Right there on the front pew — or back there fifty minutes ago or whatever it was — I recite the promise. Even if the biblical wording is not an I or thou kind of situation, I turn it into that so that I hear God in my heart speaking. I say to him, “I trust you.” Or, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” I consciously turn my mind away from everything that I can to that word and that promise, because I personally have a very special affection for the very word of God spoken to me personally by God himself in these moments.
I need to hear — hear in my heart, like see with the eyes of my heart. Paul says there’s a seeing with the heart and there’s a hearing with the heart, and clearly the seeing with the heart is not light and the hearing with the heart is not sound. It is spiritual. And you hear him. What I say is this or some version of it — this is walking to the pulpit or while we’re singing:
- “I will help you.”
- “I will strengthen you.”
- “I will uphold you.”
- “I’ll give you what you need.”
- “I will protect you from the evil one.”
- “I will make your word effective.”
- “I love you, John Piper.”
- “I have called you.”
- “You are mine.”
- “I have helped you a hundred times. Would you doubt me?”
- “Now go. Be strong. Be of good courage. I am with you. I’m with your mouth.”
I say it. I say that in my head. I say those words, knowing they’re God’s words because of promises in this book bought by Jesus. I don’t know any other way to enter the pulpit and hope to be able to say with the apostle Paul, “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17) than hearing with faith.
Read, watch, or listen to the full message: