Years ago when I was a student at Oral Roberts University, a woman came up to me and told me that after some investigation she had concluded that God had taken His hand off Oral Roberts. When I asked her what had brought her to that conclusion, she explained that she'd seen a number of people miraculously healed during his meetings. She'd been present and witnessed those incidents herself. In fact, in many cases she'd checked with the people after the service to determine for sure that they were actually healed. But the problem was that sometime later she'd followed up on these people and discovered that many of them were not healed anymore.
I remember after she told me that, I just stood there for a moment. It didn't make sense to me to conclude that God had taken His hand off of Oral Roberts just because those people had lost their healing. But I told her I'd pray about it.
So I prayed about it. That's when I began to understand about Satan's counterattacks. I began to see that when we have a mighty victory in God, the devil doesn't just give up and go home. Oh, no. He waits around for an opportunity, and then he launches a counterattack in order to turn that victory back into defeat.
The Word warns us about that in Ephesians 4:27. There we're told to give no place to the devil. That says to me that if you give him any place; he'll take it. In other words, you have to stay alert and keep your shield of faith high because if you don't, he'll turn around and steal back from you the ground you just took.
Some believers make the double mistake of letting that happen and then blaming it on God or on the ministers of God. “Well, Brother Copeland,” they'll say, “I just don't understand why Sister So-and-So had that sickness. I mean, if there ever was anybody faithful to God, it was her."
Don't ever get caught saying something like that. Follow the advice of one of the great men of faith of the twentieth century, Jesse Winley, pastor of a church in Harlem, and “don't ever put your righteousness up beside God's and say that God is the problem.”
God is not the problem. He doesn't make mistakes. If anybody is making a mistake, it's us.
God's Word says healing is for us. Jesus has already paid for it. Deliverance is for us. Victory is for us. So if there's any problem, it's in our receiving, not with His providing. He's already done His part.
Let me show you what I mean. One day I was asking God for more power. I was really intense about it. “Oh God, give me more of Your power. I just need more power.”
As I was praying, however, God interrupted me and said, “Kenneth, I want to ask you something. Where am I going to turn?”
“What are You talking about, Lord?” I answered.
“You asked Me for more power. Where am I going to turn to get it?” He asked. “Who can I turn to and say, ‘Kenneth needs more power. I’ve already given him Myself, but that wasn’t enough. Could you give us some more?’ There’s nobody for Me to say that to, son. I’m the end of the line. I’m Number One.”
Then He said something that astonished me. He said, “I could have filled you with an angel. But I didn’t. I didn’t entrust you to an angel or any other created being. I came Myself. That’s Me on the inside of you. Now, if you’ll begin to act like that’s Me in there, you’ll realize you have all the power you need to do whatever I’ve called you to do.”
So I asked Him, “What’s been my problem then?”
“You’ve been asking for more power when you already have the power,” He said. “You’ve been depending too much on how you feel about it. Rise up now and walk in faith. I’ll do the rest. You just act like the New Testament is one hundred percent true.”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it works!
You see, the problem is not with God. In fact, the more I prayed about it, the more I realized that it was not because God had taken His hand off Oral Roberts that those people had lost their healing. No, the problem was that after they left the meeting and got out into the everyday world again, they fell back into their old thinking patterns. They let their faith down. They gave the devil an opening.
Then when the first symptom of that old disease came along, they said, “Oh dear, look at that. I thought I was healed, but I guess I’m not.” They fell victim to the devil’s counterattack. They didn’t expect it, and they weren’t prepared for it. So they inadvertently allowed him to turn their victory into defeat. If we don’t look out, that can happen to any of us.
It doesn’t have to, however. You can stand successfully against the devil’s strategies! But before you do, you’re going to have to make three quality decisions, three decisions about which there is no debate and from which there is no retreat.
First, you must make the Word of God the final authority in your life. I’m not talking about taking half of a verse of scripture and twisting it around to say what you want. I mean you make a decision to become a serious student of the Word of God and to line up your thinking with whatever it says.
Next, you must decide to live your life by faith in what God has said. The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Once the Word is your authority, you decide that you’re going to operate by faith in the Word of God, to act and speak and live as though that Word is true regardless of what your physical senses may have to say about it.
Finally, you must decide to live by the love of God because faith works by love. Without love, your faith won’t function. Without the Word, you can’t have faith. So don’t try to make any one of these decisions without the other two. You need to make all three of them, specifically, on purpose--at a given time, on a given day.
I suggest you get alone with God, take the elements of the covenant, get down on your knees before Him, and as you take communion say:
“In the name of Jesus, I commit myself from this day forward to use my energy and my strength on this earth to live by the Word of God, to live by my faith, and to live by the love of God.”
Once these decisions are made, you’re ready to stand up against the devil. So, with that foundation, I want to give you now the five basic steps to victory. If you’ve received very much from God, you’re already familiar with them. They’re simple. They’re consistent.
But let me warn you about something. Knowing them, even memorizing them, is not enough. It never did a hungry person any good to think about what a potato tastes like. Not even if he can remember it perfectly. Your memory won’t do anything but feed your mind. It won’t feed your body. It’s good to have the Word of God in memory, but it’s also necessary to go directly to the Word of God, to feed your spirit with it, and to keep yourself in constant check.
I’m a pilot. If I had to, I could quote to you the take-off procedures of the airplanes that I fly. That’s good to have them memorized. But I don’t go by memory when I fly. I take out the checklist and use it every time. So, learn these principles. Commit the Word of God to memory. But don’t ever let memory substitute for getting that Word before your eyes on a daily basis.
STEP ONE: Since you’ve already made the Word of God your final authority, your first step to victory is to go to the Word of God and find out the promises that cover your situation.
Second Peter 1:4 says that God has given us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of [or as one translation says, “that we might participate in”] the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust [or through pressure]. Going to the promises of God makes the problem of faith easy. It’s easy to believe someone when you know exactly what they said. It’s hard to believe someone when you don’t know what they said. So go to the promise that covers your situation and find out what God has to say about it!
STEP TWO: Fix your attention on God’s promise. Follow the instructions He gives us in Proverbs 4:20-22 where He says, My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings [pay attention]. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Once you've found the promise of God, keep it before your eyes. Incline your ear or be ready to hear the Word and reject everything else if necessary. Quit focusing on the words of the world, the words of your friends, and the words of your family. Not even the word of your doctor is the last word. He's not the Alpha and the Omega, JESUS is, thank God!
This step is crucial. Notice verse 25 in Proverbs 4: Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Don't get distracted. Don't let the circumstances around you draw you back into the world's way of thinking. Keep your mind on the Word!
STEP THREE: Never go to God on the basis of your need. Go to God on the basis of His provision.
Be extreme with yourself about this. Refuse to use prayer as an opportunity to rehearse your problem. Instead, use it as an opportunity to rehearse the solution God has given you through His Word. Remember, faith never says, “I need, I need.” Faith always says, “I have, I have!"
STEP FOUR: Speak to the mountain. Jesus said, 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 (Mark 11:23). Please note that Jesus didn't say, “Whosoever shall speak to God about this mountain." He said we should speak directly to the mountain the desired end result.
“But Brother Copeland, doesn't that sound a little foolish?"
From a worldly point of view it does. But I Corinthians 1:27 explains that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty...and things which are not to bring to nothing things that are.
It's always going to sound foolish to the world when a Christian talks as if what God has promised is reality, especially when those promises seem to contradict the natural evidence around us. But if you want to keep the devil defeated, that's the kind of talking you'd better be doing.
The Bible says that God Himself talks that way! In Romans 4:17 it says, [He] calleth those things which be not as though they were. Please notice, however, that it does not say He calls things that are as though they're not. That's an important distinction.
It means that if I have sickness in my body, I won't say that the sickness doesn't exist. I'll say that healing is mine. I'll believe I receive my healing, and I'll call myself well!
Remember when Jesus spoke to that fig tree in Mark 11:147 He said, “No man eat fruit of you again forever.” That was all He said. He didn't go into a lot of other conversation about it. He didn't waste any words. He just said, “No man eat fruit of you again forever,” and walked off.
If you had stopped and asked Him, “Have You checked to see what happened to that fig tree You spoke to?" He wouldn't have had anything to say about it except, “No man will ever eat fruit from that tree again.” He wouldn't have had to go look at it. No, once He had spoken it, He considered it done.
STEP FIVE: Praise God. Praise Him in the morning. Praise Him at noontime. Praise Him at night. If you've never praised God in your life, then get started right now. Praise Him and praise Him and praise Him and praise Him!
Praise Him that the mountain is gone. Praise Him about how wonderful it is to be free. Praise Him that Jesus went to the cross and bought and paid for your healing. Praise Him for Calvary. Praise Him for the name of Jesus.
Don't just whisper about it either. You ought to be shouting your way to work and shouting your way back home! If there's anything the devil can't stand, it's praise.
I'll tell you one thing for sure. If you've gained territory from the devil and he's coming against you to get it back, this is not the time to sit down and start whining about how things aren't working out. It's not the time to decide that God has somehow taken His hand off your life.
It IS the time to get into the Word and get yourself re-anchored in what God has promised about your situation. It's the time to keep that promise constantly before your eyes and in the midst of your heart.
It's not time to go crying to God about your needs. It's time to pray the prayer of faith and take your stand or the basis of His provision.
When Satan starts shaking your mountain, don't retreat and run for cover. Speak to that mountain with the authority you wield in the name of Jesus Christ. Then, when you're done with that, start to praise and shout the victory.
If that's not a pretty good picture of what you've been doing, you may need to go back to square one and take a look at what you think faith is. Because if you're going to represent Jesus on this earth, you're going to have to walk in faith. Not just any of kind of faith either. His kind of faith.
Come on, you can do it--and once you do, you won't have to be afraid of the devil's counterattacks anymore.
He'll be afraid of yours.