If faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), then, it follows logically, that fear or unbelief also comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Satan. I dare say that any word that sends fear down your spine is not from God, it has an origin from Satan. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…” (1 Timothy 1:7) Words have the power to break down or build up. Encouraging words build, discouraging words breaks down.
In a very popular battle tagged as David and Goliath, we see the power of words at display. Goliath, described as the champion of the Philistine, used words to instil fear and drive away courage from the hearts of military men.
1 Samuel 1710:And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.11:When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.23:And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.26And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
It seems words was a military strategy in Biblical days and still is. In 2 Kings 18:29-37, we see another incident of a military strategy, where words were used to send fear signals. Now, in 1 Samuel 17, you realise how Goliath used words to break down the hearts of men, mighty men. “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” But there is an interesting part of this story. The same words that put fear into the hearts of men, was heard by a teenager, and he interpreted those words differently because his faith was grounded in God— God’s word, not Goliath’s word “…the Philistine of Gath…spake according to the same words: and David heard them.” (vs20). In verse 26 of 1 Samuel, we see the response of David to the intimidating words of Goliath “…for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Now, I believe that every bad report, discouraging or frightening words, be it a bad medical report, a bad news about a business deal gone bad, a threatening boss etc. — is not necessarily about us. It is an affront to the glory of God in our life. It is an attempt by the enemy to sow fear and doubt in our hearts concerning God. The enemy is not after our lives per se, he is after the glory God displays through our lives. So the next time the enemy uses words to generate fear and doubt in your mind about God, counteract those words with faith in the word of God. : Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
Note the difference carefully: “Faith in the Word of God” not “Positive thinking”. There is, I believe, a world of difference between faith and positive thinking and the former is what Scriptures advices. David did not just confront Goliath with words of positive thinking. He dared Goliath based on his faith in God and his faithfulness.
1 Samuel 1734: And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:35: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.36: Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.37: David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
“The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” Now this is not mere Positive thinking and believing in one’s ability. This is faith grounded in God. The strategy for a believer is not to think positive thoughts—there are limits to positive thinking. The strategy is to think faith: Faith in the word of God (Romans 10:17), and that my friend can turn around any negative onslaught of words against your life from the camp of the enemy.