In my previous post, I dealt with the common misconception that faith is positive thinking and positive confession. Biblical faith is all about fixing your eyes on Jesus – on Who He is, His power and His authority – and is not based on your thinking or your words. This means that you cannot say or imagine whatever you want and make it happen. We do not have such power or authority. Faith is about Jesus’ power and authority. When He speaks, it happens. God alone has the power to say “light” and create light! We simply do not have that power. However there is a common false teaching so rampant in Christianity today, which teaches that you have power within you – or that God has given you that power – to imagine, speak and make things happen. And that false teaching is what I’ll address in this post:
This false teaching has penetrated pulpits and churches across the world. It is not from the Bible. It has its roots in a New Age Satanic teaching called “Law of Attraction” which teaches that in order to change a condition or situation, you need to change your mind, your thinking, your words. Christians who did not understand Biblical faith have taken this idea and adopted it with superficial Bible-language. Whereas Biblical faith is all about Jesus, this counterfeit faith teaching makes the whole faith affair all about your words, your thinking, your confession, your authority and your power. They frequently emphasize that your words have power and that your words or way of thinking can change situations (financial or relationship) and conditions (sickness or poverty). Does the Bible really teach such a thing? Let us study.
Speaking in Jesus’ Name
Firstly, not everything you say in “Jesus’s Name” is going to happen. The Name of Jesus is not a magic wand that you can wield to accomplish whatever you want. The Name of Jesus is not a Christian’s personal rubber stamp. Along with the authority of Jesus’ Name comes the burden and responsibility of His Kingdom. He has given us the authority to accomplish things for the glory of His Name and His Kingdom – not yours or mine. We must first understand and take this to our hearts. Only what God wills and ordains for His Glory and His kingdom will come to pass – not everything someone says in Jesus’ Name. God is not your servant who is bound to do something just because you attach the Name of Jesus to a request or declaration. We cannot say a thousand things in Jesus’ name like throwing darts in the dark expecting that some of them might hit the bull’s eye! Unfortunately that is how many televangelists and self-proclaimed prophets abuse the name of Jesus and teach others to do so.
An example is how hundreds of “prophets” predicted, declared and prophesied, saying that Donald Trump would be re-elected as the President of the USA in 2021. Nothing happened. Hundreds of prophets spoke, declared and decreed in Jesus’ Name but nothing happened – Joe Biden became the President. Does the Name of Jesus lack power or authority? No! Not at all! The truth is that those self-proclaimed prophets were simply taking Jesus’ Name in vain! They were simply proclaiming their own agenda in Jesus’ Name and never had any divine revelation from God. Few of those false prophets came out and apologized but others have been unrepentant. The crux of the matter is this – not everything a person says in Jesus’ Name is going to happen.
Faith is not saying anything in Jesus’ Name that it might be done. As I just showed, false prophets said lots of things about Trump and nothing happened. Why? Because they did not truly hear from God. God was not the source of their declaration. True faith has its source in God’s revelation and character. For you or anyone to declare something and for that to come to pass, one of the following must hold true:
1. God must have ordained it and revealed it.
2. It must be based on God’s character as revealed in His written word.
This is how everything always happened in the Bible.
Let us look at an example from the Bible and see this truth in action.
Elijah in the Valley of Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37:4-6 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
The false teaching following the above passage goes like this: “Ezekiel confessed, declared, decreed and spoke to the dead bones and they came alive! Therefore, speak into your situations – spiritual, financial or whatever – and they will change as you say! You have power within you! God has given it to you! Unleash words in faith!”
As good as it may sound, it is but half-truth. Let us read what Ezekiel was thinking before that happened:
Ezekiel 37:3 And he [the Lord] said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”
Ezekiel had no clue whether these bones could live or not! He answered neither yes nor no! Ezekiel did not have any power within him to make things happen! The dead bones came to life only because God ordained so and chose to give life. Ezekiel had faith in what God said and then he prophesied.
Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
Ezekiel was only saying what God was going to do. His words did not make anything happen. God’s power did. Ezekiel had no confidence in his own ability or power. Ezekiel had no supernatural power to speak and give life with words. Nor did he go around giving life to dead bones again and again! This happened only once – and God was doing it.
Let me show you more examples from Scripture.
Elijah and the Famine
1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
Here Elijah seems to be declaring and bringing to pass, a famine. But let us search the Bible and look further into the New Testament:
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
Here you’ll find that Elijah is not speaking and making things happen. James interprets the Old Testament passage as Elijah praying to God. When Elijah prayed with a burden over Israel’s spiritual deterioration and idolatry, God answered him by sending a famine so that His people might repent. Elijah’s words had no power – James surely does not interpret or teach so. The early Christians never believed such a thing.
The Bible does not teach anywhere, “Decree, declare and confess, and anything will happen!”. As I said earlier, such teachings come from the Satanic New Age belief system – it teaches that your words have power (Sadly, many popular preachers teach the same thing). On the other hand. the Bible teaches that Jesus has all power and authority – and when we ask for His Glory, His purpose and His Kingdom, He answers.
Joshua and the Sun
Joshua 10:12-14 At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.
Here the Bible says explicitly that Joshua spoke to the Lord and after God had answered, he declared like Elijah or Ezekiel did. And Joshua did not have any power to stop or move the sun at his own will anytime. God did it only once in response to an earnest request, again, for His Glory.
Faith talk in the Gospels
Biblical faith begins with God’s revelation, His Word and His will. If God has not ordained it, nothing you say or imagine will come to pass. What many popular televangelists and false prophets do is quote only from the Gospel of Matthew and rip off the context:
Matthew 17:19-20 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 21:20-22 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Matthew seems to say that you have got the power to say and bring things to pass. But the Gospel of Mark contains the all-important phrase “Have faith in God”.
Mark 11:21-24 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Jesus first says, “Have faith in God”. Faith needs a source to draw from – and that source is God Himself! It may be God’s will, His revelation, His Word or His character. God is the object of our faith. Our needs, words or imagination cannot become the source of faith. Our faith or declaration always follows God’s revelation. This logic is prevalent throughout the Scriptures:
Matthew 16:15-17 He[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Peter could only say what the Father had revealed to him – there was no other way he could have come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Son of God. We have no power or truth in us. God is Truth and all power belongs to Him. And His revelation must be the source of any declaration for it to be true or for it to come to pass. Consider the example of Noah and Abraham. Their faith was based on God’s revelation.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark…
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go…
Abraham didn’t come up with plans to leave his hometown nor did Noah conjure a plan to build an arc on his own. God first told them what to do. Before Abraham obeyed, he was called to go. Before Noah built an arc, he was warned about things to come. Their actions of faith followed God’s calling and warning. God’s revelation always comes first. Faith is merely the response to God’s revelation. Faith is not a power that you possess.
Faith based on God’s character
There are lot of examples in the Bible where people who spoke or did things did not have God’s revelation. But their actions or words were based on God’s character. And things happened as they said or did. Observe Abraham and Sarah here:
Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
The Scripture says that they considered God to be faithful and able. Their eyes were on God. They knew what kind of a person God is. They acted without God’s revelation but knew God’s character.
Can we say or do things in “faith” ?
In all incidents in the Bible, God’s revelation or His answer or His will comes first. Or people spoke and acted based on who He is. You are not the source of power or any solution. You cannot initiate anything directly by invoking God’s Name. God is not bound to fulfill whatever man declares in Jesus’ Name. Next time you hear a preacher say that if you have problems in life, you must declare and decree solutions in Jesus’ Name, you may know for sure that he is an impostor who does not really know God. Such teachings come from the pit of Hell. Any teaching of faith that teaches you to focus your attention on your words, is not from God and is of the Devil. Summarizing my previous post and this one, here’s a simple comparison of what Biblical and counterfeit faiths looks like:
|Biblical Faith||Counterfeit Faith|
|God’s Revelation and Character is the|
source of faith
|Your word, imagination and thinking|
are the source of faith
|If you need more faith,|
you need to know Jesus more
|To have more faith, you|
must remove negative thoughts and words
|You need to walk with Jesus|
intimately to grow in faith
|You need to manipulate yourself|
to think and speak positively
Biblical faith grows as you seek to know Jesus more each day by meditating on God’s word and having fellowship with Him through prayer. On the other hand, counterfeit faith works through mental manipulation. Here’s how meditation (what the Bible teaches) and manipulation differ:
|When you focus on Jesus, on who He is and|
on knowing and doing His will,
then it is meditation.
|When you focus on your need and|
on what you want to achieve and become,
then it is manipulation.
|Meditation renews your mind|
because Jesus is your focus
|Manipulation will end in disappointment|
if you don’t get what you’re looking for
|Meditation exalts Jesus and|
seeks to glorify His Name
|Manipulation is idolatry and|
is only focused on answers
I encourage you to read through all of Scripture and not base your understanding on just two or three passages. If you know what Biblical faith is, you will not practice or fall prey to New Age teachings disguised in Biblical language. If you’re ignorant, you’ll end up being disappointed or deluded. If you keep declaring things in line with “false” faith and nothing happens, you’ll be disappointed and injure your faith. Or you might choose to ignore reality, manipulate yourself and continue saying things in a state of mental delusion. You’ll become blind and spiritually numb inside gradually while putting on false clothes of religiosity outside. I pray that the Lord will open your eyes to see the Truth that sets you free.