Some people get upset when they hear about positive confession. They associate it with New Age teaching, or some other religious fluff. Worse yet, it may be likened to “name it claim it” theology! And because they have misunderstood or have been taught wrongly, they shun what is an otherwise profound biblical concept and crucial tenet of faith.
What we speak is serious business. Words reflect what is in the heart: “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37). Don’t allow what you consider false teaching about positive confession to lure you away from the truth. You need to be speaking good things. If Jesus has changed your heart, then the flow of words from your mouth should reflect it. That’s not always easy, because the mouth has been strongly conditioned and influenced by the world. It takes faith to subdue it.
Our confession is actually an expression of faith. I’m not talking about reciting a creed. By confession I mean what we choose to let out of our mouths in any situation. Faith is expressed or denied by what comes out. You may have all the doctrines and creeds right, but what you speak will reveal what you really believe when the rubber hits the road. Do you believe that God has you covered? Then you won’t cry, “What am I going to do?” Do you believe the promises? Then you won’t say, “It’s hopeless!” What you believe will be spoken: “I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2Corinthians 4:13).
Faith without words is dead
James wrote that “faith without works is dead.” This doesn’t mean that you earn salvation by works, it simply means that real faith will result in works. In the same way, faith without WORDS is dead, too. The Bible teaches no silent witness. Words and faith are intertwined: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8). It’s not just in the heart, but in the mouth.
Consider the prosperity gospel the Lord gave to Joshua: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe 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). Joshua was told to meditate on the Word day and night. This means thinking on it and mulling it over. It means asking questions about it and considering it deeply. It doesn’t mean you have to have the Bible in front of you day and night. It doesn’t mean you can’t also think about other things, but it means that the Word is dominating your thoughts. And it shall not depart out of thy mouth. It’s not just in your mind or heart, but in your mouth as well.
Why is this important? Because “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).
Jesus said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). He never spoke death to people. He only spoke life. His words were spirit, and brought forth changes in each situation. We were created in the image of God, and we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom.8:29). While our words may not always be as powerful, they too are spirit. They have the potential to bring life or death.
Therefore, the Lord promised Joshua success if he would obey (Josh.1:7), speak, and meditate. In other words, it’s the Word in the heart, in the mouth, and in action.
Receiving salvation is dependent upon both the mouth and the heart: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom.10:9-10). While it may be necessary to confess sins, these verses teach that it’s the positive confession of the Lord Jesus that saves you. If you’ve sinned, confess it and be done with it (1John 1:9). But why do so many church services include a time for confessing sins to get closer to God? You shouldn’t have to wait till Sunday for a special moment to confess your sins. In worship, you should be confessing all the Lord has done to take away your sins!
No one is perfect, but looking for sins to confess when there’s no awareness of any specific sins causes you to look more inside yourself than to Jesus. It’s better to believe unto righteousness and confess good. It will boost faith. You see how it works in this Romans passage. “Confess with thy mouth…and believe…For with the heart man believes….and with the mouth confession is made…” Notice in these two verses the train of thought:
Confess – Believe – Believe – Confess
It’s all intertwined. Faith requires words. If you possess it, you confess it. God revealed what He possessed through Jesus. Jesus was called the Word. This was God’s communication to mankind. Jesus revealed “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). Although there were faint understandings of God through History, God showed who He really was in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the Word, or the perfect confession of who God is.
What do we confess? In any given situation, words will reflect what we possess. Do we possess life or death? Hope or fear? Defilement or purity? Faith or unbelief?
Words build faith
“Well what if it turns out that I don’t possess much faith?” This is probably the case for most people. Their faith is weak, and their mouths reveal it. Or they have both faith and unbelief in the mix, and give more voice to the unbelief. The answer is to make the positive confession, to confess the Word of God in the midst of the circumstances. Then as you speak, your faith can grow. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom.10:17). What do you normally hear coming out of your mouth? Start speaking life and truth. Speak Bible promises. This will create a better atmosphere for faith to grow.
Remember, the words of Jesus are spirit and life. You may not see a new car appear in your driveway just because you confessed it. But your words change the spiritual realm, which eventually plays out in the natural. This doesn’t make you a god. There’s only one God and you are not Him! But His Word will not return void, and He has given us His word with the command that it shall not depart from our mouth.
Look at how the Hebrews were exhorted: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:22-23; NKJV). They were to draw near in faith, not in the old way of ceremony. This was a group of Jewish believers who were suffering for their departure from the old religion. They were told to hold fast the confession of hope. Saying “hold fast” reveals that it needed a tight control. When we get into a bad situation, it’s like we have itchy trigger fingers and just want to go firing off at the mouth whatever comes to mind. Usually what comes to mind is not hope. We need to get a grip and speak the good confession. In doing so, we give God something to work with- our faith!
Again you might say, “But inside I’m shaking!” That’s when it’s a real exercise of faith to speak a confession of hope. Your mouth doesn’t want to, but you believe God’s Word and so speak it. In Hebrews 13:6 it says, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Why does it say, “that we may boldly say”? When do you have to be bold? When it looks like the odds are against you! The Hebrews were being persecuted and it looked bad, yet they were encouraged to BOLDLY say the Lord is my helper. It didn’t seem like the Lord was helping! That takes boldness.
When it seems like you’re not getting the help you need, be bold and declare, “The Lord is my helper!” It’s easier to declare the doom and gloom, but that won’t help your faith. If you possess a promise, confess it. Speak life into the situation. Praise God and frustrate the devil.
What will you say?
The Psalms give good examples of positive confession. “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2). It takes a deliberate mindset to know in advance how you will respond to a situation. Most often we simply react. Then the tongue goes flying and crying out all woes. Instead be proactive, and determine to speak yourself into the Lord’s care. Don’t “say of” the situation and magnify its threat. “I will say of the LORD…”
Have you ever felt like you were going to die? The next time that happens, make the declaration, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD” (Psalm 118:17). All too often, it’s easy to declare the works of the devil. You have a bad day, get mistreated, or world events cause alarm, and conversations will center on all of this. In an indirect way, this glorifies the devil. It lifts up his works. Instead, let the works of God come into focus. If you can’t see them, prophesy them! Declare that it’s not over, and that the Lord is still on the throne.
Psalm 118 continues: “The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death” (vs.18). The positive confession is that things are not as bad as they could be, I have not died. And things will get better: “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation” (vs.19-21). Praise is the gate of the Lord! When the enemy has you down, go through the gate and declare God is your salvation.
Positive confession is made earlier in the same Psalm: “All nations compassed me about, but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them” (vs.10). The odds were stacked against him. Past tense, it’s already happened. And yet he speaks a future tense victory. “I’m not going down, but I’m going to destroy them!” “They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them” (vs.12). There’s a past, present and future tense here. The trouble has already appeared (past). But it’s as good as gone (present). I will overcome (future). You can’t change the past, but you can have a say in the present and the future. Will you stay in bondage and speak negatively, or will you speak the truth?
It’s the truth that sets us free. The truth is, the Lord has already defeated the devil, and our trials don’t have to end in defeat. With God all things are possible, and He loves us. Speak thus and prophesy a good outcome. Don’t sentence yourself with a negative confession.
If you read Psalm 71, you will find several verses pertaining to the mouth. This is what the godly person speaks: praise (vs.8), God’s righteousness (vs.15, 16, 24), God’s power (vs.18), and rejoicing (vs.23). Talk like this will effectively frustrate the enemy.
God used Words to create the universe, and God sent His Son, the Word, to redeem mankind. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The gospel means good news, and can be taken as a positive confession. God made the confession through Jesus, and it changed the entire course of history. It resulted in salvation to all who believe. It has changed lives and nations. It has brought hope of a kingdom.
In the same way, when speaking good news in your situation, your words can have a godly effect. Speaking the promises and truth will turn things around in the spirit. It will play out in the natural as well. Some things may not appear immediately. We are still waiting for the glory of Christ to be revealed to all nations. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will, because the gospel has declared it.
In the same way, “speak as the oracles of God” (1Peter 4:11). Oracles mean divine utterances. You are not God, but God wants you speaking to effect good in a negative world. If He has brought good to your heart, then confess it. Don’t confess what the devil is hoping for.
Your words aren’t magical, but they are spiritual. Draw near to God and possess all He has for you by faith. If you don’t possess it, confess it until you possess it! And then when you possess it, continue to confess it. Faith without words is dead.