The Heart, The Word, The Sword, and Faith

heart cloud

This is an attempt to dig a little deeper into how to use the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit and its  relationship to faith and the heart.  This can only be the at best a short outline, but hopefully, will be useful.

Romans 10:17  So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

 

Before the fall, Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the evening.

They had heard things like this from God.

Genesis 1:28   God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.

Genesis 2:16 Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

 

The serpent came along, sowed doubt, Adam and Eve disobeyed, and the Fall of mankind in the Garden occurred.  You can read the whole account in the first few chapters of Genesis.   No matter what the topic, the serpent sows doubt as to the truth of God’s Word.

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

 

Fast fowarding to today.

Jesus came to undo what happened in the Garden.  He did undo what happened in the Garden.

There is one important key.   Even though Jesus Christ offers a complete salvation, it has to be individually asked for, received, and applied.

There are a lot of examples that could be given to help illustrate the point.  Here’s one.  If you have a car, and a key to the car, but you don’t put the key into the ignition, and turn the key, neither the key nor the car will do you any good.  I know, now there are some keyless cars, but walk back in time a little for the application.

So this brings us to the Word of God, how to use it as a key, or as the Bible says, as the Sword of the Spirit.

The Word of God does several things.  It builds faith because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God preached in a church, a podcast, or wherever it is preached.  It also builds faith when you say the Word of God out of your own mouth to yourself…in your home, getting ready for work, washing dishes, walking by the way…the Word of God out of your mouth goes into your ears and hearing the Word of God builds faith.

But how do you use the Word on a regular basis when problems come?   This is where the rubber meets the road.

Now this only applies to believers, because only they have access to the promises of God.  You have to be born again to have access to the promises of God through Jesus Christ.

For the Word of God to work in your life as an effective tool, as the Sword of the Spirit against lies, you have to settle that there is one truth about any situation.

That is the Word of God.

The Word of God covers all sorts of situations.  There are all sorts of promises of every kind from health to provision to emotional healing to deliverance to family and more.  You have to find the ones that apply to what you are dealing with and then, you have to count on it as the final word.

Think about Adam and Eve in the garden.  It really wasn’t hard for them to believe that God was good.  God had created a beautiful garden.  It wasn’t hard to believe that their needs were supplied.  The Lord God had told them they could eat of any tree of the garden.  It wasn’t hard to believe that they were healthy.  They were created perfect, in the image of God, in the prime of life.  There was neither sin, sickness, nor death prior to the fall.  All was perfect.

So in a sense Adam and Eve did not have the same challenge of faith that we have.  Everything around them was beautiful and perfect.  Nevertheless, in spite of that perfection, the serpent still lied to them, they believed the lie, disobeyed, and they fell.

Due to the fall, sin, sickness and death entered the world.

When Jesus came, He restored the ability for mankind to partake of the promises of God.  However, it is not automatic.  And this is where the Word has to become food, faith, a sword, and an examiner of the heart.  And now, in a sense, we have to do the reverse.  We are in the midst of a fallen world.  Jesus holds out the promises of God to us, the perfect promises of God, and we have to believe in spite of what we see, hear, or feel.  It’s a different kind of challenge.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

When you read the Word of God, what do you believe?  Do you believe what you are reading?  Or do you doubt?  Because it is faith that inherits the promises.

Sometimes the Bible is used in a “that’s nice” type of sense, but not as a sword to win a battle.  In other words, you read the Bible, you’re drinking your coffee, that sounds nice,  it makes you feel better, and that’s good.

But you may still have a battle to win.

Sometimes we don’t always feel good.

In the battles of life, when you don’t feel on top of things you need to use the Bible, the Word of God as a sword.  Jesus used “it is written” to defeat satan and we must also.

How do we do this?

First of all, when you read the Bible, or when you go to church, take note of those verses that are particularly meaningful to you in a situation you are going through.  Whenever you notice something, you may not need it right then, but the Holy Spirit might be pointing it out to you for the future.  Take note of it.  Make your own personal notebook of promises unique to your situation.  You have to have a promise to offset the problem.  Find the promises that are meaningful to you for the problems that you are facing.

Finally, in your heart, at the very bottom of any situation, which is actually in the bottom of your heart as to what you believe and choose, it is what you believe, what you choose to believe,  it is  in the heart where you have to decide, what is true?  Are my feelings true?  Is my circumstance true?  Is the Word of God true?

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence,
    for out of it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23 Above every charge keep thy heart, For out of it [are] the outgoings of life.  (Young’s)

Proverbs 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  (KJV)

Proverbs 4:23 (multiple verisions for comparison)

The heart, and what you believe in your heart, is the “heart” of the issue for out of the heart flow thoughts, words, and actions.

It may be true that there are clouds in the sky.  It is also true the the sun is shining behind the clouds and that the clouds may be moved away by the wind.  Circumstances can change.  God’s Word is immoveable.

So yes, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.  But being born again does not automatically renew  our minds.

The Apostle Paul says this in the book of Romans.

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

So even if your spirit is born again, you can still have lies come to your mind.

Psalm 58:3  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

 

You can be newly born as a new creation in Christ, but if you continue to speak the lies of the past and things contrary to the Word of God, it will lead you astray.  This is why it is imperative to understand these issues of the mind and heart at the beginning.  Like Jonah, there can always be a course correction, but it is easier not go get off course in the first place.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and faith is related to our believing and faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Isaiah 53:1  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  (KJV)

Matthew 9:29  Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”

 

To receive, we have to remain stable in believing the Word of God.  Stable.  Steadfast.  Immoveable.  Without doubting.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For that man shouldn’t think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

Do we need to do anything else?  Maybe.  This is where prayer is more than asking God to solve a problem, but asking and listening for guidance.    Some people keep prayer diaries or write things down.  They can look things over later.  Certain scriptures or directions may be repeated as time progresses.  Also, if you write things down that are distracting your mind, like, “I have to remember to pay that bill today”, it will clear your mind so you can keep your mind centered on prayer and hearing God.  Then you can deal with those issues later.

Ephesians 6:13  Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

The only way we can know if we have “done all’ is to keep seeking God for any particular guidance in any particular situation.  For example, if you are dealing with a financial issue, consider if you have been tithing on a regular basis.  For finances, that would be one thing to do as part of “having done all”.

But if you feel  you are the point where the “having done all” is covered, then stand.  Stand knowing the Word of God is the final authority and as you use it the way Jesus did, saying “it is written”, as the Sword of the Spirit as it talks of in Ephesians, then faith is built and faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Matthew 4:  But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth.’”

Ephesians 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

 

A scripture I like to remember to stay focused on the promises of God is this one.  In other words, don’t look at the circumstance or how you feel.

Jonah 2:8  Those who regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

 

Remember what was said earlier about finding promises that are meaningful to you?  Or another way to say that is to find those verses that keep you on track so you stay focused on the Word of God.  Depending on the circumstance, the verses could be different, but the principle is the same.  Ultimately, you have to know that the Word of God is the final authority and settle that in your heart.

Here is an example of  using the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit.   (This is a true example.)

Not too long ago I was suddenly feeling quite unwell, which is unusual as I walk in divine health.  I felt badly enough that I was going to call a prayer line, also unusual as I usually prefer to deal with things myself.  I had a prayer line number written on a piece of paper on a window sill because I had been told once to write it down, so I had.  I stood up, picked the piece of paper up, and I felt so badly it slipped out of my hand and drifted onto the table as I sat back down in the chair.  No longer having the number in hand and not really having the motivation to pick it up since I felt so badly, I simply started quoting the Word of God.  It is written, “by Jesus stripes I am healed.”   I watched the time.   I was positive that Jesus already paid for healing at the cross.  It was not a matter of questioning (as is sometimes done), well, maybe God will grant my prayer today, maybe not.  No, healing is a done deal but we do have to resist the lies of satan otherwise.  Satan is a defeated foe and it can take a bit of time to win the battle.  Lazurus was dead four days before Jesus came on the scene.  Jesus resurrected in three days.  The disciples dealt with the storm for a while before Jesus stilled it.  Times differ with different problems.   So I just continued to say, “by Jesus’s stripes I am healed”.  The fact of the matter is, for a while there I couldn’t have done much else since I didn’t feel well and it was a bit hard to begin speaking.  You know, sometimes it is hard to speak when you are not feeling well.  But I continued.  And somewhere between 12 and 18 minutes I began to feel better and within 18 minutes it was over.  I felt well and went on and did whatever had to be done that day.  But that was from a situation of feeling so bad that I was ready to call a prayer line and then didn’t because I was so weak that the number fell out of my hand to being up and about.

And it doesn’t have to be healing.  Problems come in sorts of sizes and disguises.  You have to have find the Word of God to deal with the problem.  You have to find the Word of God or promise of God unique to your problem.  You have to be a believer who is born again to be able to access the promises of God.   You have to decide that “Forever, O Lord, your Word is settled in heaven,” and that “You have magnified your Word about your name”.   You have to decide all this and settle it in your heart, and stand with “it is written”,  for God watches over his Word to perform it.

For a while what you feel or what it  looks like may not match what you think the  promises says.  But faith  comes by hearing and faith is the substance of things hoped for and if you know the Word of God is the final truth about any situation, sooner or later, the Word of God becomes the hammer that breaks in pieces the rock of a situation.

Am I saying that all healing is that quick? No.

Is it easy?  No.

Some things are easier than others, but it is not necessarily easy.

Jesus likened the soil of the heart to various types producing 30, 60, or 100-fold.  Even in the same person, a person may receive answers in one area easier than in other areas.   We have to keep working on the soil of our hearts in all areas by the washing of the water of the Word and the hearing of the Word.  It does both.

There are times in the Bible where people were healed immediately, where Jesus prayed for someone twice, where “as they went their way they were healed”, and where they were healed by speaking the Word.

This goes back to the discussion of “having done all, stand.”  So how do you know if you have done all?

Practice.  Keep praying.  Keep reading the Bible.  Keep going to church.  Keep listening to sermons.  Keep applying the things you learn.  Tithe.  Keep listening for God’s answers to problems as you pray.

It’s like learning to ride a bike.  A person can try to tell you how fast to pedal, to sit up straight, and try to walk with you while you get going learning to ride.   And you might try a few times and fall down.  But after a while you get a sense what you need to do to keep riding the bike.

With faith, you will get a sense of if there is something you need to do or how to approach it.  You gain experience.

Then there are other ways to deal with sickness.  It is how the Spirit of God leads you.

James 5:13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

 

As stated in the very beginning, this can only touch on this very large topic.  But hopefully, it is helpful.


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