Words and Hearing; September 9, 2019


Psalm 108:1 My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.

Someone once recommended this verse to my wife as a faith declaration when she was having heart trouble, because in another translation it is rendered, “My heart is fixed!” It was clear that person had Encourager gifting, rather than Teacher gifting. What David is expressing is firm commitment. The Japanese expresses it as “My heart will not waver.” We too need to make that declaration at times, because commitment boldly spoken is strengthened. It’s like Paul said, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Actually, the original text doesn’t say, “hearing the message,” it just says, “hearing.” (The Japanese says, “starts from,” rather than “comes from,” but I think that too is a bit of an interpretation.) What we hear really does influence what we believe, which is why the current issue of media and fake news is so huge. Christians have a vital responsibility to run everything through the filter of the Holy Spirit, accepting as true only that which receives His approval. However, all of that is tangental to what this verse is talking about. As David realized, we need to declare our commitment to God and sing it out, in order to strengthen it. It may seem odd, but faith is often strengthened by what we hear from our own lips. I’m not at all advocating “name it and claim it,” or “We must never make a negative confession.” However, saying out loud, “God will get me through this, and His grace is all I need,” is of huge benefit at times. That isn’t hypocrisy, it’s agreeing with what God has already said, and reminding our hearts of it.

I have had some very interesting times of being in prayer and God speaking to me directly through my own words, just as we usually think of prophecy as one person speaking to another. There wasn’t anyone else around, but God was speaking through my mouth! I have learned the joy and power of faith declarations, but I also know that words by themselves can be empty. James goes on at some length about that issue, from various angles. Listening to truth without applying it in my own life is deceiving myself, (James 1:22) and protestations of faith without follow-through are almost totally empty. (James 2:14, etc.) I need to say the right things and also walk them out. Like David, I need to declare my faith in words and in song, and let that faith lead me to faithful obedience to my Lord.

Father, thank You for this reminder. So many of us have trouble doing the things we say. I ask for wisdom in encouraging those who say nice things but rarely follow through. I also need wisdom in dealing with those who are forever negative in what they say, failing to give You glory by trusting You. May I be an example and a coach, so that together we may grow as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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