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  • Writer's pictureRick LoPresti

I am a worm

Truth is the most important thing. Some Christians say love is the most important thing based on such scriptures as 1John 4:8 which says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” However, we must ask what the Biblical definition of love is. This world’s value system is not based on the principles of the Bible. It is quite the contrary (1Jn 2:15-17). So, the many unbiblical definitions of love the world gives are irrelevant to the discussion of what the Bible says about it. Love is defined and guided by truth.

Lies are dangerous, but just as dangerous, if not more so, are lies disguised in truth. The deceiver does not declare who he is up front. He masquerades his lies with pieces of truth interwoven into them. One example is the devil himself when he was tempting Jesus in the wilderness. He quoted scripture to Him but perverted its meaning (Mt 4:5-7). “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness (2Cor 11:14-15).” The prophets dealt with false prophets who perverted the word of the Lord (1Ki 18, 1Ki 22, Jer 28, etc.). Jesus and the apostles warned us of the same (Mt 7:13-29, Mt 24:4-5, 2Pet 2, 1Jn 4:1). We must know the Bible for ourselves so we can know the truth and discern lies (Jn 5:43, 2Cor 10:4, 2Tim 3:15-17, 1Pet 3:15).

One such lie cloaked in truth is the doctrine of speaking things into existence. There is some truth in it, but this only makes it that much more dangerous because passages from the Bible are used for it. However, these passages are taken out of the context of the passage they are in and of the Bible as a whole. The Bible is a balanced book that is to be taken as a whole. Perhaps the most common error in its interpretation is taking verses or even just parts of verses out of context. Classic examples are Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9, and Philippians 4:13.

The doctrine of speaking things into existence has its roots in Genesis 3:1-7, especially verse 5. The serpent convinced Eve that she could have the same power and authority as God and make moral evaluations on her own. God does empower us, and He does give us the ability to make moral choices. He did this for Adam and Eve. He made them co-regents over the earth (Gen 1:28, Gen 2:19). He gave them the power to make moral choices (Gen 2:9-17). However, He also instituted consequences for good and bad choices. Although God made man in His image (Gen 1:27), He did not give Him equal authority and power. God alone is Creator and Lord, and there is none like or equal to Him. He does not give His glory to another (Is 48:11). The great discourse in Isaiah 40-49 discusses how God is unique and incomparable, especially as compared to the idolatrous works of man (Is 40:18, Is 42:8, Is 43:10-11, Is 44:24, Is 45:5-6 & 18 & 22, Is 46:5). Some of the main proponents of speaking things into existence such as Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, and Stephen Furtick illustrate this perfectly. They say that God has the power to create things with His spoken word, and so do they. Therefore, they are more than just created in God’s image. They are more than just people in whom the Holy Spirit resides. They say they ARE God! This is the ultimate expression of the pride of man (Gen 3:7, Is 14:13-14). God saw this in the heart of people such as the king of Tyre (Eze 28) and Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4), and He warned them that their pride would bring them very low (Prov 16:18, Prov 29:3). They needed to humble themselves and repent or God would humble them. It is far better to fall before God willingly in repentance than to wait for the judgment of God to fall on our pride (Mt 21:44). God does not despise the broken humility of man when he repents before Him (Ps 34:18, Ps 51:17). He does despise the arrogance of the proud (Prov 6:16-17, Prov 16:5). When we humble ourselves, He will raise us up (Lk 14:11, Jam 4:9-10). God’s 83 questions to Job were centered around God having the power to create and rule His creation and a challenge to Job to do what God does (Job 38-41). When Job realized he could not and also could not justify himself with his own words, he humbled himself and repented.

A core problem with speaking things into existence is that it is centered on us instead of God. The Bible does not teach us to save ourselves. It teaches us that we cannot save ourselves and we need Jesus Christ to save us (Jn 3:16). We can only make decisions that facilitate that. That is the meaning of repentance. It is a decision to acknowledge our sin and our inability to save ourselves while placing faith for salvation in the Lord.

It is true that there is power of influence in our thoughts and words, but we do not have creative power. Only God does. A favorite verse of the proponents of speaking things into existence is Proverbs 18:21, which says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” We do not create life and death with our words. They have existed since the garden of Eden. Just as the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were set before Adam and Eve to choose from, so we make choices which we sometimes confirm with our words. However, we do not have creative power like God demonstrated in the creation (Gen 1). Those that say we have equal power with God to speak things into existence should show us that by creating a universe out of nothing by speaking. Another popular verse is Matthew 21:21, which says “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Also see Matthew 17:20. Jesus was not telling us that our words are as powerful as God’s, nor was He speaking literally. If not, then let Kenneth Copeland actually do this. He blew with his breath and claimed to have stopped the covid-19 virus in April of 2020 with his breath and his words. That did not age well.

The Bible is a book of balance, not extremes. It neither teaches us that our words have the same power as God’s, not that they have no power at all. Indeed, Jesus taught that every idle word we speak will be judged (Mt 12:36). The old children’s saying “sticks and stones may brake my bones, but words will never hurt me” may be a defense against letting cruel words get us down, but it is not wholly true. Words do have meaning and influence. That is why we have dictionaries. They formally set universally accepted meanings of words, so we can communicate to each other understandably. When the definitions of words are arbitrarily changed to suit otherwise indefensible ideologies, we no longer have logic and meaning in language and the communications thereof are nothing but wind.

A core application of speaking things into existence is regarding self-image. The whole idea of self-esteem is unbiblical. It is a veiled attempt (if it is veiled) at saving oneself. Look at the heroes of the Bible and some of the things they said about themselves. Abraham told God he was but dust and ashes (Gen 18:27). Moses, whom God had just called to be His spokesperson to Pharaoh and to lead Israel out of bondage, said before the burning bush that he was of slow speech and a slow tongue (Ex 4:10). David said he was a worm and no man (Ps 22:6), and a dead dog and a flea (1Sam 24:24). This is in a chapter containing eight Messianic prophecies, so by extension this was Jesus talking about Himself. Job said before God that he was vile, abhorred himself, and repented (Job 40:4, Job 42:6). In the New Testament, when John saw the Lord in His majesty, he fell down as dead (Rev 1:17). Did Jesus teach “self-esteem”? He told His disciples that after they did His will, they should say, “We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do (Lk 17:10)”. He gave the illustration of the Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple (Lk 18:10-14). The Pharisee spoke self-affirming words which were nothing but pride. The publican humbled himself and declared himself unworthy to even look up toward heaven. Notice the Pharisee was not praying to God but merely talking to himself to validate himself in his own eyes. He accomplished nothing to God, whereas the publican went home justified.

The only true path to what we might call validation is in God, not ourselves. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Mt 16:26)”. While we should not devote all our energy, focus, thoughts, and words to tearing ourselves down, neither can we justify ourselves with our own words. As Job said, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse (Job 9:20)”. When we humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up. “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips (Prov 27:2).”

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