by Gloria Copeland
Have you unlocked God’s master plan for your life? When God created you, He designed you for a purpose, and He has the master plan for you to fulfill that purpose. No one else has the plan or can carry out the plan because He created it just for you. It’s your responsibility to seek the Lord and unlock the plan. To unlock the plan, you must have a key, and that key is faith…specifically, your faith. Without using your faith, you will never tap into all the plans God has for you in this life.
The power of faith will not only launch you into the promised land of God’s master plan for your life, it will also give you the power to conquer the giants once you get there. It will move every mountain that tries to stand in your way.
Faith will bring God’s power on the scene to do whatever needs to be done in your life. It will heal your marriage and straighten out your children. It will fill your bank account. Faith in God’s Word will do whatever it says in your life. “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (l John 5:4).
That’s why, when Ken and I moved to Tulsa and began hearing the message of faith, we just couldn’t get enough of it. We wanted to hear it…and hear it…and hear it. We’d drive through ice storms, slipping and sliding, to Kenneth E. Hagin’s meetings just to hear him preach—morning and evening for three weeks straight. I think every meeting he would teach faith from Mark 11:22-24. We received it and WE GOT IT!
In those verses, Jesus said:
Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
When Ken and I first started studying those verses, we had more mountains in our lives than we knew how to climb. We were defeated in almost every area. We had countless questions and very few answers. So when we heard that faith would move mountains, we were eager to find out more about it—and we’ve been learning about it ever since. Even now, we don’t know everything there is to know, but we know a lot more than we did when we started. We know not only from the Word but also from experience that it doesn’t matter what kind of problem we run into, faith in God’s Word will always fix it.
Actually, I learned early on that faith would fix even me! That was an important discovery because I had some natural weaknesses and shortcomings that could have kept me from fulfilling God’s plan. I didn’t possess the natural talents and inclinations necessary to do what He had called me to do. Like everyone else who sets out to do God’s will, I had what you might call an ability gap.
That was demonstrated quite clearly when Ken preached his first meeting. Before Ken spoke, the pastor of the church hosting the meeting asked me to stand up and say a few words to the congregation. (Traditionally, that’s what preachers’ wives were expected to do.)
My response was, “No.”
That’s all I said. I didn’t add, “I’m glad to be here” or “God bless you.” Nothing else. I didn’t intend to be rude, but, I felt very uncomfortable speaking in front of people and I didn’t want to do it. That was the sad shape I was in when we went into the ministry.
Of course after the service, I repented. “Lord, I’m sorry about that,” I said. “The next time someone calls on me, I will jump up, open my mouth by faith, and expect You to fill it.” I’ve done exactly that ever since. Little did I know then how thoroughly the Lord would take me up on that promise.
The Ability to See His Plans Through
In the years since, I’ve preached to thousands of people again and again. How have I done it? With the ability God provides. When I tap in to His grace by faith, it is always sufficient for me. God’s strength truly is made perfect in my weakness.
That’s a fact you’ll want to remember because as you step into God’s Master Plan for your life, one of the first things you’re sure to realize is that you don’t have the ability to do all God is telling you to do. When He unfolds His plan before you, you may be tempted to say, “Lord, You’ve got to be kidding. Have You looked at me lately? Have You checked the balance in my checking account? Are You aware that I have a track record of failure in that area? I don’t think I’m Your best choice to carry out this plan!”
If you’ve ever had thoughts like that, don’t be discouraged; you’re in good company. Abraham, the famous Old Testament father of faith, felt the same way when God told him he and his barren, old wife were going to have a baby. Although that was part of God’s Master Plan for him and for the nation of Israel, Abraham thought the idea was so far out he actually fell over laughing. When Sarah heard God’s promise, she had the same reaction. She “laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’” (Genesis 18:12, New King James Version).
Why did Abraham and Sarah consider God’s plan so outlandish? Because they looked at themselves and each other every day. They were old! They knew their history of barrenness. Physically, they had absolutely no ability to have children. So the idea that they were about to become the father and mother of nations seemed ridiculous.
But when Abraham and Sarah realized God was serious, they stopped laughing. They got serious and did exactly what Jesus said we should do. They had faith in God. They began to speak His Word and believe His promise would come to pass in their lives.
Sarah and Abraham proved that faith works! They demonstrated it can overcome every obstacle. It can even turn barren, wrinkled centenarians into the beaming parents of a new baby boy.
Developing the Faith That Takes
Abraham and Sarah believed they received God’s promise, just like Mark 11:24 says to do. Exactly what does it mean to believe you receive? I can tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean we just sit back and say, “Well, I’ll accept whatever happens. I’d like to have God’s promises fulfilled in my life but…I’ll just leave it all up to the Lord.”
Although that may sound very spiritual, it’s actually unscriptural. Some people have the idea that if God wants to give them something, He’ll do it without requiring any action on their part. So when they fail to see God’s promises come to pass in their lives, they assume God just didn’t want to fulfill those promises in their particular situation. But they’re mistaken. God always fulfills His promises when His conditions are met. He is a promise-keeper, not a promise-breaker.
Mark 11:24 clearly commands us to believe we receive what we ask for when we pray. We can’t leave up to the Lord what He has left up to us. And He has given us the responsibility not only to believe, but to receive the things He has promised us in His Word.
The Greek word translated receive in Mark 11:24 is a strong, aggressive, action word. It means “to take, to get hold of,” “to receive to oneself,” “to take back.” It is an action word. I think seize would be an appropriate word to describe it.
If we don’t seize by faith what God has offered to us in His Word, it’s not His fault—it’s ours. God has already done His part. He has provided every blessing, every good gift we could ever need, and has extended those gifts to us through His Word. But that by itself does not complete the transaction. For a gift to be exchanged there must be a giver and a receiver.
We all know that’s true in the natural world. Imagine, for example, it was your birthday today and I walked up to you with a lovely gift. I could say, “Happy Birthday!” and offer it to you. But if you just stood there looking at it with your hands at your sides, that gift would never do you any good. Even though it belonged to you, and I had already bought and paid for it, if you didn’t reach out and take it, you’d go home empty-handed.
On the other hand, if you would take hold of that gift, you’d take possession of it. You could open it up and enjoy it. When you did, both you and I would be greatly pleased and blessed.
We must do the same thing with God’s promises. To enjoy their benefits, we must receive them. We must say, “Thank You, Father, for that promise. I believe it’s mine and I take it by faith right now.” We must begin to think, speak and act as if that promise is already ours. That’s just how faith works.
Then, when the devil tries to talk us out of that promise, we refuse to give it up. We rebuke the devil and tell him to get his hands off our situation, in the Name of Jesus. When we do that, we’ll experience victory.
Let Your Mountains Hear Your Voice
Another important lesson about faith we can learn from Abraham and Sarah is that they imitated God’s example by calling “those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). God Himself convinced them to do that by giving them new names. A year before Isaac was born, He changed Abram to Abraham, which means “father of many nations,” and Sarai to Sarah, which means “mother of multitudes.” So Abraham and Sarah made a confession of faith every time they said their names.
Why is that important? Because, according to Mark 11:23, one primary characteristic of faith is that it speaks the Word of God and believes those things it says will happen. Real, Bible faith is never silent. It continually speaks God’s promise. Faith has a voice—the voice of victory!
Many Christians don’t realize that. They diligently study the Word, and faith arises in their hearts, just as Romans 10:17 says it will. Faith comes to them as they hear the Word. But because they never open their mouths to speak by faith, their faith never bears fruit. It dies unborn!
Remember this: Faith comes by hearing, but faith goes into action by saying! It is applied to the situation by words of faith. “Well, I just don’t think my faith is big enough to get the job done,” someone might say. “I think that’s my problem.”
If so, that’s no problem at all because Jesus told us what to do about that. When the apostles came to Him and said, “Lord, increase our faith,” He answered:
If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink? (Luke 17:6-8, The Amplified Bible).
According to Jesus, it doesn’t matter how small our faith is, if we’ll plant it by speaking out what we are believing, it will grow up and get the job done. When we release our faith with the words of our mouth, it goes to work for us like a servant and does what we send it to do.
That’s one of the first principles Ken and I learned when we began to study faith. I’ll never forget the day the revelation of it fully dawned on me. I had been listening to Kenneth E. Hagin’s tape You Can Have What You Say on an old, 6-inch, reel-to-reel tape recorder. I had taken copious notes and was excited about what I was hearing. Revelation was coming to my heart and mind.
In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus clearly put a great emphasis on the words we say. As I took notes and listened to Brother Hagin preaching from this scripture about faith and the power of our words those many years ago, suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He said, In consistency lies the power.
That’s when it hit me. It’s not just what we say in prayer or in church, but what we say continually that makes the difference. What we say consistently will come to pass in our lives because that’s what we really believe in our hearts. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34, NKJV). What you say continually is what is abiding in your heart. If you want to know what is in your heart, listen to your mouth. It’s very revealing. Most of the time, it’s too revealing for comfort.
At that moment, sitting in our shabby, little rented house back in 1967, I decided I had to take control over my words. I made up my mind to start speaking words of faith not just in church or when reading my Bible, but all the time. I saw it wouldn’t work for Ken and me to speak faith words for a while, then quit when results didn’t come right away and we felt discouraged. We couldn’t afford to lie in bed and murmur to each other about our problems at times like that. We couldn’t declare a faith timeout and say, “Why isn’t the Word of God working for us?” “Why aren’t we getting any results?” “What is going to happen to us?” “How will we make it?” “What are we going to do now?”
Those negative words would undermine the whole faith process. We literally could not afford to say them at any time. Every word we said was important.
I’m absolutely convinced that had Ken and I not followed Jesus’ example and begun confessing God’s Word over our lives, rather than words of unbelief, we could never have connected with God’s Master Plan. We would have remained stuck in our old patterns of defeat and inadequacy. Instead of stepping into the bright, new future God had planned for us, we would have continued walking around and around the paths of the past.
The same is true for you. To successfully walk out God’s Master Plan for your life, you must start saying what God says about you. You must come into agreement with God. That will put you where you need to be!
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