Words Matter: They Impart Life or Death

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Renee and I recently noticed a brownish water spot in the corner of our office ceiling. Then we noticed a little wallpaper peeling away. That wasn’t good. Years ago we noticed a missing shingle on our roof and didn’t know if it had caused any damage or not. We had it fixed, but now years later, we found where it leaked to. Thank God it was small and the leak was already fixed so we had a minimal amount of work to do to fix the ceiling.

Words are like water. Water and gravity work together to find openings where that water can leak through. If there is a crack, water will find its way. This is also true with words.

They find a way to come out. We’ve all experienced times where words that should have never been spoken, managed to somehow find their way to our tongue and slip (or blast) out—usually to our regret!They may have taken the form of complaining or whining. They may have manifested as anger or yelling or rage. Or they may have come in a way that too often seems acceptable—in the insidious form of gossip or backbiting. Whatever form they take, words, like water, leak, and oh do they cause regret! That’s why James 3:8-11 NIV instructs us with a profound truth, “… no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

The tongue, or the words that come from our mouth, are simply the outward expression of what is in our heart. Do you wonder how developed your Christian character is? Just listen to your words! We all know that not everything in our heart is good. Jeremiah 17:9 NIV describes the heart without Jesus. It says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” The moment we gave our life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit took residence with us and began the process of purifying our heart. We need the Lord to purify our heart but that is a life-long process and the words we speak are the proof of it. They too often expose the negative or wrong thinking that has not been purged, and that still embarrassingly lives in our heart.

Rain is the primary source of roof leaks. A dissatisfied heart, insecurities, and selfish desires are the primary source of the negative words that leak from our mouth. The Bible teaches us that evil behavior primarily comes from selfish desire, ambition, and jealousy over what others have, and the ongoing fear of not being able to obtain what we want in life. James 3:13-16 NIV says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find strife in your relationships along with confusion and every imaginable evil that Satan can stir up through the open door of your wrong attitude and actions.”

Look at a teen that is trying to break out into his or her own selfish life; they often let themselves be influenced by people who don’t know God’s ways. They want to figure things out for themselves. They become self-focused and begin to debate and fight for their own way. They stop taking counsel and often begin to indulge in wrong thinking, speaking, and behavior. This is why it is important for families to be in strong churches that impart godly influence and instruction not just for teens, but at every age level.

Adults do that same thing. They allows themselves to become too busy to read and mediate upon the Word of God and pray. That weakens them, leaving them to their own selfish resolve—doing life to accommodate their way. Before long, like a leak, it shows up in your thinking and words. Words become loose and sloppy, unimportant, unguarded, and slowly become tools of destruction. God warns us of this saying,  “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)

Our hearts need the constant touch and presence of God in many forms. Church, Bible study and reading and meditating on God’s Word daily, prayer, and fellowship with others that love God are just a few. They are absolutely critical to renewing your mind and consequently your words and behaviors! They are critical to a successful Christian walk. Godly atmospheres are how the body of Christ is strengthened to grow and mature! Godly atmospheres strengthen our perspective and help us stay focused on God’s love and promises to tangibly help us through life.

We need to pray and ask God in faith for help in every stressful and frustrating moment. Faith isn’t a wish. It’s faith that believes despite what it sees! Faith says, “God is with me and will help me. I just need to ask and believe.” It’s amazing how quickly this attitude can calm your heart and get you back on track. When you do that then this verse will become you. You will find strength to restrain words that destroy and instead, speak words that give life! “A man that has God’s understanding uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life…” (Proverbs 17:27, Proverbs 15:4 )

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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