Posted by: Rina | September 2, 2009

A Word About Words

A Word About Words

If lies about our identity (who we think we are) exist, generally, it is because we have believed the words of another person.  The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me” is simply, not true.  Just ask any elementary school child that has been teased by others how harmful words can be on identity.  Many people still carry lies about themselves that they believed when they were children.  Lies like, I’m stupid, ugly, and nobody likes me.  Words carry tremendous soul-impacting power.  Lies about our identity exist because we have believed (or had faith in) what someone has spoken.  Once it is believed, oftentimes, we begin speaking it about ourselves.  This becomes a problem.  Proverbs 6:2  states, “Thou are snared by the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” (KJV)  Additionally, Jesus tells us, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man.” (Matthew 15:18).

In order for us to undo the identity that has been done, we must believe (have faith in) the words of someone else.  Only this time, we must choose to believe God.  God is Holy and He cannot lie.  If His Word states that we are something, then it must be true.  Even if I don’t know it or believe it ,God has still declared it to be true.  The problem is on my end and in order to fix it, I must begin to believe what God has said and I must begin to speak this over and about myself.

The Faith Factor

Faith releases Kingdom power, it is the currency of the Kingdom.  Just a tiny bit of faith can change any dynamic.  Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe (have faith in) that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24, italics mine).  Faith-filled words move the spiritual realm of God which them impacts the physical realm.  The centurion of Matthew’s gospel understood faith and authority, and its connection to the spoken word.  He says, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me,  And I say to this one, ‘Go” and he goes; and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes; and to my servant, ’Do this,’ and he does it.” (Matthew 8:8-9).  In essence, the centurion asks Jesus to exercise His Kingdom authority over disease and sickness by releasing a vocal command (words), which would guarantee a result.  There was no question in the centurion’s mind that if the order was given, it would be obeyed.  This is faith in the spoken word.  Jesus’ vocal command, coupled with the centurion’s faith, defeated the enemy’s stronghold in someone else’s life.  As if this weren’t incredible enough, the person who received the healing, the release of the power, wasn’t even present.  We know nothing about them.  The centurion’s faith in the spoken command of the King made this person whole and they had no idea what was even happening.  They just experienced the result.  How different our lives, the lives of our loved ones,  and our world would be if Christians grasped this concept and exercised it.

As we have just seen, words and voice are vehicles for releasing spiritual power.  Language and words operate in the invisible spiritual realm.  When words are spoken, they don’t function in the physical realm (they can’t be handled, moved, or seen) as they are invisible.  They are heard in the physical realm by the hearing sensation, but their transmission is of a spiritual mode.  Once can’t see the words, but one can feel the impact of them.  Jesus says, “My Words are Spirit and Life.” (John 6:63).  Hence, when a born-again Christian believes the Word of God and then speaks it, it has a transforming effect.

In order to understand the power of spiritual faith-filled words, we must go back to the beginning. When God created the universe, He did so by the spoken Word.  When detailing the creation, Genesis 1:3 states:  “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.”  There was a creative force that was released by God when He decreed this command.  Hebrews 11:3 states, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God…”  Combining Hebrews 11:3 and Genesis 1:3 we can conclude that there was a time when there was no light.  During this time, the only evidence that light would ever exist was God’s belief that after He spoke the command, it would then exist.  This is biblical and God-like faith. It is described as, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  God believed it before He saw it.  Science will tell us that “seeing is believing”; however, in the Kingdom of God, “believing is seeing.”  There was never any doubt in the mind of God that when He spoke the words, light would follow.  This is faith.  Therefore, God released this faith through a vocal command, “Light Be” (the exact rendering of the Hebrew of Genesis 1:3), and Light, followed.  This is the methodology that God used to create everything that exists.  He believed it, then He spoke it, and then, it came to pass.  What is so cool about God, is that He passed the same power to us.  Everything is Genesis one creates after “its kind”.  The same is true for God when He created humans.  Again, Jesus tells us, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24).

Paternal Power Passed to People

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in our image, according to our Likeness…” (Gen 1:26)

There are two powerful words used here to describe the attributes God created in mankind.  The first is the ward “image,” which is the Hebrew word “zelem.”  This word actually means “the image as a representation of deity,” and is most commonly translated, in scripture, as “idol.” (1)  This is an incredible statement about mankind.  When God created humans, He used Himself as a model and has placed us in a position of representation.  God created humans so that His invisible attributes could be clearly seen here on earth by mankind. (Romans 1:20)  We have been created as the “image-bearers” of God, and as such we are to represent His characteristics here on Earth.  With this in mind, God created man to have the same attributes that He, Himself, has and this includes His (and now our) power to effect the world by our spoken words.  This can be further understood by examining the second word used to describe the created attributes of man.

The second word use in this passage to describe humankind is the word “likeness.”  The Hebrew word is “demut” and is best translated “resemblance.”  It is likewise an interesting word, as it is the word that Ezekiel most often used to describe the theophonic appearances of God, “in the likeness of a son of man” (Ezekiel 1:26).  “Son of Man” is also the most common designation that Jesus used to identify Himself with humanity.   When God appears to humans in the Bible, He is seen in the likeness of themselves. (Ezekiel 1:26, Revelation 1:13)  This is because we are literally “created in His Image.”  (2)  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says:  “The word ‘likeness’ rather than diminishing the word ‘image’ actually amplifies it and specifies its meaning. Man is not just an image but a likeness-image. He is not simply representative but representational.  Man is the visible, corporeal representative of the invisible bodiless God.  ‘Demut’ guarantees that man is an adequate and faithful representative of God on earth.” (3)  What an amazing statement about who we are as humans!  We are the exact representative in the physical realm of who He is, in the spiritual realm.  We are the representative of God, and this is what make us completely different than any other creature ever created.  We are the image/likeness bearers of God.  God created us with this specific intent in mind.  His invisible attributes are clearly seen (Romans 1:20) when we examine the human being.  In essence, God, whose words created the world, created a human race whose words would also have power.  Adam’s first responsibility as the image bearer-representative of God was to name the creatures of the Earth.  “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them.  And whatever he called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19).  Again, the Theological Wordbook describes “naming”:  “Naming is sometimes an assertion of sovereignty over the thing being named…,  God presented the animals to Adam to assert his relative sovereignty over them.” (4)   Adam’s first job on earth was to inaugurate his dominion over the animals which was established by his spoken words.  Biblically, names are used to represent the nature of something (I Samuel 25:25).  Bill Johnson writes, “Adam was actually assigning to each animal its nature, its realm of authoti8y and the dimension of glory it would enjoy.  In reality, Adam’s assignment was to help define the nature of the world he was to live in.  This co-laboring role was a creative role, complimentary to God the Creator.” (5)  All of this, Adam did by the power of the spoken word.  It was the tool that God gave him to shape and to rule the world in which he was entrusted.  It should be no different with Christians.

As people, we posses a similar power to affect a change in ourselves, and in the lives of those around us as we release faith-filled, Spirit-inspired, words.  This dynamic duo of faith and speech is what we will use to transform our identity.  When we believe God and speak what He says, we will begin to further become like Him and less like us.  We will leave our old broken identity behind and lay hold of the glorious identity that He purchased for us at Calvary.

Endnotes

1.  Harris, Laird; Archer, Gleason; Waltke, Bruce; Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.  Chicago, IL, Moody Publishers, 1980.  Page 1923.

2.  Ibid, page 191.

3.  Ibid, page 192.

4.  Ibid, page 810.

5.  Johnson, Bill; Dreaming with God, Shippensburg, PA, Destiny Image Publshers, 2006, page 33-34.

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