Racism, at its root, is really a spirit of division. Learn 7 ways to destroy the spirit of racism in your life and family!
No one in their right mind would willingly turn a rattlesnake loose in their home. Yet people everywhere are doing it, right now. They’re throwing open the doors of their lives to a spiritual snake so deadly that, according to the Bible, it brings with it “every evil work” (James 3:16, KJV). They’re making themselves vulnerable to a demonic enemy whose aim is to steal, kill and destroy; and whose strategy is to divide and conquer.
You can tell how well the strategy of strife is working just by looking around. The results are clear for all to see: people fussing and fighting with each other, relationships rupturing, entire groups of people arguing, accusing and hating each other—over everything from government policy to race and religion.
As if that weren’t bad enough, most of the people involved don’t have the first clue as to why it’s all happening. They can sense they’re being threatened and wounded, but they’re totally unaware of the snake in the grass. Determined to defend themselves, they’re fighting with each other because they don’t know who else to fight.
What Is Racism?
When people of one race or ethnicity rise up in hatred against another, we call it racism. But racism isn’t really a Bible word. The Scriptures don’t use it because from God’s perspective, racism isn’t a thing— it’s a spirit. It’s the spirit of division. The Greek word dichostasia indicates its work is “dissension, division and sedition.” It’s a work of the devil himself, and the demonic emissaries he sends out to do his divisionary work. By contrast, God’s work is peace, unity, harmony and joy (John 14:27; Romans 14:17).
If you’ll follow love, the spirit of racism—which is the spirit of division—will never be able to deceive you and spoil your house. When you understand the truth about races; learn to kill the root of racism; and use wisdom, love, perspective and forgiveness, you will be equipped to stand against this divisive spirit. Below are seven ways to destroy the spirit of racism, so it never has an opportunity to interfere in your life.
Learn how respond to racial tensions in America as Kenneth Copeland and Keith Butler discuss this important issue.
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” –1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV)
God never intended for Americans to divide up every chance they get and fight each other. His dream was always for this land to be a place where all cultures and people of all backgrounds could worship Him freely, together. He wanted a place where people weren’t divided into all kinds of different, so-called “races.”
As far as God is concerned, there are only two races on earth, anyway—those who have chosen to be a part of His family and those who haven’t. From His perspective, the division between those two groups is the only division there is. He has never divided up mankind on the basis of money, clothing, culture, geography or skin color. People began listening to the devil and came up with those divisions. He got in there and started creating havoc.
God’s dream is for people of all colors—black, red, white, brown and yellow—to live and glorify Him together. If you doubt that, just look at heaven (Revelation 7:9-10). God’s plan has always been BLESSING—people coming together through faith in Him and prospering together as one race.
2. Kill Racism at the Root
“The fig tree withered from the roots.” –Mark 11:20 (NIV)
Prejudice and integration are secular words. The world has been using them for years. Governments have bent over backward trying to deal with the problem they call “prejudice” by passing integration laws and forcing people to come together. Such laws are fine, as far as they go. But they’ve never really solved the problem. Despite the best efforts of governments and legislators, racial strife continues breaking out. “We thought we fixed this!” they’ll say. “So, why are people still fighting?”
They’re still fighting because prejudice is not the root of the problem. Prejudice is the result of it. Prejudice is like the leaves on a tree. The root of the tree is the spirit of division; and integration, by itself, won’t get rid of it. People can hate one another sitting side by side just the same as they can hate each other when they’re on opposite sides of town. In the front of the bus or the back of the bus, hate is hate. You can allow a man to sit in the front of the bus, and the people behind him can still look at the back of his head and hate every bone in his body. So, until you deal with the spirit of division, the problem will still be there.
The only antidote to hate and division is love. You can kill racism at the root by renewing your mind to the love of God. Regularly speak 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 over yourself. Then, determine to always respond in love to others through your words, your actions and prayer. If you’re walking in love, the spirit of division doesn’t stand a chance.
“Wisdom is the principal thing.” –Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
When ethnic groups are rising up against each other and ugly things are being said and done by people all around us, it’s tempting to let ourselves be drawn into the conflict. This is especially true when some of the ugly things being said and done are purposely directed toward us. We can be tempted to react in the flesh and become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
How do we make sure we don’t fall prey to that temptation? How can we continue being the blessing Jesus called us to be when the very people we’re trying to bless are yielding to the spirit of division and making us the targets of their racism, bigotry or hate?
Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.” The word principal means “first, highest in rank, importance or value.” It indicates that when we have God’s wisdom about a situation, we have the only thing that matters. When we have God’s wisdom, we have something so powerful, no one and nothing in this world can keep us down.
This is the reason we, as believers, don’t have to fight and get mad at people when the spirit of division uses them to try to oppress us in some way. We can keep walking in kindness and love because we have an advantage. All we have to do is believe and do what God says, and His wisdom will protect and promote us.
4. Love Your Neighbor
“Love never fails.”—1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)
Racism was rampant between Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day. The Jews viewed the Samaritans as half-breeds who were both racially and religiously inferior. The Samaritans, in turn, hated the Jews. The two groups detested each other so much they lived in separate parts of the country and practiced a segregated lifestyle.
Jesus confronted this ungodly perspective by telling about the Good Samaritan. At the time, it was unthinkable for a Jew to consider Samaritans to be his neighbors. This, of course, was the root of the problem. Those who were bigoted against Samaritans needed a new nature. They needed to believe in Jesus and be born again. Then, they’d be able to love their neighbors (Samaritans included) as themselves.
One of the many great advantages of being a born-again believer is that because Love Himself lives in us, we can love anyone, anywhere, at any time. We can love everyone from the beggar on the street corner to the braggart in the corner office. After all, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:5, KJV). We’ve inherited our heavenly Father’s nature. We’re love children of a love God, and we have inside us everything it takes to keep all His commandments.
5. See Things From the Other Perspective
“Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” –Philippians 2:3-4
If we’re going to bridge gaps that have been created by the spirit of division, we’ll need to care enough to put ourselves in the other fellow’s shoes and find out how he thinks, so we can be the blessing we want to be. If we don’t understand how people of other skin colors or ethnicities see things, we can wind up saying and doing things that are offensive to them simply because we don’t know any better. We can hurt them accidentally, just because we don’t understand their point of view.
Such mistakes aren’t unique to white people, of course. Everyone, regardless of skin color, can be offensive at times, so we shouldn’t be hard on each other. If someone says something insensitive to us, we ought to believe the best and assume that person isn’t intentionally trying to hurt us. Such assumptions are particularly safe in church because no born-again child of God can truly be a racist. No Christian, regardless of how he or she has been raised to think or talk about people of other races, can truly be a bigot at heart.
What about people who actually say offensive things on purpose? No matter how offensive people might be, you must never, for any reason, allow yourself to become offended with them. It’s not worth it. By taking offense, you become a partner with them and open yourself up to the work of the devil. Don’t take the bait!
6. Choose to Forgive
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” –Mark 11:25
When it comes to winning the war against the spirit of division, forgiveness is one of the mightiest weapons in our spiritual arsenal. As believers, we need to be using it all the time.
When we choose to forgive others, it will work for us and connect us to the same supernatural power that heals, delivers and works miracles. If we refuse or neglect to forgive people, it will work against us because our unforgiveness will choke off the operation of God’s Anointing, and His power will be restrained in our lives.
Many Christians don’t seem to understand this. They have the idea that forgiveness is optional. But what if someone has hurt you so badly, you can’t even stand the thought of them? What should you do?
Just obey Jesus. He didn’t ask you to feel better about the person who wronged you. He commanded you to forgive them. Forgiveness isn’t about feelings; it’s an act of obedience. It’s choosing to put God’s Word above your emotions by making a decision to say, “I forgive.”
7. Come Into Agreement
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you.” –1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)
The spirit behind racism, the spirit of division, is an enemy, and those of us who are members of God’s family need to be constantly on guard against it because it’s doing its best to set the world on fire all around us.
Worst of all, the spirit of division is targeting believers. It’s trying to split up churches and separate members of the Body of Christ, knowing, as Jesus put it, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
Those of us who live in the United States of America, especially, need to wake up to this danger because spiritual unity is one of the truths on which this nation was founded. Yet right now, Americans are picking sides and fighting each other with startling ferocity.
It’s one thing when Americans disagree with a leader’s decisions and refuse to vote for him or her. But it’s another thing when their disagreement turns to hatred. This should not be.
How should we respond?
Matthew 18:19 says, ““I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”
The word agree means “to make a symphony together.” It refers to harmonizing with one another like instruments in an orchestra. The same is true, spiritually, in the Body of Christ. Each of us is different, yet we’re one in the spirit. We don’t have to try to be one. Jesus has already made us one through what He did on the cross. When we’re in harmony, the power is so strong that miracles will be done (Matthew 18:19).
If you’re ready for that kind of miracle power in your life, right now just say out loud, “Spirit of division, I’m serving you notice, in the Name of Jesus, that my house, my church, my neighborhood, my city are closed to you. I’ll not be deceived by you anymore. From now on, I’m not moved by the differences between me and other people. I’m moved by the Spirit of God. My ministry is the ministry of reconciliation. I walk in love because God is Love. Whether anyone else loves me or not, is not my business. I’m going to love them because that’s what He’s told me to do. That’s my job, and I’m going to do it!”
When you put these seven ways to destroy the spirit of racism into practice and take steps toward binding the spirit of division, you will be doing your part to break the spirit of racism in this country. Stand for unity in your home, the Church and your nation. Then, get ready for a new day and a new power. Divided, we fall. But once we stand united—all heaven will break loose!
Are you on the path to excellence in your ministry? Every Christian has a calling to fulfill, and following these steps will ensure your success!
You are called to ministry. Whether God has called you to be a pastor or a first-rate engineer, if you are a born-again Christian, God has a purpose for your life that will further the kingdom of God. He strategically places His people all over the world—not only in pulpits and on mission fields, but in homes, offices, schools and the marketplace.
But to succeed in ministry, it isn’t as simple as heeding the call. To be effective and fulfill God’s purpose for your ministry, you need to get on the road to excellence, run the race, and “obtain the prize.”
The ministry of Jesus was one of excellence, and one that laid the foundation for success. Once you know your calling, to follow Jesus’ example, you must pursue excellence in every aspect of your life and ministry.
What Is Excellence?
The root of the word excellent is excel, which means “to rise to the highest place or to pass in accomplishments or achievement, to be distinguishable by superiority.” Excellence does everything with the highest quality and integrity. It is never subpar or mediocre in any way. Excellence stands above the rest.
In ministry, a spirit of excellence is a desire to reach toward God, rather than get something from God. That’s why a ministry of excellence will never promote itself or force success. It allows the gospel to do the promoting.
To honor God and find success in your calling, begin by following these six steps to excellence in ministry.
Step No. 1: Be Dedicated to Excellence in Ministry
A ministry of excellence is a ministry that does not plan to fail. Whatever you have been called to—pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or any other role in the Body of Christ, the Lord will not revoke the assignment given to you (Romans 11:29), so you are responsible for how you handle your calling. To do that, you must be dedicated to excellence in every area of your ministry and dedicated to success.
When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be in the light of your calling—not what you did, not what you meant to do or wished you had done, but what God said you were appointed to do. This applies not only to the fivefold ministry but to every member of Christ’s Body.
When you finally make a full, no-quit, no-turn-back, forever commitment to God, fulfilling your calling will be the most exciting thing you’ve ever done. He ordained you before the foundation of the world, but He did not leave you on your own! God has provided the power, furnished the weapons and equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your calling. Your part is to make a decision to be dedicated to your calling—a decision to pursue and maintain excellence in your ministry.
Step No. 2: Have Singleness of Purpose
What does it mean to have singleness of purpose? It means to be single-minded and driven in one direction. If you drive a car without a single destination in mind, you’ll be zigzagging and driving in circles. You won’t get anywhere! But when you have singleness of purpose, everything you do will drive you in that one direction.
What is your single purpose as a minister of God? To meet the needs of people. Many individuals and ministries often lose sight of this purpose. They get distracted with the number of people responding to them, the budget, projects or publicity. They don’t mean to, but sooner or later, they forget their purpose—to meet the needs of people.
We find in James 1:6-8 why single-mindedness is so important: “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (NKJV).
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, says, “[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating…).” What happens when you hesitate? Your adversary takes the first step. You find yourself on the defensive, with Satan ahead of you and beating you at every turn. If you are not single-minded about your purpose for the calling God has for you, you will not have any definite direction. You will always be wondering what you are supposed to do.
A double-minded man tries to operate in fear and faith at the same time. He does this by making plans in the flesh and preparing for defeat if what he wishes to come to pass doesn’t happen. As long as you’re making provision in the flesh, you’re making provision for failure. A man of faith never makes provision for failure. You will never find God playing nine-inning games. He plays until He wins.
Meet the needs of people. Say it out loud, “The singleness of purpose of my ministry is to meet the needs of people.” If you are going to do that, you are going to have to live by faith, because that is the only way you are ever going to meet their needs. Be determined to have excellence in your ministry, to live by faith, and to meet the needs of people.
Step No. 3: Follow the Leadership of the Holy Spirit
The path to excellence in life and in ministry is always the same—follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let’s face it, your mind likes to do a lot of its own planning, but if you lean on your own understanding, it’s only a matter of time before you fall flat. God has called you to a particular ministry, and He fully intends to lead you into excellence, success and a life beyond what you could ever imagine on your own.
That’s why He has given you the Holy Spirit—to guide you, instruct you and keep you on the path to excellence. A person who desires a ministry of excellence should pray in tongues at least an hour a day, and particularly before you preach or minister. Then, learn to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit within you. You will find yourself equipped with the answer to any challenge that comes your way.
Kenneth Copeland has found this to be true throughout his more than 50 years in the ministry. He once shared about a time when he first started in the ministry and found himself in a position where he needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit while he was preaching.
“One night, as I was preaching, I remember that the anointing was really strong, when a woman in the audience suddenly burst forth in tongues. I felt like someone had stood up and doused me with a fire hose. I said, ‘Lady, hold that.’ She just kept on. She grew louder still. By this time, the service was in shambles. This continued on for what seemed like an eternity.
“Finally, when she hushed, I looked right at her and corrected her sternly. The man sitting next to her spoke up and said, ‘Brother Copeland, she is stone-deaf. She didn’t hear a word you said.’ I found out later that someone had planned the whole thing. He had already run half a dozen preachers out of town with the same trick.
“I just closed my eyes and inside my own consciousness I said, ‘Lord, You will have to show me what to do. I am not going to make a move until You tell me what I am to do.’
“The answer came to me. It was so simple that my carnal mind would never have thought of it. I would not have even acted on it if I had thought of it! The Lord said, ‘Call her up and lay hands on her, and I will open her ears.’ I called her up, and God opened her ears.”
If you are going to minister to people’s needs, you will have to be led of the Holy Spirit because, more often than not, you will find yourself in situations that only His wisdom can handle.
Step No. 4: Strip Away the Things of the World
Excellence in ministry requires an excellent spirt in every area. This includes the conduct of those who work with you in ministry, as well as the operations of your place of ministry. For example, if your ministry is in your home, determine to have a home that is run with excellence. This means your home will be neat and clean, it will run in an organized way, and your children will be well-behaved. More importantly, you must first determine to have excellence in your own conduct.
The same is true if you are a pastor of a church. Every part of your church should operate with excellence. But it isn’t right to demand excellence from your staff or congregation if you don’t demand excellence in your own conduct. If your ministry is in a secular field, the same is true as well. Strive for excellence—expect excellence from your staff, in the dealings of your business, and in your own conduct. You can’t live a sloppy life and have an excellent ministry.
Oral Roberts once said, “If we demand excellence out of the students at Oral Roberts University, then we have to live by excellence in front of them.”
How do you achieve this? Strip away the things of the world.
We are in this world but not of it. So, to have excellence in our ministries, we must strip away everything of the world from our lives until there is nothing left but the Word of God. Strip away your negative confessions. Put the Word of God first place in your life and allow it to strip away all other things.
Watch as Kenneth Copeland teaches how negative thoughts cost you something and how to draw the faith line.
You can’t sit and watch television day and night, and expect to have an excellent ministry. Break the habit. Jesus said the cares of the world will choke the Word (Mark 4:19).
Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6, KJV). We cannot “feed” off of TV and be “good ministers of Jesus Christ.” We’ve got to strip away the things of the world to be effective.
We already know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17, NKJV). So, to achieve excellence in ministry, look to the Word of God day and night. It will guide you and keep you on the road to excellence. It will keep you from turning to the right or the left or using worldly wisdom to determine the path of your ministry.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” The Word is life and healing, and it stands for excellence in all things.
Exalt the Word in your life and ministry. Let it do the work. If there is ever a problem, apply God’s wisdom to it. Speak and act only on the Word. If you exalt the Word, people will be delivered.
In any area of ministry, if there is ever any doubt about which direction you should be headed, look toward the Word to direct you. Put the Word first. If you do this, everything else will take care of itself.
Step No. 6: Spend Time Fasting
To keep in tune with the Holy Spirit in your ministry, spend time fasting. The spiritual practice of fasting will help you hear from God and keep your flesh in line. Remember—fasting doesn’t push God into action, it helps you hear from God. He is always talking to us, but sometimes our “receiver” isn’t working as it should. Fasting is a tool that puts us in position to be more spiritually aware and “tuned in” to God.
Learn more about how to fast and the rewards of fasting here.
Anyone who desires an excellent ministry continually seeks God for direction. A fast will put you in the position to hear from God to receive guidance for a specific situation. Remember to keep your fast private and follow Jesus’ guidelines (Matthew 6:16-18). Hypocritical piety will defeat the purpose of a fast. If you publicize your spirituality, you will exchange the reward from God for a reward from men.
Spend time fasting and submitting your ministry to the leading of the Lord. This will help ensure excellence in your ministry every step of the way.
In conclusion, when you put these six steps to excellence in ministry into practice, you will fulfill the calling and purpose of God for your life. Whatever He has called you to do, purpose in your heart to do it with excellence. Then, when the time comes, you will hear those wonderful, beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Do you want to become a faith champion? Start by practicing the fundamentals! Learn the ABCs of faith that will catapult you to victory.
When you watch the Super Bowl or the World Series, you may be admiring the impressive skill of the players and the thrill of competition. But, have you ever thought about what you’re really witnessing?
The winners—the champions—in any sport are simply this—masters of the fundamentals. If you think about it, the game is the same no matter who is playing, whether it’s a Little League game played by 10-year-olds, or the World Series played by professionals in a grand stadium. So, how did the professionals become the best? How did they become champions? Practice, practice and more practice. Then, just when they thought they’d arrived, they practiced some more.
What did they practice? The fundamentals—the basics—of their sport.
This pattern of focusing on the basics—the ABCs—has been a hallmark of the most successful coaches and athletes in every sport. They know one important factor of reaching your goal—focusing on the fundamentals is what determines your results.
That’s how a child first learns to read. You wouldn’t sit down with a child who is first learning to read, hand him a novel, and say, “Read.” No—you start with the beginning—the basics. You start with the ABCs. To become proficient, a child must first learn to identify those letters that will make up words and sentences. It takes time!
That’s the way it is with faith. To become proficient in operating in great faith—to become a champion—you first have to master the fundamentals. As you do this, your healing will come faster, your financial breakthroughs will be quicker and easier, and your time between “amen” and “there it is” will narrow more and more.
You can become a champion of faith when you work to master these ABCs of faith.
A. Believe the Word of God
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” –Mark 11:24 (NIV)
Whatever the situation—whatever the challenge—FAITH will bring you the victory. And practice will produce the perfect law of liberty in every area of your life! The first, and most important, of the basics of faith is to believe the Word of God. You’ve heard it said again and again that faith begins where the will of God is known.
And faith always comes. There is no such thing as faith that won’t come—just like there’s no such thing as water that won’t boil. But it isn’t enough to just know the Word of God—you need to believe the Word of God. That means, whenever a challenge arises, the first place you go for answers is the Word of God. It can be tempting to just believe what the world says—the doctor says, “There’s no cure for this,” your employer says, “You aren’t qualified for a promotion,” your family says, “All teenagers rebel.”
But faith never stops at the world’s conclusions—it goes over and above them—to the Word of God. That’s your final authority. What others say may be fact, but it isn’t truth! The only truth is in God’s Word. So, believe the Word of God above all else, and you’ll always have success.
How do you get to the place where you believe God’s Word over everything else?
You spend time in the Word every day. You read and meditate on His Word again and again and again. You keep filling your fuel tank until it is so overflowing, you can’t help but operate in faith every day of your life.
What need do you have in your life today? Is it healing? Study the scriptures about healing—meditate on them, confess them every day, speak them out loud, read them over and over, listen to faith-filled teaching about healing. It is this repetition and consistency in your study of the Word on the matter of healing that will finally get it down in your spirit.
Kenneth E. Hagin once shared a story about a woman and her daughter who both had polio and couldn’t walk. They required round-the-clock care for their most basic needs. They, along with the woman’s husband, came to a series of healing meetings Brother Hagin was holding. During one of the meetings, the little girl jumped up and ran around the room—completely healed. But her mother stayed in the wheelchair. Why? She still had a mind filled with religious tradition that was keeping her from receiving, while her little girl came without anything but the faith of a child.
When the woman went home, she spent hours every day for months listening to the teachings from those healing meetings. Finally, when her mind was renewed, the truth of healing got down on the inside of her spirit, and she was completely healed! It took her longer because she had more renewing to do!
If that’s where you are today—in healing or anything else—this is a fundamental of faith. You’ve got to believe the Word of God, and you do this with a determination to get your mind renewed.
At the same time, what you’re believing for must be based on the Word of God—it can’t just be whatever you wish you had. Baseless faith is just making something up. Keith Moore once said, “You could just believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth, ‘Brother Keith Moore is going to come mow my yard.’ But don’t you get the idea I’m going to come mow your yard. I don’t mow yards.”
That’s why you need to have a good knowledge of the Word of God—it will give basis for your faith. This life of victory is no place for the spiritually lazy—it takes work! But it’s worth every bit of investment.
“He will have whatever he says.” –Mark 11:23 (NKJV)
Words are a powerful force. You can speak them so freely, it may seem hard to believe. But words are not primarily for communication. Words are primarily for power release. Words created this planet. That’s why what you say and what you don’t say is important.
Jesus modeled this for us when He came across a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit. And He said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” (Mark 11:14).
Eight words. And the moment He spoke, the tree was done. Then, He just turned and left. He didn’t wait to see if it worked—He just spoke to the tree and left. The next morning, he wasn’t looking to see if it worked. He was passing by and the disciples pointed out to Him that the tree had withered up from the roots. That’s the force of faith-filled words—they dominate the laws of sin and death.
There is power in your words as a born-again believer. That’s why it isn’t enough to renew your mind in the Word of God if you aren’t going to use it for anything. When a child learns his or her ABCs, the purpose isn’t just knowing them, but putting them to use—turning them into spoken words. The same is true with faith. It won’t do you any good to just know the truth of God’s Word—you’ve got to put it to work!
A word of caution: Your words are one of Satan’s main inroads to your life. If you keep your words in line with the Word of God, Satan is locked out. But if you start cursing yourself in your health, finances, marriage, children—suddenly he’s in and he has big plans to carry out what you’ve spoken.
For example, a renewed mind isn’t going to go around declaring sickness, disease, poverty, lack, strife and unrest. That’s a mind tainted by the world! A renewed mind knows better because it has had revelation of the Word of God.
Learn more about mastering the ABCs of Faith in this teaching from Kenneth Copeland.
“But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” –James 1:22 (NKJV)
Are you all talk when it comes to faith? You might say all the right things and believe all the right things, but when the rubber meets the road, as they say, what is it that you do?
James 2:14 says, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (NKJV). That means it’s no good—useless. The reality is, if you aren’t acting on your faith, it isn’t real Bible faith at all. But faith in action…now you’re talking about an unstoppable, undefeatable force.
What does it mean to act on the Word of God?
First, it means altering your lifestyle to fit the Word instead of trying to alter the Word to fit your lifestyle. It means whatever you see in the Bible—you endeavor to do it. No matter what. You don’t make excuses, you don’t try to change what it actually says to suit your own fleshly desires. You just do it by faith. You don’t try to do it. You don’t hope to do it. You do it because the Bible commands you to do it.
Second, it means making a move before you see a manifestation in the natural. It means expecting what God has said to come to pass. That means if you believe you receive your healing, you do what you couldn’t before—begin to move part of your body you weren’t able to before, get out of bed and take a step. If you are believing to get out of debt, put feet to your faith and pay even one dollar toward what you owe.
When you act on the Word, faith begins to grow, Satan’s dominion begins to wane, and circumstances begin to yield. When faith increases, it begins to change your attitude and outlook.
As you act on the Word, you can expect results if you are in obedience to it. If you are acting on the Word where the promises are concerned, without first acting on the Word where the commandment is concerned, then the promises will not come to pass. So, be sure you are in obedience!
Take a step of faith today and put it into action! If you act on the Word of salvation, then you’ll get saved. If you act on the word of healing, then you’ll get healed. If you act on the laws of prosperity, God will begin to prosper you. If you act on the Word concerning the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, you’ll receive it. If you act on the Word concerning the gifts of the Spirit, they’ll show up, or manifest, in your midst.
Acting on the Word brings the manifestation of the promises of God straight into the midst of your life.
Putting It Together
What happens when you work to master the ABCs of faith? There are so many examples in the Bible of the basics of faith coming together to yield a manifestation. But, if we just look at the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:24-34, you can see all three of these ABCs in motion:
A.She believed the Word—she believed what she had heard about Jesus. She had been shut in her home and not allowed to leave, so she had time to meditate on what she was hearing.
B. She spoke words of faith, and said, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” But she didn’t say it just once. That won’t get it. One translation says, “She kept saying.” Why? Because if she didn’t keep saying it, unbelief may have come in. She could have said, “I can’t do this. Look at me! I’m bleeding! I can’t go out there. I’m too weak. No, I can’t do it. They could stone me for it if I do.” That’s why she had to keep saying it and avoid saying anything contrary.
C. She put it into action. She went out in bold faith, reached out and touched Jesus Christ. And healing power, or as one Bible version says, “virtue,” came straight from Him to her faith, and she was made completely whole—healed.
D. She forgave. The ABCs of faith will only work in a loving, forgiving atmosphere. Imagine this woman. The Bible says she had gone to doctors who had treated her and taken all of her money. Not only was she not better—she was worse! She would have had to forgive those doctors for the damage they had done to her to move forward in faith and receive her healing (Mark 11:25). If you have any unforgiveness, you’ve got to get rid of it. It will keep your faith from operating.
When you practice and master the ABCs of faith—the fundamentals—you are well on your way to becoming a champion of faith! Believe, speak and act on your faith. Remember to always forgive those who have wronged you. Now, get to practicing the ABCs of faith—your victory is waiting for you!
Do you have a battle plan to counterattack the strategies the enemy uses to keep you defeated? Don’t let the devil catch you off guard—you can defeat the enemy every time!
Do you have a battle plan to counterattack the strategies the enemy uses to keep you defeated? If you’ve ever served in the military, you know that no military unit would ever dream of going to war without a battle plan. What is a battle plan? It’s a strategy to exploit your enemies’ weaknesses and to maximize your strengths so you can win. If you’re not in the military, perhaps you’ve never thought you needed a battle plan—but you do because you have a spiritual enemy, Satan, who has waged war against you.
As Christians, we know Jesus has already defeated Satan for us (Colossians 2:15), but that doesn’t mean Satan isn’t going to use certain strategies to try and trick us into believing otherwise. His strategies are intended to keep us defeated and to take everything that is rightfully ours.
This is where some Christians are deceived. They say, “The enemy is already defeated,” then lie down and take a whipping. If we had no responsibility to stand our ground against the devil’s schemes, then God would not have told us to “resist the devil” (James 4:7) or to use “the weapons of our warfare” (2 Corinthians 10:4, KJV), and He would have had no need to give us “authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19).
The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy, having influenced military strategies for centuries. The author, Sun Tzu, says, “He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.”
Forethought. Have we been thinking and planning ahead for the devil’s attacks? Or are we shocked and dismayed when he uses his strategies to try and steal, kill and destroy? Are we taking our role seriously, or are we making light of our opponent?
We need to have a battle plan, “so that Satan will not outsmart us” and we do this by becoming “familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). It’s what the military calls intelligence.
God has given us all the intelligence we need to keep the devil under our feet. Psalm 144:1 says that He trains our hands for war. He reveals the enemy’s strategies, and then tells us the plan of counterattack.
Don’t let the devil catch you off guard. Be prepared! Below are four strategies the enemy uses to keep you defeated and how you can launch a counterattack—and win!
Strategy No. 1: The Enemy Instills Fear
“God has not given us a spirit of fear.” –2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Fear is Satan’s primary weapon. It’s a spiritual force that begins inside you, and it is totally destructive because it robs you of your faith and peace. It keeps your focus on circumstances instead of the promises in God’s Word.
That’s why the Bible commands 110 times to “fear not.” It’s why, when Jairus needed healing for his daughter and the circumstances didn’t look good, Jesus was quick to instruct him, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50). Jesus was warning Jairus of the greatest enemy to his daughter’s healing—fear.
The enemy instills fear by challenging the promises of God. An excellent example of this is found in Matthew 14 when Jesus invited Peter to come to Him on the water. “But when he [Peter] saw the strong wind and waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted” (verse 30).
What enabled Peter to walk on the water? His faith in the Word of Jesus. What caused Peter to sink? He saw the strong wind and waves, and he was afraid. It wasn’t the wind and waves that defeated him; it was his fear of them!
“He is a liar and the father of lies.” –John 8:44 (NIV)
One of the strategies of the enemy is to lie to you every day. Do you ever have negative and discouraging thoughts that come out of nowhere? Sometimes they can be hard to recognize as the enemy’s lies because they sound like they could be true. However, if you accept them as truth (or believe them even for a moment), you’ve fallen for his sly tactic, giving him the upper hand.
The enemy knows your insecurities, and he plays on them. He knows the fears you fight against, and he tries his best to feed them by telling you lies. Now, the question is: Why does he lie to you? What does he get out of it? The answer is this: access to your life. He has come “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and if he can get you into wrong thinking, wrong believing, wrong saying and wrong acting, the door to your life is wide open to him.
So, if you have any thoughts that are opposite of what God says—thoughts like you aren’t going to be healed, delivered, saved, prosperous, full of joy, full of peace, full of hope or powerful in the kingdom of God—know they are outright lies straight from the pit of hell itself.
You can’t afford the “luxury” of entertaining the enemy’s lies. There’s too much at stake. Your health. Your family. Your relationships. Your money. Don’t let the devil become your counselor in the areas of life that matter most. He’s the father of lies and your greatest enemy.
Watch Gloria Copeland and Pastor George Pearsons teach on how to defeat Satan’s attacks:
Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). To do this, start lining up every thought with the Word of God. John 10:27 says, “My sheep know my voice” (CEV), so when you hear another voice speaking lies, take those lies captive and throw them to the ground before they ever have a chance to take root.
Respond with the truth. You can’t fight thoughts with thoughts, so it’s important to speak out God’s truth when the enemy lies. For example, if the devil says, “You’re not smart enough for that job,” you answer back: “Oh yes, I am, devil. For it is written that I have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” –James 1:13 (NKJV)
God will never tempt you to do anything wrong. In fact, He has given you every tool to resist the devil so he will flee from you (James 4:7). The enemy tempts you to sin—and no one is exempt.
How does Satan tempt you?
Sometimes he’s obvious about it—tempting you to lie or commit acts of immorality or another sin clearly defined as such in God’s Word. But a lot of times, he’s subtler than that. For example, he may tempt you to think you are holier than others or that you’re doing others a favor or your “Christian duty” by judging and exposing people. You might even start thinking more about your own feelings, needs and desires than those of others.
That is how the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He pulled out all the stops to get Jesus to abandon the path of obedience and keep Him from what God had sent Him to accomplish.
When Jesus was in the wilderness, “after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread’” (Matthew 4:2-3, NIV). Satan came to Jesus when he sensed weakness and tried to prey on that weakness. And…he’ll do the same to you.
The greatest danger in a believer’s life is to ever think that you are above temptation. That’s when you’ve let your guard down, taken off your armor, and assumed your work is done. But the truth is “that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8, AMPC).
The Counterattack for the Temptation to Sin
Recognize there’s a way out of it. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV). In other words, this is nothing new. Satan repeats the same old tired tricks, but God has provided an escape.
Answer the temptation with God’s Word. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness to turn stones into bread, he answered Satan with, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). He didn’t ponder Satan’s suggestion or entertain it. He didn’t phone a friend and ask for advice. He immediately shut it down with the truth found in the Word. You can do the same when the enemy tempts you to sin! Answer back with God’s Word, and do it quickly and confidently. Shut. Him. Down. Make him turn tail and run the other way. It’s a counterattack he can’t defeat.
Strategy No. 4: The Enemy Stirs Up Pride
“Pride leads to conflict.” –Proverbs 13:10
One of the most effective strategies the enemy uses to keep you defeated is to stir up pride. Satan fell because of pride, and he wants to take you down with him by getting you prideful. Don’t let yourself fall into it!
What is pride? Pride is defined as “an over-high opinion of one’s self; exaggerated self-esteem or conceit, haughtiness or arrogance; self-esteem arising from one’s accomplishments or possessions; an exaggerated idea of one’s own dignity or importance.” That’s just the dictionary definition, and it’s bad enough! But the Bible goes even further in its description of pride by identifying it as one of the seven things that God hates. Proverbs 6:16-17 calls it an abomination to Him (AMPC).
Satan knows pride is the path to destruction and shame (Proverbs 11:2, 18:12), so he will deploy tactics to get you prideful. He’ll start whispering all kinds of things you want to hear in hopes that you will become puffed up. He’ll say thing like, “You know, you’re much better than those other Christians. You have more ministry skills, and you live holier.” If you fall for this tactic, before you know it, you’ll be having an extra-high opinion of yourself. You’ll be walking in pride.
How many times do we see believers get into trouble because they get an overblown idea of themselves? They begin to think they’re so smart and have it all figured out. That’s a sure sign they’re listening to the devil’s whispering. Then, the next thing you know, they’re thinking they have to straighten everyone else out. Instead of just letting Jesus be Head of the Church, they feel like they have to step in and do the job.
Once that happens, it’s just a matter of time before conflict arises, and they fall flat on their faces in failure. Why? Because the Bible says God resists the proud (1 Peter 5:5).
Watch as Gloria Copeland and Billye Brim reveal Satan’s nature and character in this video:
The Counterattack for Pride
Humble yourself. According to 1 Peter 5:5-6, being truly humble means to submit to God and His Word. That means when God says something, you believe it, no matter how foreign it is to your own thinking. When God says to do something, you do it. Romans 12:16-19 (ESV) gives us instructions on how we can be humble by obeying God: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’”
Be grateful. Keep a watch on yourself, and when you catch yourself getting puffed up with your own greatness, repent and remember that every good thing you enjoy and every bit of success you’ve had has come by the grace of God and by His power.
Don’t judge other Christians. The Bible has a lot to say about judging our brothers and sisters in Christ because we can end up being hypocritical. We are told repeatedly not judge or condemn others, so that we will not be judged or condemned (Luke 6:37). James 4:12 (ESV) says, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” When we stop judging others, and start judging ourselves instead, pride goes out the window.
Are you ready to go to war against these four strategies the enemy uses to keep you defeated? Now, you know that the enemy instills fear, the enemy lies to you, the enemy tempts you to sin, and the enemy stirs up pride. Practice identifying his strategies every day, and use God’s battle plan to counterattack and win!
Do you know what it means to live a holy life? When you make a decision to be set apart from the world and live in holiness, you will unlock the supernatural! Get three ways to live a holy life below.
There’s a dimension of living you can only experience when you make a decision to please the Father in every area of your life. In that dimension, Jesus becomes real to you and manifests Himself to you. As you discover how to be holy, His power becomes alive in you.
Just after the turn of the 20th century, God poured out His Spirit and started a revival on Azusa Street in California. It was an awesome time, a time when people’s entire lives were turned inside out. Everything else in their world seemed to lose importance. Supernatural things were happening, and God was manifesting Himself in their midst.
The people involved in the Azusa Street Revival soon began to be known to the world as “holiness” people. They got that title because they were so obviously different from everyone else. Few believers today even know what holiness means. Even fewer understand the outpouring of God that comes to those who dare to step into it.
What Is Holiness?
“You put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” –Ephesians 4:24 (NKJV)
This scripture tells us that righteousness and holiness are two different things. Righteousness is what happened to you when you were born again. You were made righteous when you made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. He provided right-standing with God for you at the Cross.
But holiness is another matter. Exactly what does the word holiness mean? It simply means “separation to God” or “conduct befitting those so separated.” To separate means “to set apart, to disunite, to divide, to sever, to disconnect, to part company, to go in a different direction, to cease to be associated, to become distinct or disengage as cream separates from milk and rises to the top.”
Holiness is a decision of your will—it is what you choose to do with your life. It is your conduct—living according to God’s commandments. In short, holiness is doing those things that please Him. It’s what you do with your time and your actions. It is living to please God—and it bears fruit!
As Andrew Wommack has said, “Holiness is a fruit, not the root.” In other words, living a holy life is not the way to God—it is a byproduct of being born again. You don’t live a holy life to get God to love you—He already loves you! You don’t live holy to get saved or to get God to move. You live holy because you are motivated by your relationship with and love for your heavenly Father. You are responding to the love of God rather than trying to get Him to respond to you.
So, how can you live a holy life? When you disconnect from the world, flee from temptation and obey God’s Word, you will live a life that is pleasing to the Lord—you will be holy.
1. Disconnect From the World to Live a Holy Life
“Do not be conformed to this world.” –Romans 12:2 (ESV)
The Bible warns us again and again that there should be a definite line drawn between us and the world. That means our thoughts, actions, words and behaviors should be noticeably different—we should look like Jesus! The Bible says, “As the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living” (1 Peter 1:15, AMPC).
Sadly, that’s not how most Christians live. They go to church and act nicely on Sunday, then live like the world the rest of the week. This should not be! “We have been set apart as holy” (Hebrews 10:10, GW).
To be set apart means we’re not living like the world, not thinking like the world, not sick like the world, not broke like the world, not without resources and power like the world, not engaging in sin like the world. Instead, we’re separated from the world, and walking with God in His ways.
How can we do this? A lot of it has to do with what we’re feeding on. If you spend most of your time watching secular television, listening to secular music, watching the news, and hanging out with unbelievers—you’re unequally yoked with the world, and it will have an effect on you—whether you believe it or not.
In this world, sexual sin, violence, foul language and drunkenness are celebrated, while morality and Christian values are laughed at. That’s why 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”
We should minister to non-Christians—they need the good news. But this scripture is telling us it is not good to have ongoing fellowship with them. Don’t hang out or let your hair down with that group. They’ll end up having a negative effect on you. “If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Sometimes, it can feel challenging to be set apart because it means we stand out, and God knew ahead of time that this would involve persecution. “The world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world” (John 17:14). But remember, great blessings and honor come to those who are persecuted for His sake (Matthew 5:10; 1 Peter 3:13-17).
First John 2:15 (NIV) says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
When you were born again, you were translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:13). You were taken and lifted out of darkness. You were separated. You were severed. Now, you can go back in that darkness if you want to. The devil can’t make you go back to the darkness without your agreement, and God won’t make you stay in the light. It’s your choice.
That’s a sobering thought! But the Bible instructs us to be sober in these last days. It teaches that we should be serious about sanctifying ourselves; that we should “follow…holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, KJV).
If we want to live a holy life, we must be disconnected from the world and its ways, and connected to God and His ways.
“But we’re just human beings,” you may say. “Is it really possible for us to be holy?”
Yes, it is, because we’ve been born again. When that happened, we were separated to God on the inside. Now, God expects us to walk out that separation so that it will take effect on the outside.
Holiness isn’t a scary thing that only a few people achieve. Everyone in the Body of Christ should walk in holiness. We have been given the robe of righteousness, but we have to maintain it. We have the HOLY Spirit living inside us for that purpose—He directs us in holiness. We can do our part if we choose to disconnect from the world.
2. Flee from Temptation, to Live a Holy Life
“Flee the evil desires.” –2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)
You can resist any temptation that comes your way. Did you know that? We’ve got power. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “When you are tempted, [God] will also provide a way out” (NIV). We must flee from temptation, to live a holy life.
Whose job is it to keep ourselves pure? Whose job is it to straighten out things that are displeasing to God in our lives? To flee from temptation? Is God responsible? Was He responsible for Adam and Eve when they disobeyed Him in the garden? No. He told them exactly what to do. But they had a choice, and they knew what they were doing.
We have a choice, too. “Let us cleanse ourselves” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We’re temples of the Holy Ghost—indwelt by the Spirit of God. So, when our flesh rises up, the Bible says to crucify it (Galatians 5:24).
What does that mean? That means you don’t let your flesh live any way it wants to live. You crucify it. When it wants to do or say things it shouldn’t do or say, you say, “Body, shut up. You are not going there. You are not doing that. I don’t even want to hear that.”
It isn’t a sin to be tempted. Sin is yielding to and acting on it. When temptation comes, it’s often a thought that seems to come out of left field. That is just the devil seeing if you’ll go for it. So, what do you do when that happens? You say, “I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus, Satan. You get out of here.”
Kenneth Hagin said many times: “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair.” And that’s exactly the way it is with thoughts from the outside—those temptations coming to you from all directions.
That’s what happened with Joseph. Potiphar’s wife said, “Come to bed with me.” In so many words, he said, “No way.” But one day, she just jerked his clothes off of him. His response? He did exactly what the New Testament says to do, which is “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV). And that’s exactly what we need to do—we need to flee from temptation, to be able to live a holy life.
Adultery, fornication and every kind of sexual immorality is in epidemic proportions in the Church—and it’s time to take a stand against Satan’s work. To live a holy life, you have to flee from temptation. Don’t entertain it, don’t consider it, don’t have lunch with it. Don’t think twice about it. Flee.
3. Obey the Word of God to Live a Holy Life
“Be holy in all you do.”—1 Peter 1:15 (NIV)
As we’ve already discovered, holiness simply means separated to God. It’s what you do with your life day by day. It’s ordering your conduct according to the Word of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If you’re separated to God, you will obey His Word—not just some of the time, and not just by obeying some of His commandments, but all the time, obeying all His commandments to the best of your ability.
If you are living separated to God, disconnected from darkness, you will stand out and be distinguished. Many people are born again, but they never disconnect from their old lives. They never spend enough time hearing from God, reading the Word for themselves, praying, or learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit within themselves—teaching them how to be separate from the world. As a result, they never change on the outside. But the change on the outside is what enables you to walk free.
It’s when you change on the outside that you experience the blessings of God. When you change on the outside, you experience all that God provided for you when He saved you. That’s when you will walk in holiness.
Obeying the Word is the same today as it has always been. Sin hasn’t changed; God’s commandments haven’t changed. The world, society and what is deemed acceptable is always changing. For example, it used to be scandalous to get a divorce. But hearts have hardened, and over time, it has become more and more acceptable—even in the Church. Well, just because things are viewed differently in the world doesn’t mean the Word of God has changed.
So, to live a holy life, we don’t go by what the world says is good and right. We don’t call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). We keep ourselves on God’s side of the line—obeying His Word.
Watch Kenneth Copeland share how when you follow God’s Word, He will manifest Himself to you, and blessings will overtake you!
We keep ourselves on God’s side of the line of walking in love by continually putting the Word in our eyes, in our ears, day by day, letting God speak to us, listening to His correction and instruction, and letting the Word of God prosper our souls. If you aren’t hearing God correct you—you aren’t listening! He will always be correcting you and telling you how to come higher and higher.
Your obedience to His Word is an act of holiness, but only if it is motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13:3). So, be sure your heart is right when you act on the Word.
In conclusion, when you disconnect from the world, flee from temptation and obey the Word of God, you will be living a holy life motivated by the love of God. Holiness doesn’t happen to anyone by accident. It requires a decision of the will. Make that decision today.