One of the wonderful things about being a Christian is the reality that we have the opportunity to encounter God. Most, if not all other religions of the world have a view of God that says He is too large, too busy, or too important to be involved with puny humans. We, however, as Christians know that just the opposite is true. While He is large, powerful, and most important, He is also personal. Our faith teaches us that He is so emphatically in love with mankind that He even came down to live among us. The Bible says humans were allowed to touch a God who had come in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. Not only did we get to be personal with God, we were also provided with promises of the ability to communicate with Him. He says in John 14:26, “I will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, and He will teach you all things…” He also says in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice,” indicating that communication and communion when Him is achievable. Likewise, He gives us plenty of examples of His willingness to allow us to encounter Him. The Apostle Paul and Peter encountered Him visions. Ananias, who was sent to open Paul’s blinded eyes, dialogued with a personal God. I could go on and on about this awesome Being that thought enough of us to die for our sins that we might be together with Him forever. Wow!!!
With this relationship, however, comes the responsibility of learning about this person. Why? Because God is a Spirit. This means that He is invisible! How do you learn a person’s ways without seeing that person? You study the written materials that outline the way the person does things. The prophet Isaiah relaying a message from God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are My ways your ways…” Folks, this means that God has ways of doing things and it would be wise for us to learn His way so that our ways will be more prosperous.
One of those things we need to understand is the difference between God confirming a word and repeating a word. I bet you didn’t even know that there was a difference. God always confirms His word but He does not necessarily always repeat it. Understanding the difference will add another layer of meaning to the things God says to you. Believe it or not, both of these elements of God speaking, confirming words and repeated words, have a significant place in God’s communication system. Both of them mean something different and understanding that difference is going to take your relationship with Him to a new level.
Where I Am Today
Why does the Lord want me to address this subject? He’s directed me to address this because, like many reading, I used to be one to those persons who would not do a thing for God without a sign of “confirmation” that He was speaking to me. In case you are not familiar with this idea, let me start by defining what I mean. It is widely regarded in most places that teach about hearing the voice of God or getting direction from Him, that God will give you a sign to assure you that He is directing you. So a lot of people I meet are driven by what is called “confirmation.” Confirmation signs are real and important, but how God uses them is even more important. Like I said, I use to not move without a sign. However, I have matured to a place in my understanding of God where He rarely confirms anything “before” I do it. In fact, He doesn’t even give me a sign to validate the word He wants me to preach. He just tells me what He wants me to say and I say it. I have gotten so used to it that these days. At this point in my life, I will do just about anything when He speaks to me and He does not give me any signs that it is Him speaking.
Here is an example. In mid-2015 my car of 20 years broke down. It was becoming obvious that I needed to let it go and get something else. However, there was a problem. The problem was due to the fact that I did not want a car note. Have you seen the car notes these days? Ridiculous right! Well, anyway, I did not want a car note. Being the man of faith that I am I turned to God and said, “Lord, you said we would be the lender and not the borrower.” Then I pleaded my case. At the conclusion, I looked to see what He might say in response to my prayer. He responded with a simple mental movie of an angel flying with a car on his back. I took the vision as truth and stood my ground. Then I went around the house telling everyone I was getting a new car. Did God give me any other indication of this new car? No. Not one time did He ever give me a sign. So I waited and waited. At one point my wife thought I was crazy. She even thought I had missed God. After about a month of waiting, I finally said, “Lord, what about my car? Again He responded with a vision of an angel flying carrying a car on his back. So I went back to waiting. Finally, the following week the phone rang and it was someone offering to give me their car for free. It was just what we needed. We are a family of six so I needed a big vehicle and that’s what God gave me.
Again, I remind you that God never once gave me a sign of any type. Not one! I now operate this way all the time. God speaks and I move confidently in His instructions. In fact, the same thing occurred when I needed money. I asked God to supply the need and again the angel appeared with a box in his hand. Then I saw him deliver a package to the door. Not long after, I received unexpected money. In the meantime, I waited patiently and confidently on God, trusting that He spoke to me. What is it that I know that allows me to chill when God does not offer confirmation? For the record, I am not saying that God doesn’t give me confirmations, but when He does they have special meaning. Understanding what is communicated through such things is the point of this article.
So Where Does This Idea of Confirmation Come from?
There is a passage of scripture that is used to promote the doctrine of “confirmation”. It says, “Let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses.”(See Duet. 19:15) In context, it is referring to a judicial proceeding in which someone is guilty of a crime, criminal or civil. The principle in the text is that no one should be pronounced guilty without two or three corroborating witnesses. That way no one goes to jail or get capital punishment solely on the word of one person. So that is the original context in which it this concept is first presented.
Paul, however, gives the same passage a different connotation by drawing out the principle. He uses this passage to justify the validity of his message by stating that he has now visited them three times (See 1 Cor, 13:1). The other inferred application is that God establishes His word in our life by confirming that word two or three times and sometimes two or three ways. This latter application has become both a life jacket and anchor to Christians who want to hear God’s voice. Those who live by the “get confirmation rule” usually experience great unrest in hearing from God. They are never sure it is Him speaking until they see the evidence. Once they have their evidence or “confirmation” they are fine. But until they get their answer they are often anchored in indecision.
While confirmation anchors some in indecision, confirmation has been a life jacket that has helped others to make worthwhile and life-changing decisions. Confirmation was the key to my very successful pastor marrying the right woman. He pastors a megachurch of 15,000 plus people. He sits on many boards and is a pastor to many pastors. Can you imagine if he had married someone who was not compatible with the future God had for him? So confirmation is a good thing in some cases but an anchor in others.
Now again, confirmation is important. That being said, have you ever considered that it has communication value? Like I said, these days God rarely confirms anything before I do it. As you might imagine, when something rare happens, the rarity of the event lends itself to special attention. That means that when God does give confirmation I know to pay special attention to what He is saying or showing me.
God Also Repeats Himself
This is where things get a little sticky. My experience has been that people often confuse God repeating Himself with God confirming His word. Likewise, I understand why they would think that they are the same. They both involve God adding something to something He said initially. They are both very comforting to us and encourages us to move in a certain direction. Nevertheless, they are not both saying the same thing.
As you read my story above, you may have realized that while it did not involve confirmation it did involve God repeating Himself. In both scenarios God showed me something then when I inquired into the issue He showed me again. That is repetition. This means that God will repeat Himself. It is one of the principles in my book, God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil: How to confidently know God’s voice.” I tell people over and over again if you are really confused about who is speaking to you in the spiritual realm, do nothing. Literally, sit on the information. If you do, you will discover that God is really good at repeating Himself over and over and over again. The word you hear will keep going over and over in your mind. It may even take different forms in terms of “go over there and speak to her” may morph into “go over and speak to her I want to save her.” Regardless of what you hear, God will repeat Himself!
The Difference Between Confirming Words and Repeated Words
So God speaks over and over again, but that is not a confirmation. Why is repetition not confirmation? Well for starters, God will not always repeat Himself without you prompting Him by request. When you look at the Bible you will discover that people heard from God and they responded in faith. It was that simple. Yet, there are other times when God kept repeating Himself over and over again.
Phillip is a great example of God speaking once. God told him to go near and overtake a chariot of an Ethiopian reading the Bible. He did not receive repeated instructions but he did get confirmation. I will explain how it was confirmation in a later part of this article. Nonetheless, God spoke. Phillip obeyed. Simple. Then there is the Prophet Jeremiah’s example. He decided that he would not speak for God anymore. Then he said that he could not resist speaking because the word God spoke to him burned in his bones like fire. For those of you unfamiliar with this experience, it is when God keeps speaking the same thing to you over and over again. It can be very overwhelming if you are trying to ignore what He is saying. I have discovered that it is nearly impossible to ignore God’s voice. So why did God repeat Himself in one scenario and not in the other? What does it tell us?
Well for starters, it means that God has a purpose for speaking repetitiously. That is why we need to examine the difference between God repeating Himself and confirmation.
So what is the difference between these two spiritual communication elements? For one, God uses confirmation to establish a truth or idea. While He uses repeated words to remind us of a truth or idea.
For example, the Bible says that God confirms His word by signs and wonders (Heb. 2:4). Likewise, we see several examples of this. When He wanted to establish the prophetic word to Saul, before He was king, he used the Prophet Samuel to prophesy very specific information over him. It all came to pass just as it was prophesied. Likewise, it only had one goal—establishing Saul’s faith in what He heard. (See I Sam. 10:1-9). We can see the same idea in Acts 4:29-30. The disciples praying ask God to stretch out His hand that signs and wonders might be done to confirm for the Jews the new covenant truth we call the Gospel. We see it in Exodus 4:1-5 (emphasis on verse 5). God tells Moses to throw his stick on the ground and it would become a serpent. That sign was meant to confirm for Pharaoh that God has spoken. A confirmation solidifies the reality that what God said is a sure thing.
Gideon is the best example of this idea (See Judges 6:36-40). At first glance, it appears that when Gideon ask for a sign that God is repeating Himself. But when you really look at the story the signs that Gideon experiences are not repeated ideas that the angel spoke to him. They are signs that establish the validity of the words the angel spoke to him. See the difference!
The same is true today. God still desires to and does establish His word. The ministry of signs and wonders has the ultimate goal of confirming for the world the truth of Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb offered up for the sins of the world. This is also true in your life with God. When God speaks to you and then does a sign it is because He is trying to establish faith in your heart so that you will go in the direction of His leading confidently.
Now, let me go back to Phillip. I said earlier, that Phillip received a confirmation but not a repeated word. To understand what I am saying I need to explain to you that God “always” confirms (establishes) a genuine word from His mouth. Although it should be noted that confirmation often comes on the end of obedience, not the beginning. In other words, often you won’t know that it is God, by confirmation, until after you step out in faith and obey His command. While God did not have to repeat His word to Phillip He did confirm for Phillip through the Ethiopians response to the Gospel that He had heard correctly. To follow up God even confirmed the Gospel for the Ethiopian by taking Phillip away in an instance, supernaturally moving him to another geographic location.
The Repeated Word
The repeated word, on the other hand, has a different but similar function. When God repeats Himself it means that He is reminding you of something. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that He would bring back to our remembrance all things that He said to us (See John 14: 26). So when God speaks to repeat an idea He does so to keep that idea on your mind. That means He will repeat an idea as many times as it takes for you to get it. Abraham is a great example of this. Over the 25 years that He waited for His promise to come to pass God repeated that same idea multiple times at various stages of his life.
Now, why does God remind us? He does so to encourage our faith…not establish…but encourage. On multiple occasions we see God speaking at strategic places to remind people of His promises. We see it with Abraham and Sarah. He spoke to them “after” they gave birth Ismael as a reminder to them of His original promise. He spoke to Jonah the second time after He had made the mistake of running from God’s task. Now, all of this is good news for those of us in the prophetic. It’s good news because it means that God will use us to speak encouraging words as a reminder to encourage the faith of those who are in a season of weariness and or rebellion.
Here is something for you to consider. Most of the characters in the Bible did not need God to speak to them two or three times before they knew that it was Him speaking. Gideon was an exception.
I know what you are thinking, “But wait, didn’t you say God told Abraham twice, Jeremiah twice, etc…” Sure I did. However, why did God speak twice? That is the question.
Understanding the principle of repeated words is also important in discerning the source of dreams. I like to teach people that if the dream fades away, leave it alone. It is more than likely a soul dream or Satan. If, however, the dream returns then you need to seek God for its meaning. A dream that keeps coming to mind is an example of God repeating Himself.
Confirmation and Repeated Words as Form of Communication
I told you at the start of this article that understanding why God speaks twice and why He confirms His word will help in your walk with God. This is the part of this article where I give you the “why” of the matter. Joseph teaches us a very important thing in Genesis 41:32. In responding to Pharaoh’s request to have his dream interpreted, he tells us that when God repeats a thing it is because it is established. In essence, He is saying when God voluntarily repeats Himself it is important. Remember, however, God does not always volunteer to repeat Himself. So when He is speaking to you and you see an idea over and over again, it means that He is stressing the importance of what He is saying. He may even be communicating the urgency of the moment.
On the other hand, you will see in the case of Jonah, that God spoke to him twice the same word. But when did He speak to him the second time? What were the circumstances? If you really look at God’s trends in this area, you will discover that God spoke at times when both Abraham and Jonah were discouraged and distracted. This is significant. It teaches us that God will speak one time and we are to obey Him the first time. I will also have you to notice that God gave them no confirming word before they obeyed! It also teaches us that when we get discouraged as Abraham or distracted like Jonah that we can expect that He will repeat Himself. What I really want you to see is that people heard from God once. Then they obeyed Him. And if they got distracted or discouraged, He would repeat Himself over a span of time. Yet, there were other times, such as the case with Pharaoh’s dreams, where He immediately repeated Himself. It all has meaning.
What it All Boils Down to
To some, these little details may seem a bit petty. Nonetheless, if you really want to walk with God and do so effortlessly, then the details matter. God has taught me this over time and I am giving it away for free to you to make things easier. I am also inspired by teachings that encourage people to just wait until God speaks again or confirms what they hear. It all sounds good, but is it God’s best? Is it biblically solid? To their credit it is wise and it is definitely good advice. But at what time does the baby get off the pot and walk?
One of my assignment from God is getting people to maturity in Him. That means that at some point we must learn how to recognize God’s voice the first time we hear it and respond to it in faith. The Bible says that our maturity is measured by our ability to discern (See Heb. 5:14). Sometimes baby Christians think that they are mature because they have spiritual experiences. The very fact that the standard for maturity is so low is evidence of their immaturity. If spiritual experiences were the marker of maturity in Christ then the Apostle Paul was matured at the moment of salvation. But we know that this is in fact not true. Paul’s ministry officially began 15 years after his conversion. It was at that point that he had what he called a multitude of visions. In addition, when we consider his statements about his spiritual experiences we can see that he is mature enough to discern the difference between God and Satan. He is clear that his torment is by a demon messenger from hell. So we all need to grow into a place of maturity being able to discern and respond to God’s voice without multitudes of “confirmations” first.
How Does This Play Out in Everyday Life?
As you may have guessed I have many experiences with these concepts. It is through God teaching me these concepts that I discern which article to write, which subject to speak on and how important it is to God. Just think about it for a second. I have to hear a word for people, a word for this blog, a word for my YouTube video series, things for intercession, and things regarding my family. As you can imagine, it all gets to be overwhelming and if God did not help me with it all I would quit! So how does this work in my life? How can I hear this many words from God and how do I know which is most important to Him. And let’s not forget that whatever He says will require some level of study. It is a lot!!! Well, this is how I do it.
Discerning of Spirits Teaching
I taught a series on discerning spirits not too long ago. When God spoke to me about it I just assumed He was teaching me as He usually does. Over time I began to realize that He was repeating Himself and speaking to me about his subject over and over. Sometimes it would be Him speaking by a voice. Other times I would be somewhere and the subject would come up. Yet at other times, I would come across books on the subject. God was clearly repeating an idea. I now know that by repeating Himself continuously, that He was indicating the importance of the subject.
To add another layer of importance to the subject matter, I watched a television show about a yoga master. During the program, everything the voice of God told me was now being confirmed in the program. From there I received two emails regarding discerning dreams from two totally unrelated people. These two people had the same kind of dream but one person’s dream was from the devil, the other’s was from God. Did I tell you that these two dreams came in emails back to back? I got one on a Tuesday and the other on a Wednesday. They were the only two dream emails I received.
See what I mean. When God starts to repeat Himself it is important. Likewise, if He really wants to establish a thing He will add a sign of confirmation to it.
Confirmation of the Call
The last story was about God repeating Himself, but what about confirmation. Here is a good one for you.
I was called into ministry when I was 20 years old. Once I received my call I hit the ground running and grew in my faith. I learned to hear God’s voice, prophesy a little, heal a little, preach and teach, etc… I was in love with ministry! Then one day God told me that I would disappear from the limelight like another well-known prophet. To which I responded, “No. Not me!” Sometime shortly thereafter, the anointing lifted and I was no longer able to effortlessly teach and preach my workplace Bible study. Eventually, it all ceased to exist. It was all so confusing but God did warn me that it was going to happen. No, I hadn’t done anything wrong. The season just changed and God started to speak to me about my career decisions and working on other areas of my life. At the time I had even started my book, God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil. But in an instance, I could not do anything.
This season lasted 19 years. Yes. I said 19 years. People often asked me what I was doing with my ministry and I had no answer for them. I didn’t even have an answer for myself and I dreaded hearing that question. I even hid from people who might ask it. I can even remember seeing people I started out with in ministry getting their licenses to preach and moving on. I often had to fight back feelings of jealousy and envy. I even asked God over and over again, “Lord, what about my ministry?” Eventually, I convinced myself that maybe I was not called. Maybe I had it wrong, but the revelations in me said differently. I had even started studying martial arts and was working my way towards a black belt. The goal was to open my own dojang and teach self-defense tactics. That was my new dream. The ministry dream by this time was dead!
Then 19 years later, God said, “Hey, let’s write the book!” And that’s what I did. It took 30 days to write the first 208 pages. I had tried several times throughout those 19 years to write that book but to no avail. I was back in the “ministry” saddle again. It was a good time in my life. I was, however, a little angry with God. I tried really hard to press beyond my feelings but the idea of lost time just kept eating at me. Eventually, I decided that since God knows how I feel anyway, I might as well give voice to that pain. So I told Him exactly how I felt about what He did. That was on a Friday morning. Friday night Bishop Jakes came to our church for a joint revival my Baptist pastor and his Pentecostal best friend put on every year. His subject, “Destiny Has Two Hands.” It was a very different night as Jakes was clear that he was not sent to preach a sermon but deliver a very specific prophetic word. He said that God told him to speak on this issue and to address certain subjects. Every single point in the sermon addressed every single one of the things I had said to God that morning. He literally addressed every single thing!
Now, this is particularly special to me because God “never” speaks to me through preachers. It is a rare thing when it happens. He always tells me things prior to arriving at the service. That means, generally, the preacher is not saying anything new by the time I hear the message. It is always more confirmation than revelation. So this had real meaning to me… a lot of meaning. It was so precise to my prayer that it almost seemed as if it was a personal prophecy! I cried and cried and cried. I really needed to know why He took 19 years from my ministry. That gave me peace and God spoke to me afterward to explain what He was doing in my life.
That is an example of God confirming a word. Notice that He did not repeat anything. He merely used a sign to establish and idea in my heart.
The Repeated Voice in Dreams
Here is an example related to dreaming. As I was preparing this article, I had a dream. I dreamed that I saw a very large fox in my neighborhood. it all happened as I was looking out of the second-floor window. As I watched, the fox that was the size of a lion was going house to house on my street. After a while, I noticed that it was a man in a fox suit. He then came to my window where he stood up and looked into the second-floor window. Then it ended.
It is my practice to journal my dreams. This time, however, I could not because I was running late for work. Therefore, I just went about my day. It was not until I was on my way to work that I began to see the dream again. But I dismissed it. I mean, after all, I was driving. Later in the day as I was working on a project it came back again. This time I said to myself, “Ok, I need to listen.” After saying this I forgot to ask God about it. So later in the day, approximately quitting time, it came back again. This time I listened and got the interpretation. I’m glad I did because it was about an important financial matter that I needed to take care of. God was warning me that while I was busy gazing out of the window, the thing I saw coming was getting closer.
What I want you to see, however, is how God repeated His self over the course of a day. This means to pay attention. If He had kept bringing the dream to mind before I left the house, then I would have known that it was an urgent matter. One that I would have needed to respond to quickly. The distance between the repeated message communicated to me that it was important but not urgent. The dream likewise confirms that this thing is approaching and I need to deal with it while it is a way off.
As you can see, I have many examples of this from my life but I’ll stop here. I just want those reading to pay attention to whether or not God repeats Himself back to back or repeats something over a span of time. I also want you to pay attention to know that if He confirms the idea before you obey Him then you should walk confidently in His revealed truth. Likewise, if He doesn’t, just know that He will confirm it in the end. Just think about Daniel and the many Old Testament prophets who never saw their words confirmed. We, in this generation (2,000+ years later!), are the ones who get to see the words of these great men confirmed. That tells us that we should focus more on learning God’s voice than depending on a sign to guide us along the way.
Hopefully, I was able to communicate clearly and effectively the difference between confirmations and God repeating Himself. Trust me. If you get this concept in your spirit, I promise you that you will find it easier to walk effortlessly with God.
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