What if we discovered that it is not others who are holding us back, or even our situation, but rather, that we are limiting ourselves! That is exactly what the Lord spoke to me that prompted these articles. He did so by challenging me to REQUEST A PROPHETIC WORD speak only those things He has said about my family and ministry. I had recently seen a multitude of very serious problems arising in almost every area of the vision the Lord had put into my heart for my loved ones and calling. I found that I was dwelling more and more on the increasing severity and complexity of these challenges. It was then that the Lord spoke very clearly that it is not these serious issues that are controlling and holding back the purposes of God, but rather, my increasing failure to speak the prophetic words the Lord has given me over the years.
Timothy 1:18 (KJV)
18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare.
In reality, all of us are called to change the situation and environment with which we find ourselves surrounded. That is one of the reasons the Lord saved us. Indeed, we are to be the “salt of the earth” everywhere we live, work, and even relax. Salt by its very nature affects whatever it contacts. Salt not only preserves and keeps things from rotting but also gives great flavor when it is added in the right amounts.
In this article, we are looking at the second of four truths that are necessary if we are to take the limitations off of our lives. Let us list them again.
- Our thought life
- How we speak
- How we handle our trials and tests
- Our correct understanding of the Fatherhood of God
We have stated that it is not our circumstances that limit us, neither is it those who seemingly oppose us, but rather, it is our own words that bring strong limitations into our lives. Remember this, we will never rise above what we say with our words. Words are powerfully freeing or are unbearably binding. Our words can create a true garden of Eden or bondage of slavery that is unimaginably limiting. If Eve would have simply spoken to the serpent the words, “God is good and He is good all the time,” the earth would have been spared the horrors of sin. If she would have correctly quoted the word of God, everything would be different today. If Adam would have acted as the spiritual guardian of his garden of Eden, we would still be walking with unhindered fellowship with the Lord in the cool of the day.
How different our own lives would be “if” we would only speak what the Lord “says.” We too would defeat the deceptions and lies of Satan that have shackled us with chains of unbelief and insecurity. Yet, let us remember this – it is easy to speak positive and encouraging words when things are going well when the sun is shining, and we have favor with all who surround us. The real test comes when every evidence of what the Lord has promised us seems to be vanishing before our eyes. It is only in this season of trial and tribulation that the real truth of what we believe emerges to shape our thoughts and forge our futures. Perhaps that is why the Lord continually permits such horrific pain and rejection to come our way. Does not the word say, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”? King David must have understood this when he asked this of the Lord:
Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Dear one, as painful as our trials are, they are the only things that can reveal what is in our hearts. As a result of these tests, the words that we truly believe will also come to the surface. Only the words that we have faith in have the power to shape our lives whether for the good or the bad. We may not understand that faith can be both negative and positive. Many people have great faith in the negative words they speak. They believe all those bad things are going to happen to them and they “create” the environment in which it does by their own words. Let us paraphrase what David is saying in the above verse. “Lord, I do not truly know what is in my heart. Would you please send a test that will reveal what is there?”
Many Christians have learned to speak the right things but those truths are not yet a living reality to them. When a trial or a difficulty comes they will hold onto the word of God for a while, but soon what they truly believe will come to the surface. We are then what James calls a “double-minded man.” He goes on to say, “Let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord. For a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”
James 1:5-8 (KJV)
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let, not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. 8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Some of the favorite verses we love to quote and speak are listed below. However, we might be surprised when and where they were written once we grasp that these words were written while the Apostle Paul was in a Roman prison. Never forget that a Roman prison was not anything like our prisons today. Men were shackled in their waste. The stench and suffering were beyond comprehension. It is in this environment that we come to know what we believe. It is true that part of the time Paul was under house arrest, yet his future was very dim. When we begin to understand why we need great trials to uncover what is truly in our hearts, we are well along the path to living a life without limitations. Notice that these verses are not strained, or artificial, or reached for, but they flow forth from a truly humble and grateful heart.
Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Has the Lord allowed you to be put into some prison that you hate? Dear one, He will leave you and me there until from the depths of our heart we can say,
“Lord it makes no difference to me whether I am in this prison or am out of it. I can still fulfill all that you have for me where I am. Therefore, I can truly rejoice in my circumstances. Please do not change them until all that is in my heart that is negative is not only removed, but you have so purged me that I can only rejoice, and the words that flow from my mouth are not artificial but true, and lasting, and taste good to me and others. I once was the pastor of a church that seemed like a prison. Whenever I returned from a trip as I approached the little town this church was in, I felt the prison doors closing in on me. I prayed for deliverance and in a year was put into another place where the prison was even worse. When I learned the lessons the Lord had for me, I was ushered into one of the most fruitful seasons of my life that has now lasted over thirty years.
In this next verse that Paul writes, it seems it is impossible that He could speak it while living under these circumstances.
Philippians 4:6 (KJV)
6 Be careful about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
How can he say this? He is not worried about when, or how he is going to be delivered from this prison. He knows that God is ready to answer all of his prayers. He is not doubting his calling or his future, he is remembering the words he wrote to the Romans and not only remembering them but now living them.
Romans 8:28 (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Can you see it now? We are called not only to speak the right words in every situation but, also, they must become our living reality. Not just something nice and good to quote, but rather, the very reality of our lives. Oh, how few of the Lord’s children understand this principle. Dear one, you did good to speak the words of faith when you were not going through the test, but neither you nor I truly believed them until we are in the midst of the greatest trial of our lives and they came forth as sweet and living water.
Let us close by saying, “It is doubtful if the Lord will change our circumstances until you and I learn to speak from the heart and believe this verse.”
Philippians 4:11-13 (KJV)
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Truly the quality and consistency of our words will determine our present and future. What are you speaking over the most desperately difficult situations you are now facing?
Colossians 4:6 (KJV)
6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Proverbs 12:18 (KJV)
18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Proverbs 15:4 (KJV)
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Dear besieged and broken son or daughter of the Lord, you have prayed to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is working in you the Lord’s nature and character even as you have prayed. He will not change the circumstances until you and I speak what He says. Until our words “are a tree of life” in every situation. What are you now saying about your circumstances and situations will determine how long you must stay there. When we can say as the Apostle Paul while under Roman arrest the following, we will be ready to come out of our prison and proceed with our calling.
Philippians 4:4-9, 11,13 (KJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful about nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Are we ready for a life without limitations? Then we must change what we think and what we say until every thought and word agree with our great God.