke the word, creative and supernatural power started to shape our world. When God said, “Let there be light” (verse 3) there was light. When God said “Let the land produce flora and fauna” (verses 11, 20, 24), the earth was filled with vegetation and living creatures.
When God said, “Let us create mankind in our image” (verse 26), out came Adam and Eve. It is important we understand that we are created in God’s image. There is great significance in how God made us! We are not made equal with the rest of creation. Dogs, cats, cows, and sheep may have the ability to make noise but they can’t speak.
Just as God spoke things into creation, God has given mankind the ability and authority to use words. That is why our words are so important, for our declaration will take us into our destiny.
As we study Numbers 13 and 14, we will see how the declaration of God’s word determined the destinies of the Israelites.
In Numbers 13:1, God told Moses to “send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
Two important truths to note from this verse:
First, three key words – “I am giving.” This shows us that the land is a promise from God. A certainty. A done deal.
Second, the men chosen to explore the land were not recruits. They were leaders representing their tribes. God was entrusting this reconnaissance mission to the crème de la crème.
Without referring to the Bible, how many of these leaders can you recall off the top of your head? For most of us, we can only remember two: Joshua and Caleb. The rest are just known as “spies.”
We don’t remember the other 10 because their declaration took them into a destiny of death. For Joshua and Caleb, their declaration brought them into their destiny.
In this year of building our faith life, it’s important that we understand the power of our words. Instead of speaking words of death, we must make conscious and consistent efforts to speak the Word of God – words of life. We must learn to declare in ways that will bring us into our destiny.
Let’s continue to look at Numbers 13.
In verse 26, the spies returned from their exploration and brought along with them evidence of excellent produce of the land. Their confession took a turn in verse 28 with the word, “but.”
From there, everything negative and impossible flowed from the 10 spies in increasing distortion and exaggeration.
You become what you declare
It is very important for us to be conscious of our declaration.
In verse 33, the 10 spies declared that, ”We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
We must understand the spiritual principle that the confession of our lips shapes the person we become.
Even the songs we sing impact our destiny! Worship is a powerful declaration.
You become what you declare. We see this principle operating from the very beginning of our relationship with God.
You become who you are through the confession of your lips.
Zero or hero
Whether you become a zero or a hero is dependent on your declaration.
Even though the 10 spies were leaders, their declaration of being grasshoppers allowed fear and doubt to set in their hearts.
As a result, they never moved into their destiny – zeroed out.
On the other hand, Caleb and Joshua’s confession moved them into the Promise Land – testament as heroes of faith for us to learn from.
Fruitfulness or fruitlessness
Whether you enjoy the fruits of God’s provision or the fruitlessness of your strife is dependent on your confession.
The Promised Land had great produce, flowing with milk and honey.
It was available to them, promised to them, yet unclaimed and rejected through their confession.
Step in or detour
Whether you step into your destiny or go on a long detour is linked to your declaration.
We know this to be true as the negative declaration of the 10 spies caused a 40-year delay for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land.
An entire generation was derailed from their destiny!
Your confession will affect others
Numbers 13:32, tells us that the 10 spies “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.”
Their bad report of impossibility, spread fear and despair, and caused “weeping from the community.” (Numbers 14:1)
Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.
What we declare in our families and communities has tremendous impact on those who hear what we say. Today, we have so many platforms where communities gather – WhatsApp chatgroups, social media posts, and face-to-face communications.
Church, we cannot be careless with our words, and hide behind the illusive protection of our screens. What we share and how we respond, whether in physical get-togethers or on digital platforms, carries weight!
Your confession can inspire others to greater faith
Many powerful testimonies were shared during Watchnight service. Their confessions impacted fellow Trinitarians to arise in faith.
Rachel Yeo, a young working professional shared how she was encouraged by the testimonies – reminders of God’s faithfulness and power for what is to come. She was also challenged to pray for and declare over her family and work situations: that facts would not determine her destiny and her faith.
Dominic Phua, who is serving national service shared the following: “The testimony by Candy Fang really impacted me when she shared how though her circumstances did not change, she was not afraid because she knew that God is with her.” He continued to share how he was challenged to declare faith and not run away from God in times of trials and temptations.
Your confession can dampen or kill someone else's faith
Spewing negativity. Grumblings against God. Words that dishonor leadership.
That’s what the 10 spies did. Even Caleb’s attempt to encourage and shout faith was drowned out by the noise of the 10.
Their collective negative confession caused the entire camp to focus on the problem and forget about the promise.
Their confession rendered the God who unleashed 10 plagues and parted the Red Sea smaller than the “giants” of the land.
There’s no bigger killer of faith than someone who considers a move of God to be coincidence.
We have all heard of the phrase “don’t be a kill-joy.” In this case, don’t be a kill-faith.
Your confession is either a weight of despair or a fift
Do you prefer to hang around people who are positive or people who complain all day? I’m sure many of us would rather be in the presence of people who are encouraging and speak life.
Similarly, are your confessions constantly a dead weight or a lifter of heads?
As children of God, do our confessions reflect our faith?
If we are going to grow in our faith life, you and I must learn to declare in ways that inspire and encourage. Out of our mouths must come the very words of God.
When we speak, our words should seek to bring life.
Proverbs 15:4 tells us “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
Facts should not determine your confession
The fact was that the people occupying the Promised Land were big and strong.
The fact was that the 10 spies insisted it was impossible to conquer and drive out the inhabitants of the land.
But none of the facts prevented Caleb from his confession of faith in the promises of God.
While we live in a world of facts, we cannot allow facts to determine our confession.
Let’s look at these formulas.
That’s why Caleb’s response was so different.
He wore the lenses of faith. When he spied on the land, he remembered it was a land that God is giving to them. That gave him courage to speak up against the bad report of the majority. It gave him courage to declare a miracle in the face of negative facts.
Conquering new ground will always involve push-back from the occupants of the land. Advancing the Kingdom of God will always involve challenges in removing the old high places and establishing new altars.
While challenges and opposition are facts, it does not mean that God is not in our situations. Many times, we think bad news is a closed door. Rather, they are opportunities for the greatest work of God to happen in our lives!
Facts are the realities of life, but not the determinant of the supernatural life.
Facts are the realities of life, but not the ingredients of the miraculous life.
Facts are the realities of life, but not the essence of the abundant life.
If we want to walk in the supernatural, miraculous, and abundant life, our confessions have to be based not on facts but on our faith in our Almighty God.
Many of us want the supernatural, miraculous, and abundant life. However, we stop at the confession of facts. We “agree” with the facts by our declaration of impossibility and negativity.
“I’ll never be promoted.”
“The doctors say I have cancer.”
“My marriage is on the rocks.”
It’s important you realize the denomination of your confession has nothing to do with facts but truths!
The reason Caleb was so confident in possessing the Promised Land was because he held on to the truth of God’s faithfulness and power.
Do you know the Word?
Do you know what it says about you and your destiny in God?
Do you know what it says about who God is and what He is able to do?
It’s important you realize the denomination of your confession has nothing to do with facts but everything to do with faith.
The facts are still there. The circumstances do not change. But faith is how we appropriate the truth.
Faith is putting trust in who God is.
Faith is taking the Word of God and declaring it.
It is important we grow in our faith life so that we will see the impossible happen.
The declaration of truth leads to life
From Numbers 13:30 and 14:7-9, the Bible records for us the declarations of truth from Caleb and Joshua.
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’”
- Numbers 13:30
Their declaration pleased God tremendously as
Numbers 14:24 tells us, “But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly,
I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”
While there were two facts of the land: the presence of strong opposition and a land flowing with milk and honey. Joshua and Caleb chose to declare truth based on God’s promises and not plain facts.
Their declaration of truth allowed them and their descendants to experience life and step into their destiny. What happens when we declare plain facts instead of truth?
The declaration of facts alone leads us to unbelief
“The land we explored devours”
“All the people there are of great size”
“We seemed like grasshoppers”
As the 10 spies spoke, unbelief grew and their negative confession drowned out their faith and the faith of their tribes.
The declaration of facts alone leads us to rebellion
As they dwelled upon their declarations of the impossible, unbelief set in. Rebellion followed. Their negative declarations became a foothold for the lies of the enemies to enter. Their negative declarations challenged the very character of God.
Numbers 14:2-4 and 10 show how blinded the people had become:
“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to each other, ‘We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt’…But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.”
Not only did they grumble against leadership, they wanted the leaders killed and replaced!
The constant declaration of pure facts will lead to an assassination of God’s character and a rebellion of our hearts. Treating God with contempt is a very dangerous place to be in.
The declaration of facts alone leads us to death
In Numbers 14:37 we read that “these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord.”
While we thank God that there is great grace available for us in Christ, but our confession has great repercussions.
While God forgave the 10 spies and their tribes, He did not permit them to enter the Promised Land (14:23). In short, they failed to step into their destiny.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live out the full life God has for me. It’s not enough for me to simply live as a forgiven child of God. That is not God’s plan for you and me.
The declaration of facts alone leads to missing our destinies
The deaths of the 10 spies and their tribes meant “game over” – the end of their destinies.
May our confessions not cause us to miss out on our calling in life. Don’t settle with living in spiritual poverty.
Choose to step into the miraculous blessings and abundance of God! Be people who walk in the supernatural and fulfill your God-given destiny.
Your destiny is in your confession
There is power in words. There is power in our choice of words. There is a weight of divine authority in our words. What we confess has supernatural power to change destinies. The ending of the story in Numbers 14 tells us that “only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.”
The 10 who spread the bad report died.
“So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it – these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.” Numbers 14:36-38
If you want life, you must confess it.
What are the promises and destinies that God has in store for us?
Your destiny is a destiny of life
John 10:10 tells us where the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, God has come to give us life and have it to the full!
Your destiny is a destiny of abundance
Deuteronomy 28:12 tells us that, “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.”
Your destiny is a destiny of God’s protection
Psalm 91:9-11, 14-16 tells us that, If you say, 'The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways... ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.’”
Your destiny is not found by reflecting on your past but upon the Word of God. Reflecting on the past should only serve as a reminder to thank God for what He has done. Your destiny is found by looking forward to what God will do in the future.
Your destiny is not found in rationalizing how God works.
Your destiny is a journey of faith where you trust in God’s ways and plans.
Your destiny is not found in your personal ambitions or desires. It is not about you psyching yourself up or telling God that things must go a certain way.
Your destiny is found in having a deep-seated conviction of what God wants you to do and where He wants you to be.
In 2001, I told Pastor Dowdy of my desire to resign from Trinity and relocate my family to Vancouver. I had even psyched up my wife to agree to this plan!
In a trip to Romania, a friend told me to stop running away. “Pastor Dowdy is the Elijah,” he said, “and you are the Elisha.”
On the flight back home, I realized that I was running away from my destiny.
I was trying to reason myself out of it because I reminisced and wanted a certain lifestyle.
But I’m glad my friend spoke a word of truth.
And I’m thankful that I changed my declaration of trying to convince myself otherwise into one of submission to God’s will and plan.
What will your declaration be?
As God builds our faith life, remember there is great power in our confession that affects what we become.
Our confession will affect others – our families, our communities, our church, even our nation.
Our confession cannot be one based on facts alone, but on truth founded on who God is and what He says He will do.
Our destiny is in our declaration. Let’s go back to basics, speak faith, and build our faith life!
This article first appeared in Issue 01/2019, Trinitarian Magazine.
Reflect & Respond
What have you been declaring in the challenging situations you face?
Choose a situation you are currently in – how would you now declare God’s truths into the situation?