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MEDITATION ON GOD’S WORD
Foundational Truth Volume 1
By Peter Tan
© Copyright 2008 by Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved.
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© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 2
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This book is the first of fourteen books called the ‘Foundational Truths
Series.’ They are designed to bring a Christian through what I would
consider basic truths essential to successful Christian living. They can be
used as follow up materials to establish the new convert.
In this first book, I have shared the first of what I consider the most
important principles of the Christian walk. They are based upon my own
personal walk and maturing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The truths unfolded in
are the landmarks and foundations of my life and ministry.
The principles taught here may be applied practically through confession
with the help of the other mini-books, God’s Meditation Food Volume 1 and
Volume 2. I do not believe in being bound or enslaved to a method but
anything which gets God’s people deeper into the written Word should be
Most of all, as you read this book, bear in mind the fact that these are
truths that have been proven through blood, sweat and tears. They epitomize
a part of my own life. They are not just suggestions. They are my life! I live
May God cause you to hunger after His written Word and may it come
alive to you through these pages.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 4
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION
Meditation is the most important key in Christian growth. However, when
the word ‘meditation’ is mentioned, Christians sometimes have visions of
half-naked ‘gurus’ or hermits sitting crossed-legged chanting mantras. Can
you imagine King David sitting crossed-legged and chanting? Surely this is
not what he meant when he tells us to meditate on the Word of God day and
night (Psalms 1:2).
Bible Definition of Meditation
What then exactly is Christian meditation? In normal usage, the word
‘meditation’ speaks of the silent thinking upon an object or thought. From a
study of the Bible, we can take note that there is a clear teaching that the act
of meditation is not necessarily silent. In the Old Testament, there are
several Hebrew words for the word ‘meditate’ but the main word is the
word ‘hagah’ which literally means ‘mutter.’
‘Hagah’ has been translated ‘mutter’ twice (Isaiah 59:3; 8:19), ‘meditate’
six times (Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 63:6; 77:12; 143:5; Isaiah 33:18). It has
also been translated ‘speak’ four times (Psalms 35:28; 37:30; 115:7;
Proverbs 8:7), ‘study’ twice (Proverbs 15:28; 24:2), ‘talk’ once (Psalms
71:24) and ‘utter’ once (Job 27:4).
It can be noted from these Scriptures that meditation does indicate the use
of the mouth as an instrument to mutter or speak God’s Word. Moreover,
when we read God’s Word silently, we are only using our eyes to take in
God’s Word; but when we read God’s Word aloud, we are using our eyes to
read, our mouths to speak and our ears to hear. Three instead of one of our
senses are actively taking in God’s Word.
A Vision of My Spirit Man
When I was a young Christian, I used to read the Bible silently. This
continued throughout my three years in a Theological Seminary. In the
fourth year of the ministry, I had a vision of the condition of my spirit man.
I saw my spirit man as skinny as a bamboo stick. There was a horde of
demons who surrounded me and I could not successfully walk past them.
They blocked my path and I did not have the strength to overcome them in
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Upon coming out of the vision, the Lord began to speak to me about the
condition of my spirit man. In all my years of study and accumulation of
intellectual knowledge of the Bible, I had not really fed my spirit man. It
was undernourished and weak. In desperation I sought after the Lord and
asked Him to teach me to feed my spirit man. It was then that He began to
teach me about the truth of meditation.
The Results of Meditation
I sat down and wrote as many promises as I could find from Genesis to
Revelation. I personalized the promises and started confessing them for six
to seven hours a day. For a whole year, I read no books nor newspapers nor
any other materials. I completely soaked myself in the Word of God. Who
wouldn’t after seeing the destitute condition of their spirit man?
At the end of that year, while I was teaching the Word of God, the gifts of
the Spirit started manifesting. The impact and foundation laid during that
one year has stayed with me. I could trace the success and breakthrough of
the ministry to that one year of solid meditation. Revelations began to flow
and I learned more from the Bible than I have ever learned in all my
previous years of hard intellectual study.
The Presence of Jesus in the Spirit Man
The main key to success in the Christian life and in the fulltime ministry is
meditation on the Word of God. Paul in writing to the Romans said that he
served God with his spirit (Romans 1:9). He wrote to them about the mighty
signs and wonders which God wrought through him by the power of the
Holy Spirit (Romans 15:18, 19). God’s Spirit worked through Paul’s spirit
to accomplish the mighty works of God. If Paul’s spirit was weak, God’s
omnipotent and powerful Spirit would have been hindered.
In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be strengthened in
their inner man. The inner man is obviously the spirit man. The spirit man
needs strengthening. The spirit man can be refreshed through Christian
fellowship (1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13). A strong spirit man
will mean a strong channel for God’s Spirit. The strength of a chain is the
strength of its weakest link. We are all vessels of God. The power and
presence of God demonstrated in our midst is dependent not on Him, for He
is ever willing to demonstrate His presence and fullness in our midst, but in
the ability and strength of our spirits to be channels and instruments of His
presence and power.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 6
The grace and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is within our spirits
(Galatians 6:18; 2 Timothy 4:22). A weak spirit would convey a weak
presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. A strong and well-nourished spirit man
would convey a strong presence and manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is nothing wrong with our Lord Jesus Christ or with the Holy Spirit
when a Christian manifests a weak presence of Jesus in his life; but rather
there is something wrong or amiss in his spirit man – undernourishment!
Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians
When Paul prayed for the Ephesians, he specifically prayed that God
would strengthen their inner man that Christ may dwell in their hearts by
faith (Ephesians 3:17). Notice how the strength of our spirits is related to the
indwelling presence of Christ in our lives. The conclusion of his prayer for
them is that they may be filled with the fullness of God! The strengthening
of the spirit man will produce the fullness of God in our lives! (Ephesians
3:19). In case we miss the point of what he was saying, Paul repeats again in
the next verse that God is able to do everything for us according to the
power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).
The only way by which we can feed and nourish our spirit man is by
meditation. The first thing a newborn Christian should do is to learn to
meditate on the Word of God to grow. As newborn babes, desire the pure
milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. Jesus said that man shall not
live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God
(Matthew 4:4). We are not just to read the Word of God. We are to eat the
Word of God. Eating and living by the Word of God implies meditating on
the Word of God.
Meditating and acting upon the Word guarantees success in the Christian
life and in the ministry (Joshua 1:8). Christians need to understand afresh
the truth of meditation. Just because the devil stole a principle and twisted it
to evil does not mean that there is no genuine principle. The counterfeit is an
imitation of the true one. Meditation started in the Word of God and the
principle has been twisted and used to open doors for the devil to control
and possess people’s lives.
We are exhorted to meditate day and night (Psalms 1:2). We are to talk of
God’s Word when we sit down, when we walk, when we lie down and when
we rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7). The Israelites were told to bind them to their
hands and have them as frontlets before their eyes – a symbol of taking and
acting God’s Word out in their daily lives, and a symbol of visualizing the
Word every day (Deuteronomy 6:8). God’s Word makes it clear that
meditation on the Word is an everyday affair.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 7
HOW TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 8
Meditation is not a short cut to growth. It is a steady and sure way of
growing spiritually. You may not notice your growth day by day but in the
long run you will notice a marked change and difference in your life and
ministry. If a small boy wants to grow a beard, he can strain and groan all he
wants to but he will not produce a whisker or a goatee. All the boy has to do
is to eat properly and in time he will naturally grow a nice looking goatee if
he so desires.
In the same manner, sometimes Christians strain and struggle to produce
certain spiritual results in their lives but all to no avail. If they would only
patiently feed their spirits, the production of spiritual results would come
automatically as a side effect. No man struggles to produce a beard, it grows
naturally. No man can produce spiritual results by carnal methods; they
come naturally (supernaturally) as a result of the growth of the spirit man.
Two Aspects of Meditation
The first part of meditation is the confession of God’s Word. The second
is the contemplation of God’s Word. Within the first part of meditation are
two sub-parts: the confession of God’s Word to get it into our spirits and the
speaking of God’s Word from our spirits as a decree or command over
circumstances. Both are the speaking of God’s Word but the effect is
different. The speaking of God’s Word is first to implant the Word into the
fertile ground of our spirits. Later the implanted Word takes root and takes
dominion through our lives over the circumstances around us.
Implanting the Word
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
When the Word of God is spoken, whether by others or by ourselves, it will
produce faith in the hearts of those who hear it. We can read God’s Word
aloud to ourselves. It is even more powerful and effective when we
personalize the Word of God. One of the most basic necessities of the
Christian life is to know what the Word of God says concerning us.
There are nearly one hundred and fifty Scriptures in the Bible which tell
us who we are in Christ. There are thousands of Scripture promises for
health, healing, prosperity, wisdom, holiness and for every other need we
have in spirit, soul or body. The tragedy of it all is that many Christians do
not know the promises of God freely given to them through their inheritance
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 9
We partake of the divine nature through the exceedingly great promises of
God (2 Peter 1:4). Some Christians think that the promises of God may not
be for them but Paul says expressly that all the promises of God are ‘Yea’
and ‘Amen’ in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). To the question as to
whether all the promises of God in the Bible apply to us, God has replied
with a resounding ‘Yes’ in Christ. If God did not spare His son but sent Him
to die for our salvation, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all
things? The secret of the overcoming Christian life is in learning how to
actualize the promises into our lives.
Muttering and meditating upon the Word of God, until it becomes alive in
our spirits, is the key to actualizing the promises of God. Muttering (Hebrew
‘hagah’ – mutter) upon the Word of God day and night is likened to a tree
planted by the rivers of water absorbing and drawing water into its system
through its roots (Psalms 1:3).
Four Steps in Meditation
There are four steps to falling into sin. First the thought brought by the
temptation, secondly the picture wrought by the imagination, thirdly the
desire for the temptation and finally the act of sin itself. Each of these steps
lead one into another. If we spend time meditating over an offer of satan, it
will lead to wild imaginations after some time. The wild imaginations will
then lead to a compulsive desire for it. This is then easily followed by
yielding to the lust and acting upon it.
It is easier to overcome a temptation at the first and second stages. When
the temptation has been meditated upon until it becomes a burning desire in
a person’s life, he may need the influence and fellowship of Christians to
help him overcome the desire for the temptation.
Similarly, these four steps apply to the positive as with the negative side.
Many Christians read the Word and know what they ought to do. Hearing
more sermons in Christian meetings lead to even more knowledge as to
what they ought to do. The problem becomes compounded when Christians
know what they ought to do but have no desire to do it. It is difficult to do
what one has no desire to do. How do we get the desire to do what we ought
to do? By meditation, of course!
The daily meditation and confession of God’s Word produces good
thoughts in our minds. Through time, these thoughts become pictures or
visions in our imagination. The constant imaging of biblical pictures and
visions in our imagination will produce a desire to fulfil them. The acting
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 10
out becomes easy because of strong desire. Nobody has a problem doing
what they desire.
The little booklet ‘God’s Meditation Food’ which I wrote, was a small
extract from my meditation file to give Christians a ready tool to personalize
some of the promises of God into their lives. It contains personalized
Scriptures on our position in Christ (all one hundred and fifty of them),
Scriptures on health, healing, prosperity, the thought life, holiness, love and
Decreeing God’s Word
Once the Word of God is implanted into our spirits, our confession of the
Word takes on a new dimension. It is no longer confessing God’s Word into
us but it is confessing God’s Word against the mountains or circumstances
in our lives. Jesus spoke to storms and they were calmed. He spoke to
sicknesses and they fled. His spoken Word was with great authority. At this
point, our spoken words begin to take on a greater authority and power
when we speak them.
In Mark 11:23, 24, Jesus said that we can speak to mountains and they
shall be removed if we do not doubt. If our hearts are filled with the Word,
we will not doubt. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
If our hearts have been implanted by the Word of God, our hearts would be
filled with faith and not doubt.
The reason Christians claim this promise and speak to the mountains and
it does not work for them is because they doubt in their hearts. They doubt
in their hearts because the Word did not take root in their spirits. They only
have mental assent. If they would only take time to meditate and allow the
Word to take root in their spirits, speaking to the mountains would have
We cannot bypass step one, confessing God’s Word into our spirits, and
jump to step two, decreeing God’s Word from our spirits. Jesus said that the
words which He spoke were spirit and life (John 6:63). Jesus was the Word
made flesh (John 1:14). The Word of God is health and life to our flesh
(Proverbs 4:20-22). The Word of God is full of life and affects our thoughts
and even pierces into our bones and marrow (Hebrews 4:12).
There is neither mountain nor any problem that can stand against our
spoken word once our spirits are filled and saturated with the Word of God.
The power of decree is a promise given to all Christians. We can have what
we say and we will only say what is in line with the Word because we are
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 11
filled with the Word. Jesus said that we can have what we say (Mark 11:23).
No matter what traditional churchianity says, confession is still possession
because Jesus said so!
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 12
THE ART OF CONTEMPLATION
Confession is loud but contemplation is silent. Contemplation is a lost art
in modern Christianity. The writings of earlier Christians like Savonarola
and Madam Guyon show forth the fact that these are saints who have
learned the art of contemplation. The writings of Sadhu Sundar Singh also
reveal the same depth of contemplation.
Degrees of Mental Strength
The minds of many people have been so perverted and weakened by
temptation that they can hardly concentrate for long on a holy thought. Their
minds are easily distracted and holy thoughts so fleeting as to be negligible.
Such Christians also usually live unsuccessful lives both in the kingdom of
God and in the world at large. There is no possibility of having a holy life
until we have a holy thought life.
Just as people have differing amounts of physical strength, people also
have differing amounts of mental strength. However, those with small sized
and weak bodies may develop them by spending time in physical exercise.
In like manner, those who are mentally weak can develop mental strength
by the exercise of contemplation.
To be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and
peace (Romans 8:6). The act of being spiritually minded – the minding of
spiritual things – is the act of contemplation. Contemplation involves the
concentration of our thoughts on the Word of God. The end result is the
renewal of the mind.
The Four Steps in Contemplation
The Old Testament saints who walked by faith exercised all these four
steps. They received the promises by seeing them, being assured of them,
embracing them and confessing them (Hebrews 11:13). The first step
involves visualizing, the second involves the assurance of faith, the third the
outflow of emotions and the fourth confession. You can see how these steps
are all related to meditation on the Word of God.
The first step involves the imagination. When we read God’s Word it must
not only be sounds to our ears, we must also allow the Holy Spirit to take
the Word of God and create pictures in our imagination. In other words, we
must not only read God’s Word with our intellect but with our imagination.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 13
A study of the Greek words for ‘mind’ in the New Testament will reveal
the different aspects and workings of the mind of our soul.
The Two Aspects of the Mind
The two main Greek words translated ‘mind’ are the words ‘dialogismos’
and ‘dianoia.’ ‘Dialogismos’ refers to the intellect or reasoning part of our
mind. It is the part that helps us to be logical and analytical. This word has
been translated as ‘reasoning’ in various passages (Luke 9:47; Acts 18:4,
19; 2 Corinthians 10:5). The other word ‘dianoia’ has been translated
‘imagination’ and ‘mind’ and is the more common word used in the New
Testament (Luke 1:51; 10:27; Heb 8:10; 10:16). This word has been used in
relationship to the heart (Luke 1:51; Hebrews 8:10). I believe that ‘dianoia’
has a direct relationship with the imagination part of our mind for Paul
speaks of the eyes of our ‘dianoia’ (Ephesians 1:18 ‘understanding’ –
The equivalent word for ‘imagination’ in the Hebrew Old Testament is the
word ‘yetzer’ which carries the same meaning. It has been translated
‘imagination’ several times (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Deuteronomy 31:21; 1
Chronicles 28:9; 29:18). The Bible shows very clearly that God is
concerned about our imagination. The renewal of the mind must include the
renewal of the imagination.
The Importance of Visualizing
When Eve saw the fruit of the tree of knowledge, she desired it
(Genesis3:6). When Lot saw the natural goodness of the land by the valley,
he made the wrong choice (Genesis 13:10). When Achan saw the
Babylonian garment together with silver and gold, he coveted and took them
(Joshua 7:21). When King David saw Bathsheba, he lusted for her and
committed adultery followed by murder (2 Samuel 11:2). Wrong
imaginations have caused the downfall of many.
However on the positive side, when Abraham saw the dust by day and the
stars by night as his descendants, faith began to arise in his heart to actualize
the promises of God (Genesis 13:14-16; 15:5, 6). Two people can face the
same set of circumstances but if the imagination of each is different, they
will have differing results. The ten spies saw themselves as grasshoppers
and ended up dying in the wilderness, whereas Joshua and Caleb saw that
they were well able to overcome the giants and they entered and possessed
the promised land (Numbers 13:28, 30, 33).
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 14
The difference between successfully walking on water and drowning lies
in the thoughts and imaginations. Peter started walking on water based upon
the spoken Word of Jesus but when he saw the waves, he was afraid and
began to sink (Matthew 14:28-30). It was not what took place outwardly
that determined the miracle of walking on water but it was what took place
inwardly – the thoughts and imaginations!
The Method of Contemplation
When we read the Bible, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us picture
the passages which we are reading. For example, if we are reading the
account of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew chapter fourteen, we
should close our eyes for a moment and see, in the eyes of our imagination,
Jesus walking on water. We should hear the waters gushing, the wind
howling, see the pitch of night in the early hours of the morning.
Our imagination should then catch the disciples rowing the boat, panting
and gasping away, with great effort against the strong contrary winds. Then
we hear the scream of the disciples as they notice a distant figure drawing
near them on the surface of the sea. At first there was a scream, then there
was a pandemonium of panicky screams as someone suggested that it was a
ghost. It must have been the strong waves and turbulent sea that kept them
from abandoning ship.
It was then that they heard the voice of their Master calling, “Fear not! It is
I!” For a moment there was dead silence. Then the gruff voice of Peter
pierced the stillness of the disciples saying, “Lord, if it is You, command me
to come on the water to you.”
The above is a short example of how the imagination can make a few
verses of the Bible come alive. We should not only read the Bible but we
should read the Bible with our imagination. At first we find it difficult to
picture anything because our imagination needs training and development.
However, gradually the mind will be strengthened and we can visualize
Scriptures that are more difficult to picture like the epistles. Through time
and training our ability to mind spiritual things increases and we begin to
reap the benefits of a peaceful and holy mind.
Just as an athlete would train a little everyday to develop physical strength
and stature, we should take time everyday to train our minds in the
contemplation of God’s Word. From five minutes we can increase to fifteen
minutes, half and hour and then one hour.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 15
Therefore, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever
things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is anything
praiseworthy, meditate and think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
The Assurance of the Promises
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
(Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the evidence and assurance we experience in our
spirits when the promises of God are implanted into our spirits. This
assurance takes place only when the process of meditation and visualizing
has impregnated our spirits. Without this process of implanting the Word
into our spirits, we would merely have information and knowledge about the
promises which would only be mental assent.
Abraham received the promise of God regarding an heir when he was
about seventy-five years old but when God spoke to him about a child in his
ninety-ninth year, Abraham laughed in unbelief (Genesis 12:4; 15:4; 17:17).
He believed that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars (Genesis
15:5, 6). At ninety-nine, he thought that Ishmael would be the key to that
fulfilment (Genesis 17:18).
Abraham had assurance for the promise concerning his descendants but he
had not yet received assurance for a son through Sarah. In spite of his initial
reaction of unbelief, Abraham became fully convinced – fully assured – that
God was able to perform what He had spoken. His assurance came despite
the impossible circumstances that faced him in the deadness of Sarah’s
womb and in his own sterile body (Romans 4:19). It was in such
circumstances that God asked Abraham and Sarah to change their names.
From that moment onwards, Abraham did not waver at the promise of
God. He was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God (Romans4:20).
Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, Abraham
was strengthened in faith by considering and meditating upon God’s
promise to him. Giving glory to God speaks of thanksgiving to God.
Meditation upon God’s Word produces assurance.
Embracing the Promises
Embracing the promises of God involves experiencing all the feelings
involved in the fulfilment of the promises of God. To see implies distance,
to be assured implies confidence, to embrace implies closeness. By this
stage whatever has been visualized and contemplated upon begins to
produce the good feelings involved. Being assured speaks of the confidence
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 16
received without feelings. Faith does not follow feelings but feelings are to
For example, if you are an athlete and you are lying sick in a hospital bed.
Visualizing the promises of God for healing, you should see yourself
running again. You are confessing the healing Scriptures to yourself. You
see yourself in a race. The crowds are cheering. You are in full health
running steadily to the lead. The joy of victory fills you. Your family
congratulates you. The joy of what you visualize so captivates you that you
forget that you are still in a hospital bed. You start rejoicing in what you
visualize and then suddenly you realize that you are still in bed. By then the
assurance of healing and health has been built stronger into your spirit.
In the first step of seeing the promise, you hold the vision but now in the
third step of contemplation, the vision holds you. It moves you. It motivates
you. It touches you. The reality of the vision far surpasses the reality of the
things around you. This is what is meant by embracing the promises. You
experience the vision emotionally.
Confessing the Promises
By the time your visualization and contemplation has reached step three,
embracing the promises, the fourth step of confession is easy. Many people
find this fourth step difficult because they have not gone through the first
three steps. Confessing the promises involves calling those things which be
not as though they were. It is the same principle as decreeing the promises
When we have spoken to the mountain to be removed, we are to believe
that we have received (Mark 11:23, 24). Abraham called himself a father of
many nations before he and Sarah received Isaac. To the world, he would be
telling a lie because they can’t see it yet but in God, he was telling the truth
because God had said it. He believed God rather than circumstances.
It is important to differentiate confession of things to come as though they
were and denying the existence of things as they are. Abraham was not
denying the existence of the impossibility in his circumstances but he was
denying the right of those circumstances to continue to exist. The cult of
Christian Science denies the existence of natural circumstances claiming
that it is all a mental mirage. Faith confession, however, understands that
natural circumstances are real but they can be changed and moulded by
believing and confession. This principle did not start with the faith
movement but it started in Jesus’ ministry.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 17
Jesus showed the power of words over circumstances and exhorted His
disciples over and over again to believe and exercise the same dominion.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and
be cast into the sea,’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but believes that those
things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says (Mark
If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move
from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you
If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to
the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain,’ Be removed and be cast
into the sea,’ it will be done (Matthew 21:21).
Jesus leaves us no room to doubt that if we have faith, our words will
carry the power to change our circumstances. We can have what we confess.
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 18
THE IMPORTANCE OF WORDS
Spoken words play an important role in the Christian life. If a person
claims to be religious or spiritual but does not know how to control their
tongue, their spirituality is false (Jam. 1:26). There are two Greek words
translated as ‘word’ in the New Testament. The first is ‘logos’ which means
‘the living word’ – the source of all ideas, words and creation (the life
principle). The second is ‘rhema’ which means ‘the spoken word.’
Understanding ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’
‘Logos,’ for the understanding of the Christian, can be taken as all the
total Wisdom of God inclusive of that which He has revealed to man in the
written Word, the Bible. Therefore, the written Word can be taken as a
compilation of His revealed ‘logos’ to man.
‘Rhema’ has always meant ‘the spoken word’ and for our study we will
take it as meaning this. Many Christians have a vague idea of the difference
and relationship between the two words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema.’ Some
Christian books and teaching have separated the identity of the ‘logos’ and
‘rhema’ that Christians don’t realize the relationship and link between both.
‘Rhema’ is a part of ‘logos’ revealed and manifested to a specific person
for a specific purpose and a specific time. It applies directly to the person
who receives the ‘rhema’ and indirectly as an example and teaching to
others. The Bible contains ‘logos’ but at one time all the ‘logos’ in the Bible
was ‘rhema’ to the people in the Bible. The ‘rhema’ comes from the ‘logos’
and a compilation of all the ‘rhema’ is the ‘logos.’
One way we can illustrate this is by the analogy of the human body. The
whole human body represents the ‘logos’ and the individual cells represent
the ‘rhema.’ Each of the individual and microscopic cells have a specific
function in a specific position and they live for a specific time. The whole
body actually consists of billions of cells.
Sometimes in the Bible the words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ have been used
interchangeably. In the book of Acts chapter ten, Luke the author, records
that while Peter was speaking these ‘rhema,’ the Holy Spirit fell upon all
those who heard the ‘logos.’ Both these words were translated ‘words’ in
the English Bible. The two words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ have been used to
refer to the same sermon which Peter preached.
All Promises in God’s Word are ‘Rhema’
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There are miracles in the Bible like parting the Red Sea, stopping the sun
and moon and walking on water which are records of how men of God
heard a ‘rhema’ for themselves and wrought such great miracles. Those
miracles are not ‘rhema’ to us. Therefore, if anyone wants to do such
miracles, they need to hear a ‘rhema’ for themselves.
However, there are some promises in the Bible that are clear-cut ‘rhema’
to all who read the Bible. Scriptures like ‘whoever believes in Him,’ ‘if
anyone is sick,’ or ‘he who believes in Me’ are all ‘rhema’ to as many as
come across those Scriptures (John 3:16; Jam. 5:14; John 14:12). We do not
need to ask God whether it is His Will for us to be saved. His Word tells us
clearly His Will (1 Timothy 2:4).
Some Christians equate walking on water with healing. They say that just
as we need to hear from God before we can walk on water, we need to hear
from God before we can be healed. They do not realize that walking on
water is not a promise but healing is a promise! The two Scriptures do not
stand in the same category. Scriptures that are not classified as promises are
records of the possibility of God working a miracle in a certain area but to
do them we still need to hear a fresh ‘rhema’ and command from God.
On the other hand, Scriptures that are classified as promises, some
conditional and some unconditional, are dependent on the conditions
specified for each promise to be fulfilled. Those who say that claiming
healing by faith through God’s Word is Christian humanism, advocate
claiming salvation by faith through God’s promises in the Scriptures. To be
consistent with their unsound theology, they might as well classify claiming
salvation in Christ based on the Scriptures as Christian humanism because it
is twisting God’s arm to save us from our sins based on what He promised
in His Word.
The problem is not in whether healing is God’s ‘rhema’ to us but rather in
the art of meditation on God’s Word until the assurance or faith has dropped
into our hearts. Many Christians act on God’s Word claiming healing by
faith in the Word without any assurance in their hearts. They do it not
because faith has risen in their hearts but because they have seen others do
- God’s Word is merely information to their minds but not revelation to
their hearts yet.
A Definition of Confession
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The word ‘confession’ comes from the Greek word ‘homologos’ which
literally means ‘the same as logos.’ Therefore, confession is to say the same
thing as the ‘logos’ or God’s Word says about ourselves or our
circumstances. I call this ‘Word confession.’ The operation of this principle
is the operation of the same spirit of faith. And since we have the same spirit
of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we
also believe and therefore speak (2 Corinthians 4:13).
When the Israelite spies came back from the promised land, ten of them
spoke words of defeat and discouragement. The Bible tells us that they gave
a bad report (Nu. 13:32). What they said was not in line with what God said
and promised. Only Joshua and Caleb said they were able to overcome. It
was also only Joshua and Caleb who entered the promised land.
Before David ever threw a single stone at Goliath, he boldly said that he
would give the flesh of Goliath and all the Philistines to the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field that all the earth may know that there is a God in
Israel (1 Samuel 17:46). He released a Word confession before he released a
stone from his sling.
The confession of our mouth works for or against us, positive or negative.
When Jacob unknowingly said that whoever has Laban’s false gods should
not live, Rachel, who had taken the idols, subsequently died (Genesis 31:32;
35:16-19). Jesus said that we will be judged by every word that we speak
(Matthew 12:36, 37). Death and life are in the power of the tongue
(Proverbs 18:21). The tongue has the power to control and rule the whole
course of nature (James 3:4-6).
James, in his writings in chapter three of his epistle, compares the tongue
to the bit in a horse’s mouth and the rudder of a ship. In modern analogy,
the tongue would be equivalent to the steering wheel of a car. It is the
steering wheel of a car that determines where the direction is. No matter
how powerful the car is, the steering wheel still controls the direction of all
its power. In like manner, the words we speak will control the course and
direction of our whole life. We should be careful what we say and only say
what is in line with the Word of God.
The Importance of Tongue Control
In almost all his epistles, which give explicit instructions on the conduct
of Christian life, Paul emphasizes the control and restraint of the tongue.
In Romans, Paul exhorts to stay away from and note those who cause
division through their words (Romans 16:17, 18).
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 21
In First Corinthians, he exhorts the speaking of things that bring edification
(1 Corinthians 14:26).
In Second Corinthians, he said that his written words were not for
destruction but for edification (2 Corinthians 13:10).
In Galatians, he tells the church not to bite and devour one another
In Ephesians, he tells us to let no corrupt word proceed out of our mouth but
only that which is good for edification (Ephesians 4:29).
In Philippians he tells us to meditate on things which have virtue
In Colossians, he tells us to do everything in word or deed in the Name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (Colossians 3:17).
In Thessalonians, he tells us not to be busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
In First Timothy, he tells us be an example to believers in word (1 Timothy
Paul tells us not to consent to those who do not have wholesome words in
line with the words of our Lord Jesus. He tells us to avoid profane and idle
babble (1 Timothy 6:3, 20).
In Second Timothy, he tells us that a servant of God must be gentle and not
be quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:24).
In Titus, he tells us to have sound speech that cannot be condemned and to
avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions and strivings which are
unprofitable and useless (Titus 2:8; 3:9).
In Hebrews, he tells us that Jesus is the High Priest of our Confession and
therefore to hold fast to our confession (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 10:21-23).
Anyone who reads the epistles without seeing that the Christian life
involves the control of the tongue needs their eyes to be examined. The
Word of God leaves us no room to doubt that it is a part and parcel of the
normal Christian life to speak the right words that are in line with the Word
Grieving the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, as a person, is sensitive to the words that we speak.
Notice how verse thirty in Ephesians chapter four is sandwiched between
two verses which has reference to the tongue. Verses twenty-five, twentynine
and thirty-one of the same chapter emphasizes the control of the
tongue. From this context, we can conclude that the grieving of the Holy
Spirit has to do as much with our words as with our actions.
Sometimes when a wrong word or conversation was indulged in by people
in my presence, I have felt a grieving in the Spirit. I did not realize it then,
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 22
but subsequently in learning to walk closely with the person of the Holy
Spirit, I have found Him to be sensitive to a lot of things which we human
beings are dull to.
We can also see that when the Holy Spirit takes control of a person, one of
the first things that happens is that the person speaks forth in a new tongue.
Since the tongue, according to the epistle of James, is the control centre of
our being, it would only be natural that the Holy Spirit would seek the
control of our tongue when He fills us. The filling of the Holy Spirit will
result in the control of our tongues to utter forth psalms, hymns and spiritual
songs (Ephesians 5:18, 19). The saturation of the Word of God in our lives
will also result in the same control (Colossians 3:16).
The Faith Confession
One of the obvious manifestations that we believe that God has heard our
prayers is the way we converse about those things we have prayed about.
Hearing the way some Christians talk about the things they prayed about
sometimes gives us the picture that they do not believe that God has heard
them. Their prayers seem to be just a religious exercise. God is real! He is a
rewarder of those who seek Him diligently (Hebrews 11:6).
Some people find it difficult to confess what God’s Word says about their
situation because they have not really believed in their heart. They need to
take God’s Word until faith rises in their heart and then make the confession
of faith. David could speak boldly against Goliath because he really
believed that God would help him defeat Goliath. The faith confession is to
believe in the heart first and then confess with the mouth.
The problem why some confessions do not materialize is because while
the mouth confessions are being made, the heart is in doubt. Please note that
Mark eleven verse twenty-four is dependent on the quality of the heart not
to doubt. You can have what you say if it is in line with the written Word
and if you do not doubt.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE THOUGHT LIFE
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 23
Many Christians are concerned about changing the outward life – their
habits and behaviour – without first changing their thought life. There can be
no holy actions without a holy thought life. If Christians will change their
thought life, they will be able to change their conduct. A lot of preaching
demands a change of the outward life like quitting smoking and drinking,
etc. Christians who hear such preaching struggle to quit and do not succeed
because they did not change inwardly first.
Jesus and the Thought Life
The revolution that Jesus brought forth to mankind was the replacing of
the Old Covenant with the New. The Old Covenant concerns itself with the
outward life. Paul makes it very clear in the book of Romans that the
struggle to conform to the righteous commandments of the law was not
outward inability but inward inability.
Paul speaks about the willingness and desire of the spirit man to follow
after the law (Romans 7:22). However, he sees another law of sin warring
against his mind (Romans 7:23). The warfare is in the mind! Later on in the
same book, he mentions the importance of minding the right things
(Romans 8:5,6). In Corinthians, he clearly stated that we are to bring every
thought to the captivity of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Jesus emphasized in His teaching that it was not just the action that is
important but the thoughts we think and harbor which are of prime
importance. If a man looks at a woman with a lustful thought, Jesus
considered it committing adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28). He said that
it was the thoughts of the heart that defiled a man (Matthew 15:19, 20).
Jesus pointed out that doubts in the heart, which are actually thoughts
contrary to the Word of God, would render faith that moves mountains
inoperative (Mark 11:23;Matthew 21:21).
Jesus also clearly pointed out that the reason why Peter failed to
successfully walk on the water was because of his doubts (Matthew 14:31).
Jesus demanded of Jairus that he be not afraid when bad news was given to
him (Mark 5:36). To be afraid is to be filled with fearful thoughts. To
believe and not doubt is to be filled with faith-filled thoughts. Jesus leaves
us no doubt to the fact that what goes on in the thought life is of great
importance to the successful receiving and performing of miracles.
The Relationship of the Mind to the Spirit World
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The realm of thoughts is also the realm where satan places his temptations
before us. Bad thoughts, evil thoughts, fearful thoughts and lustful thoughts
all have their origin in him. He builds strongholds over people’s lives by
feeding them the wrong thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). The downfall of
Adam and Eve started with their listening to the words and thoughts of
satan. By giving contrary thoughts to the Word of God, he produces doubt
Have you ever stopped to realize that satan is a fallen spirit being and not
a natural flesh and blood being? If so, did you realize that a spirit being is
having an effect on the thought realm? There is a direct relationship
between the thought realm and the spirit realm. The human mind is a
spiritual sensor and receiver of the things in the spirit world.
Of course, in its fallen state as it is, the human mind is not a perfect
instrument to sense the spirit realm. However, we continue to see a definite
link between the spirit world and the mind. When God created Adam and
Eve, the mind of man was a perfect vehicle to relate to the spirit realm. Ever
since Adam fell into sin, darkness has reigned in the minds of man. Paul
wrote that the minds of man, alienated from the life of God, have their
understanding darkened (Ephesians 4:17, 18).
The Purpose of the Mind
The thoughts that we receive come from three realms. They can come
from the physical realm, from the mental realm (where we think our own
thoughts), or from the spiritual realm. If we could isolate the thoughts from
the physical and mental realm from the thoughts of the spiritual realm, we
would be more spiritually sensitized. And if we could further dissect the
thoughts of the Holy Spirit placed into our minds through our spirit from the
thoughts of satan, we would be God-sensitized.
The sinister reason why satan seems to try to block our thought life with
temptations is that he wants to prevent us from discerning the thoughts from
the Holy Spirit. It is similar to radio operators trying to jam a transmission
by transmitting on the same wave length. The static produced is such that
we either completely cannot hear the broadcast we want or there is too much
electrical noises and static that the transmission we want to hear is hardly
audible. Once Christians realize the purpose of the mind as a receiving
station for thoughts from the Holy Spirit, we will never again entertain bad
thoughts which block our receiving channel.
This is not to say that God transmits directly into our minds but rather God
transmits to our spirits. Spirit communicates to spirit. However, what the
© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 25
Holy Spirit transmits to our human spirits will rise up as inner thoughts in
our minds if our minds are renewed and tuned to our human spirits.
The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword piercing even to the
division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner
of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Why should we
discern the thoughts that are in our mind? The purpose is to discern between
those thoughts that are from God and those that aren’t. The instrument for
doing that is the Word of God.
Jesus told His disciples that the Word has made them clean (John 15:3).
He told them in the preceding verse that those who bear fruit must be
pruned that they may bear more fruit (John 15:2). It is interesting to note
that the words ‘clean’ and ‘pruned’ come from the same Greek word. Jesus
was actually pointing out that the pruning process is done by the Word. The
Word cleanses our thoughts and the intents of our heart. The perfection of
the church of Jesus Christ has also been compared to Jesus cleansing His
bride with the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).
The Benefits of a Sound Mind
Jesus Christ demands not only the sanctification of our bodies but also the
sanctification of our minds. Part of the process of the sanctification of the
mind begins when we begin to take God’s Word and contemplate upon it
every day. We need to revive the early Christian teachings on contemplation
to make stronger Christians. When we have a firm grasp of the truths which
Christians have unfolded centuries earlier, combined with the truths of the
present Pentecostal revival, we will have a revival powerful in its outward
and inward forms.
A sound mind reaps the benefits of life and peace (Romans 8:6). Paul’s
exhortation in Romans chapter eight was that Christians would mind the
things of the Spirit so much that they could be led by the Holy Spirit. Note
the words ‘therefore’ which he uses in conclusion to his exposition on the
benefits of being spiritually minded in verse twelve. He connects spiritualmindedness
to being led by the Holy Spirit without the spirit of fear
Moreover, one of the strongest senses of the inner witness is the peace of
God. The Amplified Bible states emphatically to let the peace of God act as
an umpire continually in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). The Holy Spirit leads
and umpires us by the peace of God in our hearts. We cannot have this
peace without minding the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Furthermore,
Paul in speaking about the ‘umpiring effect’ of peace in our hearts also in
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the very next verse tells us to let the Word of Christ dwell richly (
abundantly ) in our hearts (Colossians 3:16). The contemplation of God’s
Word will bring us to a greater sensitivity to be led by the Holy Spirit.
The two principle keys of confession and contemplation must be mastered
by any Christian who sincerely wants a closer walk with God. These
principles are essential to the whole Christian life including the life of a
minister. Neglecting these principles will lead to shallowness in the
Christian life. Do not procrastinate. Start now to master these two
principles. God is not far from us. He is there all the time waiting for us to
learn to draw into His presence.
“For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too
mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 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?’ 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?’ But the Word
is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I
have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 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.” Deuteronomy 30:12-16