Imagine having enough faith to impress God.
Does that seem a little far-fetched?
When Jesus offered to go to the centurion’s home and heal his servant, the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (verse 8).
Now here was a man who understood the power of words. He was, after all, an army officer. When he spoke, everyone listened-and then they did what he said.
In this case, so did Jesus.
Why was Jesus so quick to respond? Because the man’s words were full of faith.
The faith that so impressed Jesus was the centurion’s willingness to believe without requiring a spectacular sign or wonder from heaven. All he needed in order to believe that Jesus could heal his servant was the Word.
“Speak the word only,” he said. And within the hour his servant was healed.
Who Needs a Miracle. . .
That same faith and greater-faith that impresses God-is available to every one of us through God’s Word. God sent His Word to heal us. He sent it to deliver us (Psalms 107:20). The Word became flesh-in the person of Jesus-and lived among us. In Him, in God, in the Word, is life, and that life is our light (John 1:1-14; Psalms 119:105).
The Apostle Peter called the Word of God the more sure word.
More sure than what?
Well, to begin with, Peter had seen his share of signs and wonders. The greatest, perhaps, was when he accompanied Jesus, along with James and John, to a mountain where they actually heard the audible voice of God, and watched as Jesus spoke face to face with Moses and Elijah.
Peter was so impressed that he offered to build tents for everyone and camp there for a while (Matthew 17:4). But in spite of all the glorious manifestations of God that he had seen and heard, Peter later had this to say:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables…but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For [Jesus] received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed (II Peter 1:16-19).
Now there is no denying that physical manifestations of God’s presence and power can be spectacular to our natural senses, but even so, they still have a sense of uncertainty about them.
In the first place, miracles don’t happen every day. They are an act of God’s will, not ours. So we shouldn’t try to live from miracle to miracle. God never intended it to be that way. He never promised a daily dose of visions, dreams, prophecies and miracles for us to live by.
What God did provide, however, was a book full of living promises. He sent His Word. He gave us a book overflowing with life. He gave us a book overflowing with Himself.
If you think about it, the Bible is not a book about someone. It is someone. It is literally God talking to each one of us-which takes us back to why Peter called the Word of God the more sure word.
In II Peter 1:19, he went on to say, “Ye do well that ye take heed [to the written Word], as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
In other words, you may not wake up and hear the audible voice of God every morning, but you do have His Word. You have His promises, His revelation, His wisdom-and it’s all as sure as the sun rising every day. So live by it.
Yes, miracles are wonderful. But God’s plan is for us to walk by faith, not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). He expects us to live each day by faith in His Word, not by the signs and wonders we might see along the way.
May I Have That in Writing?
Think for just a moment about one of the great Old Testament examples we have of walking by faith and not by sight-Abraham.
When God called Abraham out of his homeland, telling him to leave his family and go to a new land, there was no written Word of God. There wasn’t even an Old Covenant. All Abraham had to go on was a spoken promise.
“Get thee out of thy country,” God had told him. “And I will make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2).
At the time, Abram was 75 years old and married to a barren woman. Yet, he took God at His Word and left his family and homeland behind.
When Abram finally arrived in Canaan, God appeared to him and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (Genesis 12:7). Then, in Genesis 13, God told him, “All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth…” (verses 15-16).
The point is, all along the way, God kept speaking the promise and speaking the promise.
But in Genesis 15:2, after God had appeared to him in a vision, Abram asked God, “What wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless?”
At this point, Abram had given into the circumstances. He was 86, and day after day all he had been seeing was a barren wife and no child. He complained even more by saying, “Behold, to me thou hast given no seed” (verse 3).
The truth was God had given Abram seed. He just didn’t realize it. From the very beginning God had given him His Word-and the living Word of God is seed (Mark 4).
I will make you a great nation…I will give this land to your seed…I will make your seed as the dust of the earth. God had spoken all that to Abram in the span of 11 years. Still, Abram was having trouble anchoring his faith in God’s Word. So God gave him a little help.
First, God took Abram out into the night and challenged him to count the stars. So shall thy seed be, He told him. And Abram believed (Genesis 15:5).
Then God cut covenant with Abram using animal sacrifices, which was a sign to him that God would keep His promise. This blood covenant was a powerful anchor for Abram’s faith. Yet 13 years later-at the age of 99-Abram still had no child.
That’s when God began putting the Word into Abram’s mouth. New Identity-New Destiny From the moment God first told Abram that He would make him a great nation, Abram could have said, “OK, from now on I’m going to call myself Abraham, because God has said I will be the father of many nations. And if God said it-and I agree with it-then it is!” Abram could have done that and saved himself a lot of trouble. But he didn’t. Remember, Abram was not born again or spiritually alive like us, and there was no written Word for him to keep before his eyes. Consequently, all he was seeing was, “I am childless and have no seed.” God fixed that too by changing his name.
When Abram became Abraham, he literally took on the new identity of “father of many nations”-which was what his new name meant. Every time he said his name, he was saying, “Hello, I’m the father of many nations.” What’s more, every time someone called his name, they were saying, “Hey, father of many nations!”
What was happening? Abraham and everyone around him was calling “those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). In effect, Abraham was speaking the same Word God had spoken, and he was hearing it spoken as well.
Jesus did the same thing with Peter. When Jesus first met Peter, his name was Simon Barjona. Later, however, Jesus changed it to Peter, the Rock. And if there were anyone among the disciples who was not a “rock,” it was Peter.
Jesus knew what He was doing. He called Peter-Rock-until he became one. Meanwhile, by receiving his new name and speaking it and responding to it, Peter was actually agreeing with the Word of God. He was agreeing with the Word that Jesus had spoken to him.
So, we see that the process behind these name changes, and men fulfilling their destinies by agreeing with what God said they would be and do, was actually meditating the Word-speaking it and hearing it, over and over and over.
Meditating the Word was also the plan for success that God laid out for Joshua when he stepped into the role of leading all of Israel after Moses died. “This book of [My Word] shall not depart out of thy mouth,” God told him, “but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou [may be able to see] to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
The Hebrew word we translate as meditate actually means “to mutter or to go around talking to yourself.” In short, Joshua was promised good success if he went through life constantly talking God’s Word-speaking it to himself, speaking to others and speaking it in every situation.
Can You Imagine?
When Abraham finally received by faith that he was, indeed, the father of many nations, it still wasn’t something he could see with his physical eyes. So how did he see it?
In Psalms 2, we find that the word meditate can also mean “to imagine.” The idea is, as we go about like Abraham, Joshua and Peter, constantly speaking God’s Word-calling those things that be not as though they were-the Word will spark an inner image within us. That inner image in turn becomes hope, and hope is where Abraham saw himself as “father of many nations.”
I remember in the early days of this ministry when Gloria and I reached the point where we needed a station wagon to get us and our children from one place to the next so I could preach. Like anything else we needed, we went to God’s promises concerning our need, then we prayed, sowed seed, believed God and started speaking the Word. That’s what we did for that car.
After we had taken the Word and agreed as a family in faith, we went around saying, “Glory to God for our new car!” “That new car is ours!” “Thank God for our new car!” We continued to meditate the Word. At the time, our children were young, but still old enough to grab hold of our station wagon with their faith, too.
One day our son John asked, “Daddy, is that new car ours?”
“You bet it is,” I replied.
“Well, let’s go get it,” he said.
This new car idea had become so real and so big inside him that he didn’t see why we shouldn’t just go get it. I didn’t tell him that the reason we didn’t go get the car was because we were $3,000 short of what we needed to buy it. In fact, I started to say, “Now, you know, John, we do have to….” But then I stopped, because I realized I was about to head down the road of doubt and unbelief.
Instead, I said, “Yeah, praise God! Let’s do, John. Let’s just go get it!”
Immediately we all started saying it to each other: “Let’s go get it!”
In less than a week, a man called me, crying. “Oh, Brother Copeland, I’m so ashamed of myself. God told me to send you $3,000 a few days ago and I didn’t do it. I’ve hung on to it until I cannot stand it anymore.” The first time that man heard God tell him to send us the money was the same time John came to me and said, “Let’s go get it!”
So we went and got it.
Wishing Wells Run Dry
The bottom line to all of this is that real Bible hope is not wishing for something to come to pass. God is not sitting at the bottom of a wishing well, waiting for us to toss in a few pennies so He can work up a miracle on our behalf.
No, hope is a divine inner image. It’s a dream birthed by the Word of God in the soul of man. It’s the blueprint of our faith.
So not only do we have a more sure word of prophecy, but we also have a sure hope. It’s like Peter said: The Word of God-God’s promises-enters our lives bringing light to the circumstances we face (II Peter 1:19). As we meditate on the Word, the light of it becomes brighter and brighter. It grows and develops on the inside of us, eventually giving birth to an inner image of what we’re believing to receive from God.
In the past we may have seen ourselves as Abram saw himself-childless. We may have seen ourselves as moneyless, sick, desperate or whatever. But once we lay hold of the Word, realizing that it is God Himself speaking directly to us, we give place to hope-and that hope gives life to the dreams God has placed within us.
Abraham hoped against hope (Hebrews 4:18). He went against all the odds. We can too.
Receive God’s Word for your situation, right now. Receive the seed God has for your life. Then begin speaking it, hearing it, muttering it. Meditate the Word until you begin seeing it…and dreaming it.
Go ahead-dream BIG. Talk BIG. And turn your faith loose! –Ken Copeland