Just as there are principles and laws in the natural realm (gravity for example), there are laws and principles that operate in the spiritual world. Throughout this course many of these laws will be explored [the law of faith, the law of love etc.
At the outset we need to understand that these laws and principles cannot be fully comprehended or acted upon in isolation from one another. For example, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 13 that we can operate in the principles of faith, or of sowing and reaping and giving to the poor, but if we do not subject these laws to the greater law of love the results will be less than adequate from the perspective of eternity.
Each principle or law however, must be understood within the wider context of Scripture. Jesus said in Luke 16:8 that even the children of this world can operate wisely, and apply certain principles which will lead to success, but this alone is not enough to live a life pleasing to God.
Living in the Spirit
The Scriptures encourage us that we, as born-again Christians, are called to live in and by the Spirit.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25 NKJV)
There is a revealing portion of Scripture related in Zechariah 3:1-7.
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.
Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.” (Zech 3:1-7 NKJV)
Ask the following questions of the Scripture above:
- What is Joshua?
- Revelation 1:6; 5:10 tell us what concerning the Believer?
- Where is Joshua standing? Is he in the natural or the spiritual realm?
- Who is standing by him?
- What does the Angel (or Messenger) of the Lord command those who stood before Him to do for Joshua?
- Who do you think these others standing before the angel may refer to?
- What happens to Joshua’s iniquity?
- According to Titus 2:14 what happened to the Believer’s iniquity? Isaiah 61:10 tells us that we have also been clothed, with what?
- The Angel speaks on behalf of God and tells Joshua that if he walks in the ways of God that God would him places to walk among those who are standing by. What kind of beings are standing by?
- Does God give Joshua authority to walk among spiritual beings in the spiritual realm?
- Do you believe that the New Covenant priesthood has the same kind of invitation extended to them?
- What are the implications of this for our lives as believers?
Clearly, Scripture suggests that God has equipped us to operate in the spiritual realm, and that He has made paths for us to walk in among spiritual beings. We will expand on this truth in depth later in the course, but here we present it as a reality that needs to be apprehended.
In this lesson, we will focus on a primary spiritual law, which is essential to grasp if we are to operate effectively as Christians in the spiritual realm:
The words that we speak.
Jesus concluded His earthly ministry by speaking to His disciples about the Kingdom of God and how it operates, as well as its extension throughout the earth.
Mark’s gospel concludes with the following words.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
You may notice that in the King James Version of the Bible words that did not appear in the original text, but were added by translators to aid comprehension of the writings, appear in italics. In this verse the word them was added. Removing the added word reveals an interesting principle that we are about to explore in depth in this lesson.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with and confirming the word with signs following.
God works with His Word.
It is His Word in our heart, and mouth, that unleashes spiritual power.
Words are the creative currency of the spiritual world.
From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
Consider the following verses from the book of Matthew:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt 12:35-37 NKJV)
Jesus here says that by our words we will be either justified or condemned, and that even our “idle” (inactive, inoperative, thoughtless) words will come under divine scrutiny.
Verse 35 of Matthew 12 refers to the treasure stored up in the heart. Verse 34 reads: “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:34 NKJV)
In the light of these scriptures:
- what treasure does Jesus refer to in verse 35?
- Where is the treasure stored? (verse 35)
- If the treasure is words, and the heart the repository for words, what do our words do when we speak them from the heart? (verse 35)
- Consider how this principle of words “bringing forth” is seen in Genesis Chapter 1?
- What implications can be drawn from Genesis 1:28, that mankind is created like God? Could it be true that man’s words also have creative capacity?
- Taking Matthew 12:34 into consideration, what can we do to determine that our words will be good treasure and not evil?
- Consider Proverbs 2:1-5; Proverbs 3:1, 13-15; Proverbs 8:4-11; Psalm 119:72; Psalm 12:6
Words spoken from the heart have the power to “bring forth”. The Greek word used here is ekballo) means to produce, to thrust forth, to drive out, to expel. There is a violence suggested that implies that the heart will thrust words forth which then aggressively bring things into being, either for good or evil.
Much as a baby is thrust from the womb of a full-term mother, so the fruit of the seeds planted in the heart of mankind will “produce” or be “thrust forth” from the heart.
Consider the following Scriptures in this regard:
““Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)
“You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.” (1Pet 1:23 AMP)
- What is the seed or the sperm spoken of in these references?
- If a natural seed brings forth natural life (eg: an apple seed brings forth an apple tree) what kind of life would a spiritual seed bring forth?
- What does Jesus say about His words in John 6:63?
- If His words are Spirit and Life what do you think they will bring forth if they are sown in the heart?
With that in mind let us now consider how words are sown in the spiritual world.
Sowing to the spirit
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:8)
- Through what entry points in the human body do words enter?
Our eyes and ears are the entry points which allow words and images into our heart. With this in mind what do you think the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired the following verses?
“And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.” (Mark 4:24 AMP)
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep (guard, protect) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov 4:20-23)
- In what way can we guard and protect our heart as directed above?
- How can we determine the outflow of our heart?
- If, as Jesus said, we will speak only from what fills our heart, what part can we play in determining what treasure (words) fills our heart?
- Who chooses what goes in our eyes and our ears? Job said of this choice: “I made a covenant with mine eyes…” (Job 31:1)
Words are creative
Genesis chapter one reveals the principle of the creative nature of words. God spoke from His heart, and what He said came to pass. This is an example of perfect faith at work.
- When God said, “let there be light”, what happened?
- What about when He commanded sun, moon and stars?
He produced what He said!
Does this principle apply to us, or is it only applicable to our God?
Consider the following scriptures before answering…
“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Prov 18:20-21 KJV)
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:22-26 KJV)
NB: The verse that here begins “have faith in God” could also be interpreted to read “Have the faith of God” or “have faith like God”.
- In these verses how many times does Jesus mention believing in the heart?
- How many times does He mention what we say?
- What do you think Jesus really meant when He said, “You shall have whatever you say”?
- How is this same principle revealed in Romans 10:6-11?
- Verses 6-8 tell us that we do not need to ascend or descend to apprehend righteousness (God’s way of being and doing). Where is the righteousness of faith found and released from (verse 8)?
- Where is righteousness first conceived (Romans 10:10)?
- How is this righteousness activated to ‘bring forth’ salvation (Rom 10:10)?
- How does this portion of Scripture connect with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 12 that “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Just as God’s words spoken in faith brought forth the original creation, so our words spoken in faith from the heart bring forth the new creation!
Setting the boundaries of our lives
So far, we have established:
- From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
- What we say has creative power, for either good or evil.
- The heart is filled with words and images through the eyes and ears.
- We have the power to choose what goes through our eyes and ears, and therefore determine what fills our heart.
- God’s words are Spirit and life
- If we fill our eyes and ears with God’s Word, our heart will in turn be filled with spiritual life. When we speak from the fullness we will then bring forth Life (love, joy, peace, health, harmony, prosperity, well-being etc)
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Prov 4:23
This verse also says that the issues or forces of life flow from the heart. We will now take a brief look at the word issues in the original Hebrew…
“issues” Strongs 8444. tôtsâ’âh tôtsâ’âh From 3318; (only in plural collective) exit, that is, (geographical) boundary, or (figuratively) deliverance, (actively) source:- border (-s), going (-s) forth (out), issues, outgoings.
Essentially the word “issues” means “to go out”
The word is used to describe geographical borders (23 times).
It is used to describe Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 13:3,9,14,16)
It is used to describe the emancipation of slaves (Exodus 21:2)
Isaiah 51:5 speaks of God’s salvation “going forth”, and again in Isaiah 55:11 when God speaks of His Word “going forth” from His mouth, and accomplishing that for which it was sent.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Is 55:11 KJV)
What are some conclusions we can draw from this brief study?
- From our heart our mouth will speak, setting the boundaries of our lives.
- That deliverance and salvation, emancipation from bondage, flows from the heart
- that we must carefully watch over what enters the heart, because the boundaries and extent of our lives are set by what is in our heart
- that the words which proceed from our heart activate and determine exactly what we send them forth to accomplish, either good or evil depending upon what we have allowed to fill our heart.
- That the boundary of our lives is not determined by circumstance, financial or social standing, education or any such thing, but by the words that we speak.
- That our deliverance, and the realisation of salvation’s benefits will flow as creative words from our heart. We can send our words to accomplish that which we please, and that they will prosper in that which we send them to do.
Directing our lives by the Word
We began our session by pointing out that God “will give you places to walk among these who stand here (in the spiritual realm)”.
How do we direct ourselves along these paths as we walk through life?
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov 3:1-6 KJV)
- How do we “trust in the Lord”?
- If we are not to lean upon our own understanding, whose understanding are we to lean upon?
- Where is this “understanding” recorded?
- In what way can we “acknowledge” God’s wisdom above our own, so our ways might be directed?
The power of the tongue to keep us on course
In respect to the tongue and its power James also has much to say:
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
James 3:3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
James 3:4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
James 3:7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
James 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
What are some points that James brings out concerning the tongue and the power of words in these verses?
- In verses 3-4 what does James liken the tongue to?
- What does a horse bit do?
- What does a ship’s rudder do?
- What then, does our tongue have the power to do?
- If we look at our life as a ship, what might the storms and fierce winds mentioned in verse 4 represent?
- If the pilot of the ship chooses not to use the rudder to direct the vessel what will the ship be directed and driven by?
- If we choose not to use the rudder of our life (the tongue) to direct us in God’s paths, what will we be driven by?
- According to these Scriptures in James our direction in life and ultimately our destination is determined by what?
- Is it determined by our circumstances?
- Our education?
- Our social standing?
- Our background?
- According to verse 6 what is set on fire by the words we speak?
As we consider the basic Greek behind this verse, we discover that James describes how the course (direction) and machinery (functioning) of life is determined by the words we speak. It speak of the “wheel of nature”, and how what appears as small and inconsequential begins a cycle of cause and effect, with significant and far reaching results. The emphasis for us is that the words that we speak are of utmost importance! Even what we would consider “idle” words are spiritually significant.
The Greek word translated nature is the word meaning “genesis”. This word means origin or source, the place of beginnings, birth or nativity. Again, we see pictured for us, our heart like the womb, receiving words as seed, which in turn brings forth what the seed was designed to produce (either good or evil).
How true the potent statement of Proverbs:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:21 NKJV)
In the spiritual realm words are the currency of life or death. With each word that we speak we determine the direction of our life, and align ourselves with the path of self-will or the path of God.
- According to James 3:8 no man can tame the tongue. Whose help do we need to harness our tongue?
- What can we do to strengthen God’s hold on our words and our lives?
Blessing or curse
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:21 NKJV)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NKJV)
Deut. 30:10 if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deut. 30:11 ¶ “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.
Deut. 30:12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
Deut. 30:13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
Deut. 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
Deut. 30:15 ¶ “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
Deut. 30:16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.
Deut. 30:17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,
Deut. 30:18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.
Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Deut. 30:20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
- According to the Scriptures has God given us a choice? YES / NO
- What do we choose between? (Deut 30:15)
- Where does the power of choice reside? (Deut 30:14; Prov 18:21; John 6:63)
- How can we choose life?
- From the abundance or the overflow of the heart what will a man do?
- Are the words that are spoken from the heart creative? Do they bring things forth?
- Where in the Scriptures do we find this principle described? Give a couple of examples.
- What are the entry points to the heart or the spirit of man?
- What can we do to determine what our heart is full of?
- If God’s word is likened to a seed or a sperm. What is the ground or the womb?
- How are the boundaries of our life set?
- What determines the direction our lives will take?
- Who chooses what we say?
- Where in Scripture did Jesus say, “you will have what you say”?
- How do we choose life?