We were dealing with serious meltdowns with our son Connor. He would go into a frenzy when he didn’t get his way, and we knew it wasn’t just a child acting out. It seemed like a stronghold in his life that we could not help him work through. I remember one time Connor got so upset that he threw himself on the floor and started slapping his hands on the tile of our house. Then he got up and ran through the house screaming, with us chasing after him. I felt like he was in pain, and he didn’t know how to tell us what hurt. I finally caught up with him in the bathroom, threw my arms around him, and we fell into the bathtub. All of a sudden I noticed we were both crying at the same time. I think both of us felt helpless. I just kept whispering to him, “I love you, Connor. I love you, Connor.” He would say, crying, “I love you, Daddy. I love you, Daddy.” I remember just sitting in that bathtub holding my son, tears rolling down our cheeks for fifteen minutes, feeling so broken.
The next morning I heard God speak to me deep down in my spirit. He simply said, “If you want this situation to shift, stop renting my word, and start owning my word.” At that time my devotional life was fairly consistent, but not as intimate as I wanted it to be. I would let distractions get in the way. The busyness of life would creep in, and I would accept that there were days when I could do more with God, and there were days when I settled with doing less.
Then God took me to a devotional I had heard recently. It was based on Proverbs 4:20-21, which says, “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.”
There was a man named George Mueller who lived in the 1800s and cared for more than 2,000 orphans in five orphanages. But he never allowed his huge responsibility to take him away from the word of God. He said that every day he would set aside time to study the scriptures until his inner man was happy in the Lord. Once Muller met a man who worked between 14 and 16 hours every day. He told the man, “You are destroying your health. You don’t have time for your family, and most importantly, you don’t have time to nourish your inner man with the Word of God.” The man replied, “I hear you, but I can’t see how I can cut down my working hours and spend time in God’s word because, even with the 14 to 16 hours I put in each day, I still can’t put enough bread on the table for my family.” As the man walked away, Muller said, “He doesn’t believe that if he gives time to God’s word first, God will take care of all his needs.”
Right then I realized that if I wanted this situation to shift, I had to be willing to do the one thing. I couldn’t put God on my shelf; I couldn’t store his word in the garage of my heart and take it out when I needed it. I had to stop renting His word and needed to start owning it.
Then I remembered something I heard about an amazing woman of God, Dodie, who in the early 80s was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the liver and given just a few weeks to live. She looked up 30 scriptures that talked about healing. She was so sick, and her body was so frail, that she had turned yellow, but she would put pictures up all over her room of herself when she was healthy, in order to get a vision of victory. Then she took those 30 healing scriptures from God’s word, and every morning she got up, she would begin to stand on the word of God and speak those scriptures over her life. Every day for weeks, when she got up, she would speak these scriptures. What was she doing? She wasn’t renting God’s word; she was owning God’s word. You see, the Bible says that the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.
A few months later Dodie went to the doctor’s office, and to the doctor’s amazement, they could not find any cancer. A miracle of huge proportions had taken place. When you ask Dodie what happened, she will tell you that she believes it was the prayer of others, and standing on God’s word, that shifted her death sentence. Well, I figured if God could do it for Dodie, why couldn’t he do it in our situation?
So we took those same healing scriptures that she spoke over herself, and we began to speak them over Connor every day. On the way to school we would speak them. Before he went to bed, we would speak these scriptures over him. We were tired of renting God’s word and hoping things would change. We were ready to own God’s word and declare it was changing. What we didn’t realize was that, not only was God listening, but Connor was listening. Every day he would get up and say, “Speak healing scriptures, Mommy and Daddy?” What we didn’t realize was that he wasn’t just listening, he was memorizing them. He memorized all 30 healing scriptures. He started quoting them all through the day.
One day when Connor had cut his foot on something, I was holding him, and my wife was putting hydrogen peroxide on his foot. With a sad look on his face he began speaking James 5:14 and said, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call on the elders of the church, and they will pray over him.” He was expressing his feelings through God’s word. That is amazing for an autistic child to do. Not only were Samantha and I owning God’s word, but also Connor was owning it. We knew right then that something was about to shift.
Then one day, after three years of dealing with these meltdowns, it was like God took His finger and pushed a red button that said “STOP,” and his meltdowns stopped. It was a miracle. We couldn’t believe it, but what we did believe is that when we started owning the word of God, something powerful took place something that we had tried so long to fix, God healed because we did the one thing that He requires. We put God first.
God is not asking you to fix your life. He’s the landlord, whether you rent the house or own the house. He’s so good to us that, even when we rent His word, He will still bless us. Yet we will hook up to a whole other level of provision when we start owning our relationship with God. You’re His child, not His stepchild. You don’t get second best when you claim your birthright. We have to stop acting like stepchildren and start believing we are sons and daughters of the One who owns it all. You don’t have to just get by; you can do great things. If you’re willing to do the little extra, God will take your ordinary and make it extraordinary.
Get this ownership mentality deep down in your spirit. Don’t give up. Keep going. It’s your birthright. Believe it! You cannot own God’s blessings when you are minimizing His goodness. God has never wanted you to rent what He has already freely given you. As long as you keep God first, you will have His favor, and you will own His blessings. What are you going through today? I want to encourage you to do the little extra and find scriptures that speak about what you are dealing with. If you don’t know where to find them, ask a friend or pastor who does. If you have a financial need, find scriptures that talk about God’s provision and blessing. If you’re dealing with a difficult relationship, find scriptures that deal with relationships.
Whatever your need, find the scriptures that speak to that need. Then begin to speak those scriptures every day. Take your devotional life with God to another level, and watch God begin to work behind the scenes on your behalf. Supernatural doors require supernatural keys. These keys are not found in your hand. God places them in your heart. I wonder what great experience awaits beyond the next door. I’m convinced you will experience all of the benefits of owning God’s blessings. It’s your time to stop renting and start owning.