Affirmations – An affirmation is simply a declaration or proclamation that something is true. Coaching and the new age movement have borrowed the concept from the context of Biblical Christianity to help people change or get what they want… “I am a millionaire.” I want to suggest that affirmations are a spiritual principle that work, to some degree, even if you’re not a Christian. Unbelievers even quote the Bible to underscore it’s legitimacy. Here’s an example.
Proverbs 23:7 declares, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” declares Matthew 12:34. It further states that a good man, out of the goodness of his heart will produce that which is good, and vice versa. In other words the “law of attraction” is what you think about and talk about is what you will ultimately create. Jesus said in “whatsoever shall say… and not doubt in his heart…but shall believe what he says shall come to pass, shall have whatsoever he says.” This can work for us or against us, depending upon what’s going into our hearts and coming out of our mouths. We attract what is in our hearts and words.
In this newsletter we’re going to borrow affirmations back and put them in the right Biblical context so we can use them too.
How Faith Works – We understand faith as a sequence of understanding what God wants, articulating it in words (affirmation), and taking action on that direction. For believers, it all starts with knowing what you want (your heart’s desire) and finding the place where your own heart is expressing the purposes of God. It’s in that overlap of God’s will and your will that real faith occurs. If it’s just a servant’s obedience that doesn’t engage your will, you ultimately won’t be on board. God has designed us to operate out of our heart’s desire. (For more on that topic read Releasing Kings.)
The second step is, whatever we happen to believe naturally leaks out of our mouth!
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 NKJV Mt 12:34
Words have power – We’re created in God’s image and he simply “spoke” to create the universe. He still “calls into being that which does not exist.” (Rom 4:17). Jesus followed the same pattern. When he healed the sick, or cast out a demon, or calmed the seas, He simply spoke to the problem. When the centurion grasped that concept and asked Jesus to just speak the word so his servant would be healed, Jesus said He had never seen such great faith (Mt 8:8-10). Listen to Jesus speak to issues:
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. Ps 33:9
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Ps 107:20 KJV
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. Matt 8:16 “word” is Logos 3056 from NT:3004; something said (including the thought)
All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. Luke 4:36-37 NIV
“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:25 NIV
When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. Mark 11:13-14 NIV
You can do it too – Jesus was very clear in expecting us to do even greater miracles (Jn 14:12-14). One obvious question that arises is, “who does them?” Servants would logically pray and ask Jesus to do things. Kings would logically follow the pattern and speak to the mountains themselves. The disciples came back all excited because Jesus had given them authority and “even the demons submit to us in your name” (Lu 10:17-18). Get it? We’re supposed to use our words! That’s how the Kingdom works. We’ve been given more authority than we realize.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-25 NIV
Speaking to move mountains doesn’t mean we operate independently from God. “In Jesus name” implies we’re working with the purposes of God. We’ve all tried it with and without God. When we flow with the purposes of the Kingdom it feels like the wind of the Holy Spirit is in our sails. Our heart’s desire, our plans, and the purposes of God all flow toward us. And, when we encounter resistance, we have a sense of the bigger picture; the enemy is contesting the will of God and we’re part of a winning team… eventually!
A spirit of faith – When we begin to use our words, we move to different level of effectiveness in the Kingdom. The entire camp of Israel felt really small and powerless, “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” That’s when Caleb came up with an affirmation. He carried a “different spirit.” (Num 14:24)
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.” Num 13:30
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. Num 14:24 NIV
You can have a different spirit too. It’s called a spirit of faith in the New Testament. The spoken affirmation is just one part. We believe because we know the purpose of God; we speak what we believe, and then we take action and do whatever is required to bring the plan into existence.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 2 Cor 4:13 KJV
Examples – When I thought about the concept of words and affirmations, I realized that I’ve carried a couple of affirmations in my heart that have shaped actions since my late teens.
As a youngster growing up in a small Montana town, basketball was a huge emphasis in the winter. In my primary grades, I sat with my friends and idolized the seniors. We emulated their shots and moves for years until we got the chance to play. In my case, our team never lost a home game in two years. Although it was a small conference in a rural community, we won our district championship twice and I was the first pick on the all-conference team. For the rest of my life, I’ve carried this belief or affirmation and applied it every time I found someone else doing something I wanted to emulate.
“If they can do it, so can I. I might even be able to do it better.”
I’ve also had my share of things going wrong. My 4-H horse got injured the night before a show. (He won his class the following year). My mother died of cancer when I was 16 (That was the event that triggered my salvation at 18). In college I dated a girl for two years who decided to drop me when we graduated (I met Sue a few months later). My company lost its contract and laid me off after nearly 30 years of service (that’s when I had time to write Releasing Kings). Can you see the pattern? Every time something bad happens, God shows up and resurrects the situation into something good. So I’ve always held this affirmation.
“If a door closes, it just means God has something better.” (Rom 8:28)
Use your words – We can’t afford to be negative with our words. We have to use them to make our dreams come true, to prophetically reverse bad situations, and to contend for the Kingdom. We don’t just watch events unfold. We play a role in shaping the future. Our words build us up or tear us down. So now, I’m consciously crafting spoken affirmations to achieve God’s and my desires.
PS: Can you see why it’s important to compliment other people? Our words build them up or tear them down. We don’t just complement their actions, we can use words to prophecy their future and reinforce God’s plan and their dream.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 NIV
Can you see how praying in the Holy Spirit can build you up… why praying in tongues edifies?
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Jude 20 NIV
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Cor 14:4 KJV
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 1 Cor 14:14 KJV
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 1 Cor 14:18 KJV