Joseph Prince - Change How You See And Change Your Life
Praise the Lord. We'll start off with a passage from Scripture. Every time we read God's Word, something good happens to you. Just by reading, just reading the Scripture. So, let's read this Scripture together from Proverbs chapter 4. Ready, read. "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life". Now, every time you read God's Word, the Bible says, God's words are like this. They are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh.
Now, notice that this passage says you pay attention to God's words. And it says incline your ear to his sayings. That's what you are doing right now. But watch this. A lot of us neglect this. "Do not let them depart from your eyes". What does it mean? Does it mean that you must take God's Word and put it right in front of you, do not let it depart from your eyes and knock into lampposts and kick over dogs and all that? No, of course not. What does it mean? See God's Word, see God's Word. And then what's going to happen? The next line says, "Keep them in the midst of your heart". God's Word will drop into your heart. What's going to happen? "They are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh". And then it says here, "Keep your heart with all diligence".
So, notice that the whole purpose of God's Word saying, "They are life to those that find them". Of course, you read any part of God's Word, it will minister life and health, but specifically in this passage he's telling you, "I'm about to tell you something that will minister life and health to all your flesh". And it is this: "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life". Life, health comes out of your heart. Likewise, sickness comes out of your heart. Long before there is a sickness in your body, before it manifests in your flesh, it already existed in your heart. Jesus himself said, listen, "A good man, out of the good treasure," of his what? Heart. Brings forth what? Good things in his life. An evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. You see that?
In other words, he's saying that whatever you speak shows the fulness of your heart, amen? You see people spouting out profanities and words that are vulgar, it's because their heart is full of it. I'm gonna teach you something about your heart that's gonna bless you. Everything you see in your life right now, Jesus himself said, proceeds from your heart. If there are things that's happening in your life right now you're not happy with, if you're seeing shortage and lack of provision, if you're seeing, like, your family dysfunctional and your children rebelling against you and your wife not respecting you, or you don't see the kind of marriage that you want, or you don't see the kind of life that you envision a blessed man should have.
Let me tell you this. Long before these things happened, it proceeded from your heart. Jesus said that, a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what? Brings forth means he brings the whole thing out of his heart out there, where it exists. So, don't like your life, don't like what you see? Change your heart. So, Jesus is saying, "Keep your heart with all diligence". In the Hebrew is very interesting. With all that you can keep, keep your heart. With all that you can keep, keep your heart. Above all things, keep your heart. So, what is the heart? In order for us to understand the heart, we need to see how it functions. The way God defines the heart is showing us how it functions. I'm going to show you the first mention of the heart in the Old Testament and then the first mention of the heart in the New Testament. Because the Bible interpretation call it the law of first mention. Every time a subject is mentioned the first time, there is something powerful that we can learn from it. Okay, are you ready?
All right. From Genesis chapter 6, the first mention of the heart, it says, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". Do you see that? God links the heart with the imagination of man, the imagination of the thoughts of his heart. So, what God is saying to us is that we think our imagination and thought is of the mind. God is saying your imagination is of the heart.
Now, there's a place of your mind called the analytical, the logical part. In the Greek, it is dialogismos, where you get logis, logic. Then there's another part of your brain, your thinking, that's called dianoia, which is the noia, which is actually the picture part of it. The way we study our present culture in Singapore is based on the Western style of education, the Western style is more dialogismos, which is logic, analytical, okay? We analyze things. We analyze words. We logic things out. But in the middle is during the time of the Bible and all that, God's people, they learn with pictures. God gave them pictures, amen? God is a God that gives you faith pictures of your life. The way he imparts faith is to give you a picture. And you all know the saying, "A picture paints a thousand words".
So, why not use a picture? You use a thousand words. I still don't get it. So, first of all, the first mention tells us about the heart is tied up with the imagination, but then the Bible says God saw that the wickedness of man was great. But as long as it's in the heart, it's in the imagination, why bother, right? But no. With God, what is in the heart, what's in the imagination is as good as done, and that's how men became wicked. Long before they were wicked, they saw it in their heart. That's the reason why the devil is flooding the hearts of our young people, and not only young people, old people as well, with pornography, unclean images, why? God said the imagination is as good as the creation of it, as the working out of it. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, he says this, "I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already", say already, committed adultery with her where? in his heart.
Now, do you use your dialogismos logic when you fantasize lustfully? No, you don't. You use your pictures. That's where the devil wants to attack, because that's the area imagination is given by God. The devil perverts it, because the devil knows that he can disease, he can fowl up, he can make unclean your imagination. It will reproduce in your life. So, God wants to clean up your imagination. Can I have a good amen? By the way, commit this adultery in the heart is not the first mention of heart in the New Testament. In the first mention, it's the same chapter, the Sermon on the Mount. Let's look a few verses before. This is the first mention of heart in the New Testament. "Blessed are the pure in heart," Jesus said, why? "For they shall see God". He links heart with seeing. What are you seeing on the inside?
Jesus says, "Out of the good treasure of your heart, you will bring forth. You will bring forth good things". You don't like what you see? Change your heart. Change your imaginations. Hallelujah. He wants you to change your life from the inside out. That's why God gave us the Bible. The Bible is actually God's picture book to transform your heart. For example, we think of meditation as taking a verse, for example. And I thought that. There is a teaching on that. But what happens is that we forget to look at it in the Middle Eastern way of seeing the picture. Instead we try to get analytical. We get into our dialogic, all right, and we try to logic out the thing. But you know there's Psalms 1 about meditation. It says here his delight is in the law of the Lord. And in his law, in God's Word, he meditates day and night. And then God gives you a picture. He shall be like a tree.
This is what you need to meditate on. See yourself like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth your fruit in your season, and your leaf is evergreen. We say things like evergreen hits, you know, evergreen songs, right? Why? They never grow old, evergreen. You will never grow old. Your leaf shall not wither. That's you. This is what you need to meditate on. We told you earlier, all right, in God's Word, in God's law he meditates. He's referring to what follows. See yourself like the tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth your fruit, you are fruitful, all right? Your leaves are evergreen, you never dry up, you never wither, and not only that, whatever you do prospers.
Another picture he wanted to show you is this, Psalms 128, all right? Bible says this is how a man is blessed when he fears the Lord. You will eat the labor of your hands. See yourself as someone enjoying the labor of your hands, not somebody else taking credit, not somebody else enjoying the labor of your hands. See yourself enjoying the labor of your hands. See yourself happy at work. See yourself happy. These are God's faith pictures, amen, that God wants to put in your heart, because it will happen in your life outwardly as well. And how does God see your wife? Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine. Your wife a fruitful vine, so you see her as a fruitful vine. Your children will be like olive plants. All these are pictures. Olive plants.
Do you know olive plants? They are anointed. They have the oil of God on them. Their friends out there are dried up like a prune, but they are anointed. Their eyes are anointed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Their ears are anointed to hear the soft whispers of Jesus and his love. Their heart is anointed to see things their friends cannot see. They are anointed to lay down their smart phone. Our kids are different. See them as different. Believe the best of them, not the worst of them. There was a man called Abraham, and Abraham had a challenge. He's a blessed man but barren, blessed but barren. It sounds like a misnomer. Blessed but barren. And then the Lord said to him, "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are: northward, southward, eastward, westward". So God says, "Look now, north, south, east, west, for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever".
And here God helped Abraham's faith. God gave him a picture, because God knows how dejected he's feeling, how down he feels. So, God gave him a picture here, the next verse. "And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered". So, every time he is down, he looked down, do you know how much dust there is in Israel? Have y'all been to Israel? Have you been to the wilderness? You know how much dust there is in Israel? And God is saying, all right, "Look at the dust. I'll make your descendants as numerous as the dust". So, when Abraham feels down, he looked down, it reminds him, all the dust started changing and become baby faces. Father Abraham, Father Abraham, Father Abraham, Abba, Abba, Abba, Abba. He looked down, babies crying. And he doesn't even have one from his wife, Sarah. Now, what is God doing? Changing his image on the inside. God didn't change his name yet.
Now, for those of you who understand the teaching on confessing God's Word, here's where the problem is. Many of us, we teach confessing God's Word long before we teach changing your image. Jesus said like this about faith. "Whoever shall say to the mountain". Mountain is any obstacle in your way, whether it's cancer, tumor, whether it is a financial problem, a debt that you owe, speak to that mountain. Jesus said, "Whoever shall say to this mountain be thou removed and be thou thrown into the sea and", listen, "shall not doubt", where? In his heart. "But believe that those things which he says shall come to pass, he shall have whatever he says". So, I don't care if there pain here or the deformity there, whatever it is, right? "As he is, so am I. I'm going by God's Word. I'm trusting God. That's the image I'm putting in my heart", amen? Are you learning so far?
So God told Abraham the dust of the earth. I'll make your descendants as numerous. And God knew there's a lot of dust in Israel. But Abraham forgot his lesson about the dust. So, after the Melchizedek incident, God appeared to him in a dream when he was afraid. And God says to him, he was afraid. He has no heir, right? God says, "I'm your shield". So, what did he think? What was the word that came to him in a vision? A shield. If you're afraid and God appears to you in a shield, what is he saying? All the dust, all the poison emails and all the hate, this would just fall off. "I am your shield and your exceeding great reward". Look up in the Hebrew. The word reward is literally the word, "I'm your great salary. I'm your great salary," your bonus upon bonuses upon bonuses. What would Abram say to God? "Lord God, what will you give me, seeing, seeing I go childless? And the only heir is Eleazar". Eleazar is the most trusted servant of his house, great man, but he's not his son. He's not his flesh and blood. "Seeing I go childless".
Did Abram learn the lesson of the dust? No, he didn't. So, he's like you and I. We just struggle with the pictures. And probably the devil come in and corrupt the pictures that he saw in all that. And he didn't believe. Now, how did he see himself? He see himself childless. Maybe you see yourself as old, you see yourself as, you know, past the prime of life. You see yourself as, you know, your best days are before and your worst days are ahead. And God is saying no, no, no, no. Stop seeing yourself that way. Lord God always gives me "Seeing I go childless". Seeing I go with this poverty, with this huge debt. Seeing I've got no friends. Seeing I'm not married yet. Seeing. What are you seeing?
So, God could have said, listen, God could have said, "Abraham, next year I'll give you a child". Could God have said that? Yes. Sometimes you are thinking to yourself, why didn't God just say, yeah, healed now. One fell swoop you are healed. Has God done that? Yeah, he has done that. We have seen God do that in our midst, right? In an instant God can heal. What takes surgery sometimes cannot... must have multiple surgeries. God has done it in an instant. We've seen it happen. I have seen it happen. You have seen it happen. We've seen it demonstrated. But many a times, that's not God's norm. God's norm is to change your heart from the inside out. You learn to live by faith. You learn to walk with him. And don't just live by miracles upon miracles, but you learn to walk with God.
Without faith, it's impossible to please God. If God had said to Abraham, "Abraham, this year, this time, you have a child". But God didn't say that. God had to change his image. Same chapter, drop down. Then God brought him outside. So, at first he was sleeping. God's word came to him in a vision. So, God had to change his picture. God brought him outside. "Look now towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to number them". I believe down here there should be a pause to give Abraham time to count, as well as tell the story of the gospel in the stars. Another message altogether. But at the same time, God also talks, tells him, "So shall your". At the end, as he counted, until he can't count anymore. His waters is watering. He was tearing because every star became a baby, a baby face, a cherubic baby face crying out, Abba, Abba, Abba, Abba, Abba, Abba. He started crying. And God says, "So shall your descendants be". Fact check. At that time still his wife was barren. There's nothing, but God fills his heart with a faith picture first, long before today we are his descendants. God had to change his heart before the miracle can happen.
Now, watch this. You know how long it took before God changed his confession? Fifteen years. Fifteen years. From that time, God changed, every time he looked at the stars, he looked at the dust, he sees babies calling. See the stars. Abba, Abba. Babies calling. And then when he was 99 years old, God says, "It's time to change the way you speak". Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And God said, "From now on, don't call yourself Abram. Call yourself Abraham," which means father of many, father of multitude. So many of us, we jump the gun. We try to confess first without changing our hearts. Obviously, God changes your heart first, what you see. Even if it takes a few years, God wanna change your heart before you speak. When you see different on the inside, you start saying. Look at this. How long did he say? How long did he confess before he saw the manifestation? How long? Three months, the baby came.
How do I know three months? Because God said, "Next year, your wife will embrace a son," right? It takes nine months for a woman to conceive, right? Nine plus three is twelve, one year, right? So, before the wife conceived, only what? Three months left. But he started changing his name and calling himself father of many. "Hi, what's your name"? "I am Jakov". "Oh, I am father of many". Can you imagine all the people around him? When his wife calls him from work for dinner, "Father of many, dinner is ready". And all the people around him, "They want a baby so much, they've gone bonkers. Don't say, don't say, don't say, shh". And that's what happened every day. "Father of many". Then he calls her, "Princess"! Ninety years old, "Princess"! Her name was changed to princess, Sarah, and she was 90 years old. And the Bible, God changed her youthfulness. And God had changed her youthfulness for her to conceive. They conceived in three months. God changed their pictures years before that.
So let me close by saying this. What do you see on the inside? See your family blessed. See your children rising up to call you blessed. And I bless your health. I bless your family. I bless you. May the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead who indwells you quicken every organ, every tissue, every muscle, every function of your body to operate in the health and the wholeness that God has called your body to operate in. May you be blessed coming in, going out. May you bring the presence of God and angelic presence everywhere that you go. You're a blessing going somewhere to happen, each and every one of you, amen?