We have the same faithful spirit as what is written in scripture: I had faith, and so I spoke. We also have faith, and so we also speak. 2 Corinthians 4:13 (CEB)
There is a strong connection between faith and speaking. It is not speech that merely fills the air with sounds; when we speak in faith, seas will part, and God will move mountains. Many people misunderstand faith, and as a result, it is misused and abused. Faith is a gift, but it can also grow.
There is no question regarding the importance of faith to the child of God: It is impossible to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT). Jesus spoke of “great faith” (Matthew 15:28, Luke 7:9) but also of “little faith.” (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, and so on.) We may find it interesting that the disciples were frequently scolded for their “little faith,” while it was the faith of the Canaanite woman in the Roman centurion that Jesus commended.
These “outsiders” demonstrated great faith with bold requests of Jesus for healing on behalf of others, but little faith resulted in expressions of fear, doubt, and bewilderment. Do we understand the connection between speaking out and faith?
Increase Our Faith
One of my favorite books (I have given out numerous copies over the years) is Ever Increasing Faith by Smith Wigglesworth. As the title suggests, faith can grow and increase. In Luke 17, Jesus was teaching about relationships and forgiveness. In somewhat of a non sequitur: The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5 (NIV). Perhaps the apostles recognized that it required more faith than they possessed, but in any case, it is always good to ask God to “Increase Our Faith.”
What do we have at our disposal that will cause our faith to increase? Wigglesworth wrote:
“The purpose of all Scripture is to move us on to this wonderful and blessed elevation of faith where our constant experience is the manifestation of God’s life and power through us.”
Our faith increases as we faithfully partake of God’s word. There will be something in us that stirs when we read the accounts of faith in action. However, reading and enjoying the exploits of faith will not in and of itself increase our faith. We must make our declarations of faith. Learn to speak faith.
In our text, Paul said that we possess the same faithful spirit illustrated by Scripture, but to put that faith into action, we must speak out of that faith. Paul intimates that he spoke faith in the past and is speaking faith presently and on into the future. In the same way that exercise increases the muscles in our bodies, practice and the proclamation of faith build our faith muscles.
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. Mark 11:22–23 (NLT)
At times, the problems that confront us seem as large as mountains. We pray, but sometimes we just beg God to do something about the overwhelming obstacle we face. Instead, take the authority you have been given as a follower of Christ and speak a word in faith, not directed to God, but at the seemingly immovable situation confronting you.
It may sound like a cliché, but whoever first said, “Stop telling God how big your problems are and start telling your problems how big your God is,” spoke the truth. Whatever you are facing may be more significant than your faith but join with other believers who are unafraid to “speak to the mountain.” And as we witness a mighty God, our faith will increase and grow.
Speak Faith (Boldly)
The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Jeremiah 1:7–9 (NLT)
Speaking on our own, without faith, is empty talk. The world, and sadly, even the church, is awash in meaningless chatter. Speaking in faith is not about eloquence. Articulation without power will not get the job done. Moses complained to God that he was not a gifted speaker. Paul said: My message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4–5 (NLT)
Jeremiah was reluctant because of his age and experience, but God cast all his hesitation aside: “say whatever I tell you.” God is looking for those who will not rely upon their own words, but on the words God gives them. God will put his words in our mouths.
An Unexpected, But Bold Request
The early church faced a “mountain” in the form of threats from the religious leaders of the day. They prayed, but perhaps not in a way that we might expect. They did not ask God to remove or silence those who opposed them; instead, they prayed that they might speak boldly:
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29–31 (NLT)
Speaking faith with boldness may land us in hot water with the world and probably even some in the church, but bold, audacious faith releases God’s power, and things will start shaking! Can I get an amen?
Photo: Steve Ekeroth, Aspen Grove, Utah