RUNNING ON EMPTY

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Have you wondered how to get faith or how to get your faith back after a disappointment?

Do you believe you’re doing all you know to do and still you aren’t receiving your breakthrough? Because of this delay, you question God and His desire for you to live an overcoming life of victory? If so, Kenneth Copeland has encouragement for you—when the Word of God is going forth, faith is coming!

Do you know what it feels like to run out of spiritual gas?

It’s extremely frustrating. You know what God has called you to do. You know the destination He’s put before you. But you just don’t seem to have the resources you need to get there. Somehow, you’ve simply run dry. Do you know what that’s like? I do. Two years ago, God gave Gloria and me some directions we didn’t really want to hear. It was during a time of pressure for us. The finances of the ministry were down. Physically and emotionally, I was lower than I’d been in years.

Right in the middle of that difficult time, God gave us a command. He said we were to go on television—daily. I felt overwhelmed. Surely this couldn’t be from God, I thought. Stock on television preachers was at an all-time low. I wanted to get off weekly television, not double and triple my TV budget. But the more I prayed, the bigger that command from God grew. It was like chewing a piece of rawhide. I couldn’t get it chewed up. The more I said, “No,” the bigger His Yes became inside of me. Finally, I admitted that no matter how I felt about it that was what the Lord had instructed me to do.

Thankfully, I’d learned years ago not to depend on feelings or circumstances in my walk with God. So I said, “God, You’re calling me into something that’s impossible. I have sense enough to see the only way to do this is by faith. Now, I know I have faith. But if You don’t stir me up, Lord, I don’t know what I’m going to do because I don’t have enough spiritual energy to reach this goal. I feel as empty as a gourd.” I knew the Word says out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). But at that particular moment I couldn’t even find the creek bank, much less the river.

Stir Yourself Up

About that time my friend Jerry Savelle was preaching in Little Rock, Ark., on the evening he and Carolyn celebrated 20 years in ministry. That night Jerry began by reading Paul’s second letter to Timothy: “Being mindful of thy tears.... I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee” (2 Timothy 1:4, 6). I was startled when I heard that. Apparently, Timothy had been discouraged, just like me, and had felt inadequate to the task God had given him. But Paul was addressing that problem with a clear command: “Stir up the gift inside you.” You stir yourself up!

I saw it in a flash. The Spirit of God is in me already. Jesus is in me and I’m in Him and all I need is in Him. Every resource I’ll ever need to do what God has called me to do is inside me. All I need is to stir those resources up!

I said right out loud, “In the Name of Jesus, I stir myself up by faith! I stir up the gift that’s within me. In Jesus’ Name, I’m stirred up!”

I didn’t feel a bit different. I didn’t suddenly want to run home and start taping television broadcasts. In fact, I felt as weary as I had before. If I had asked my body, “Are you stirred up?” it would have said, “Dear me, no. I need another 30 days of sleep.” But I didn’t ask my body. I turned to Gloria and said, “Gloria, I’m stirred up!” She smiled and agreed with me. She knew exactly what I was doing. It didn’t matter if my eyes were bloodshot and my face was pale—she agreed with my confession of faith.

That night when I shook hands with everyone, I said, “Man, I’m stirred up.” I said it to everyone I saw. I said it to my dad. I said it to God. I even sat down and wrote it in a letter to my Partners.

You know what? It wasn’t but a few days until I suddenly noticed, I am stirred up! Something real has happened here. Now, that “something” was in me all along. But when I spoke, it started stirring until it began to affect my feelings. That’s how spiritual things always work. Feelings follow faith. Feelings weren’t designed to lead. They were designed to follow.

Let me put it like this: I’ve now made a firm, founded-on-the-rock, blood-washed decision that I’m finished asking Kenneth Copeland how he feels. From now on I tell Kenneth Copeland how he feels. I don’t ask my body what it thinks either. If I did, it might tell me it’s sick, tired or worn out. But I don’t ask my body. I ask the Word, and it always says the same thing. It says: By the stripes of Jesus, you’re healed. It never changes. It says: The joy of the Lord is our strength.

You see, our wounds and our pains are important to God. But they shouldn’t be very important to us. Not compared to the job that’s before us and the power that’s inside us. That’s why Paul said to Timothy, “I’m mindful of your tears...wherefore, stir up the gift that is in you.” He was saying, “Because I care about your tears, I’m reminding you to do something about them: Stir up the gift that is in you.”

It’s Already in You

Everything I need is already in me. Jesus put it there.

Everything you’ll ever need in your life, in your spirit, your soul and your finances—to accomplish what God has called you to do—has already been placed inside you by God Almighty. Faith is in there. Paul called it “unfeigned faith” (2 Timothy 1:5). That means it’s not some phony something. It’s “God-faith,” the real thing from God, Himself. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (verse 7). Power is in there. Love is in there. It’s all in there!

But if you don’t know it’s there, how can you stir it up?

You can’t. In fact, if you don’t know what’s in you when things get tough, you’ll feel like running from them. That’s what I did in the beginning.

I remember the first time I went with the Oral Roberts crusade team to a healing meeting. I was a student and a member of his aircraft crew. I had been a believer a little over four years and knew so little about the things of God, especially meetings like these. However, I was part of the team and eager to learn.

I followed the team inside this huge auditorium. It was filled with sick people. They weren’t just a little sick, either. The place smelled; it was so full of disease. Just walking in there sent chills of fear up my spine. My insides turned upside down. I’d never seen such a frightful sight in all my life. I turned around and headed for the side door as fast as I could, talking to God under my breath. “Listen, I don’t belong here,” I told Him. “I’m getting on a Greyhound bus and heading home right now. They can get that airplane home without me.” Once I was outside the door, I started talking louder. “I’m through with this! You understand that? I don’t care what I have to do, anything would be better than that.” Then suddenly, I froze. My feet wouldn’t move. It was like my shoes were fastened to the sidewalk. I knew it was God who’d stopped me because, inside, I was still on my way to the bus station. But outside, I was stuck to the sidewalk.

I looked up and hollered, “Turn me loose!” But I couldn’t move. My insides were wrestling with this war inside me— fear and a desire to run, and yet this strange draw on the other side from God.

Desperately, I prayed, “Please, let me go! I don’t have anything for those people. I don’t have anything to give anyone in there.”

That’s when God spoke back to me. Every cell in me heard it. He said, I know you don’t have anything to give them. But I do and that’s why I baptized you in My Spirit. My feet suddenly turned loose, and I knew I had a choice. I could get on that bus, or I could turn around and go back in there. One was life and one was death. No question about it. So, I turned around and went back.

That was the beginning for me. Until that night I didn’t know healing faith was in me. I was ready to run. But God stopped me. He knew what was in me. He knew He was in me, and if I’d just stay and stir up what was in me, miracles would happen—and they did. My job was to recognize what was in me and stir it up. I had to stir up the faith. I had to stir up the love. If I’d let fear dominate that day, it would have been all over. But I stirred up what God had put in me and I found myself walking in the power and love of God, Himself. That’s what we all need to do when we feel we’re running out of spiritual gas, when we feel we don’t have the strength to do what God has called us to do. We need to stir ourselves up again and again.

Feed on God’s Word

One of the first things we need to stir up is our thinking. We need to do something besides wallow around in front of the TV set. Stir up your thinking. Decide to read the Bible cover to cover again. Go back and do some of it on your knees. Stir up the sound mind that’s in you and feed it with the Word of God. When you find yourself worrying, shut it off immediately. Worry is nothing but meditating on the lies of the devil. So don’t do it. Instead, tell Satan, “I’m not thinking on your junk, in the Name of Jesus. I’m thinking on the promises of God.” Another thing Paul told Timothy when he was discouraged: “Be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner” (2 Timothy 1:8). It’s time you stirred up your testimony.

Maybe you’ve calmed down too much. In the old days, you didn’t mind grabbing someone and telling them, “Listen to what faith will do; Jesus is alive!” But you’ve gotten too sophisticated for that now. You’ve “graduated” from all that excitement stuff. Listen, you haven’t graduated from anything. You need to stir up your testimony. Start bragging about Jesus again the way you used to. Don’t you know that what you talk about all the time is what you fall in love with? Start talking good about Jesus and about everyone who has nurtured you in the Spirit. Start saying good things about your pastor and the teachers who’ve helped you learn the Word and watch yourself fall in love with them all over again.

Focus on Your Calling

Finally, Paul told Timothy, “[God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus” (verse 9). Do you realize you have a holy calling in you?

It’s time for you to go back and do what God called you to do in the beginning. If He called you to a healing ministry, go back to that. Stir up the purpose of God inside your spirit. Don’t think about other things until you’re stirred inside and out. Cut off the outside distractions. Find out what God wants you to do and make a quality decision that nothing will keep you from doing it.

Over the years, a friend of mine got involved in so many different areas of ministry he was about to fold up physically under the strain. Finally, the Lord spoke to him one night and said, John, it’s not My work that’s nearly killed you. It’s everything you’ve added to it. I’ve had to deal with that in my own life. I’ve had to quit doing stuff just because it needs doing. Instead, I have to stick to what I’m called to do. Maybe it’s time for you to trim away the extra things you’ve added and get back to what God called you to do. Go back and stir up that original commission. It’s holy. It’s your personal calling.

There’s one more thing you need to stir up if you’re going to ride on the high places of the earth with God. That’s joy.

Years ago, I decided I was going to walk by the Word of God. Whatever the Word says I am, that’s what I’m saying too. I told God that as far as I was concerned, His Word was final, and I’d confess it the rest of my life no matter what. Not too long after that, I decided that no matter what happened, whether I felt like it or not, I’d walk in love. Because the Bible clearly says “faith worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). It won’t work any other way.

Those two decisions—to operate by faith in the Word of God and to walk in love—are the two most important decisions I have ever made. Recently though, God pointed out to me that I have no right to walk by faith and love and just leave joy lying there and ignore it. After all, “the joy of the Lord is your strength”! The fact is, if you don’t stir up the joy of the Lord within you, you’ll have trouble walking in faith and love. You’ll be too weak to hang on to them.

You may say, “I’m standing on the Word. I’m walking by faith.” But if you’re not rejoicing, I can guarantee you’ll get tired. You can’t leave joy out of this stirring-up process. So, I made a commitment to God that whatever comes, I’m walking in joy. No matter what the devil does or what anyone says to me or about me, I’m rejoicing!

It’s none of my business anyway what you think about me. It’s not even my business if you care about me. My business is caring about you. My job is to know that Almighty God cares for me and to stir up the love He’s put in me for you. That’s my business. Stirring up the gift of God inside me...and I want you to know, I am stirred up!

What’s more, I’m not the only one. There’s a bunch of us getting stirred up. Listen, if you think you’ve seen some faith over the last 40 years, I suggest you hang around and watch what happens in the next few months and years because you haven’t even seen big faith yet!

Jesus is on the move. In the days ahead, we’re going to see more than we’ve ever seen before.

God is on the move. The Spirit of God is moving out in enormous power, and it’s time we move out with Him!

Don’t wait until you “feel” like you can do it. Don’t wait until you feel anything! Start stirring yourself up and watch what happens. Say out loud, “In the Name of Jesus, I stir up the gift that’s within me by faith. I’m not waiting till I feel something. I’m going to feel it because I’m stirring it up. I’m stirring up my faith. I’m stirring up the love of God that’s in me. I’m stirring up the power. “In the Name of Jesus, I’m stirring up everyone around me. I’m stirring up my church. I’m stirring up the devil and running him out of my affairs! I’m stirring myself up in the Spirit of the living God! I am stirred up!”

Now, quit waiting to feel like you can do it and get out there! You have a job to do and you have everything you need to do it. Stir it up! Once you do, you’ll discover the power you’ve been waiting on has been right there inside you all the time... Waiting on you.

 

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