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Salvation is a byproduct of the words we speak that are in alignment and agreement with what we believe in our hearts. So the focus needs to be on what we believe or what we're thinking. The focus can't be merely on just what we say.
Look at Mark 11:23. It has been often quoted as “Say to this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and cast into the sea,' and it shall obey.” But it doesn't say that. It says, “Whosoever shall say to this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and cast into the sea,' and believes in his heart or shall not doubt in his heart that those things which he says shall happen, he shall have whatsoever he says.”
We see it as “Those things that he says shall be granted to him,” but we are missing the most important step, and that is believing it in our heart. The reason we don't believe it in our heart is because we're trying to conduct ourselves in appropriate Christian manner, which is to say right things, to speak the Word; that is proper conduct. But if we don't deal with our thought life, our conduct of confession will not produce any results.
Do you see why there are so many Christians that have spoken the Word but they haven't seen anything change? That thing is only going to change based on the weight of confidence in your heart that you actually have—not just the words you actually speak. It takes both of those working together. What you believe and what you think need to precede what you say. When you say what you really believe and what you really are thinking, that's when your words have power.
But when the things you say out of your mouth are not in alignment with what you really think in your heart, your words are not going to have any power. And that's why we're often discouraged. We have tried confessing the Word, but we have not focused on our thought life, which is where our creative power is. Our thought life is the author or the parent of what we believe in our heart. What we believe in our heart, when spoken out, is going to come to pass; but when we speak something that we don't really believe in our heart, it won't have any power.
You may say, “Is that really true?” Well, think about it in your own life. Think about all the things you really didn't believe but you said them out of your mouth anyway because you thought this “confession stuff” should work. It really didn't change anything because you didn't have the confidence in your heart to back up the words that came out of your mouth.
It's critical those two things work together, and that disconnect is why things aren't working. I'm not an engineer or an electrician, but if we plug something into a power outlet that is not connected to the power plant, nothing is going to happen. It may look like an electric outlet—it may look like a power source—but if it's disconnected behind the scenes, it is not going to produce any results.
In the same way, you might speak words that may look like you're confessing the Word, but if there's nothing behind the scenes, if you're disconnected behind the scenes, it's not going to change anything. That's why we've got to deal with what is behind the scenes. That's where our emphasis ought to be: in our thought life. That's where we ought to be changing things.
Then our confession is going to come out of the overflow of our heart—out of the overflow of what we really believe and what we really think. That's when things will change on the outside! As a man thinks within, so is he.
That ought to set us free. It ought to make us so free. Why? Because now I know what I need to focus on—what I'm thinking. My thought life is the road by which Satan gets access into my life and my thought life is the road by which God gets access into my life. And so I need to make sure I have some police officers patrolling that road.
That's why it's so important that we deal with our thought life as Christians. We need to get control of our thought life. Do some construction around those roads that are influencing our lives and make sure that our thoughts create a way for God to have access into our life, not the devil.
Gregory Dickow is the founder and pastor of Life Changers International Church, one of the largest churches in the Chicagoland area. He also is the host of The Power to Change Today—an international television ministry that reaches a potential audience of more than 900 million households weekly.