by Pastor Tim Burt
Proverbs 18:21 NKJV says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” If death is in the power of the tongue, will touching it hurt you like touching acid? No, obviously that’s not how it works. The death and the life the tongue can produce are not about the tongue itself but about the words it helps to create. The words you heart and tongue help shape can produce life and death. They can be like an infusion of vigor, a slow poison, or a knockout punch!
Words are containers. They carry in them the power to teach and instruct, lift up and encourage, create humor and laughing, to bring peace and joy, and hope where hope was lost. They are also containers that can mock, belittle, embarrass, tear down, deceive, and destroy. As we just read, “Death AND life are in the power of the tongue…” This is telling us that these containers we let come from our mouths have power—power to bring and support life or power to destroy it. We probably don’t realize how careless we can be with this power source that absolutely lifts up or tears down. I wouldn’t handle electrical wires without turning off the power source. Even though electricity is meant to be a blessing, it has to be channeled properly or it could kill. The same is true with our words.
As a young Christian, the Lord began to deal with me concerning the words I spoke. He instructed me to listen to the words I’d hear people speak. This wasn’t to be judgmental but to learn and pay attention to the good or bad words spoken, and to examine what they appeared to accomplish. I did what the Lord said, except that I started with myself. I started paying attention to every word that came out my mouth. What I heard created shock and dismay. I couldn’t believe the words I’d let come out my mouth. They were often negative, and too often words of death such as, I’m going to lose my mind if this happens to me one more time or It seems like everyone is getting the flu. I’ll probably get it next. Or With the way the economy is going, I’ll probably be lucky if I have a job by next year and if I do, they’ll probably ask for a cut in pay. I could tell you a hundred phrases filled with negative, death-filled words that were a part of my regular speaking. And I haven’t even included the things I said that were sarcastic or mean!
I then began to listen to people around me, Ha ha! The way I eat I’ll probably be dead by the time I’m forty! Well, with the way my luck is going, if there is a drive-by shooter, he’ll probably hit me! Ha ha!
I was amazed at what I was hearing from myself as well as from those around me. As I studied God’s Word more, I began to understand that Words are a powerful part of God’s creation and a creative force in itself. From the beginning of Genesis, with everything God created, He began by speaking “Let there be….” Everything God spoke, came into existence. He created everything we see from things that did not appear. This is exactly what Hebrews 11:3 is telling us. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
As I journeyed through the Word I noticed that God never spoke an idle word—and neither did Jesus.
My point today is that words are containers of power. They do affect us whether we realize it or not—whether we want to believe it or not! We have all experienced times when someone’s words brought hurt to us—possibly unbeknownst to the person who said them. They just blabbed them and they hurt you. How could that happen? It could happen because words contain power.
Does that mean every word I speak is a power source? The answer is Yes! It’s just that it’s not completely measurable at the moment. Someone’s kind words can make you feel good, encourage you, and even make you cry tears of joy. Someone’s destructive words can make you feel horrible and cry. Proverbs 12:18 (NLT) says, “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” People and youth commit suicide every day from the horrible words other meanly speak to them. We don’t grasp the power of our words and all the ways they affect our life but they do. All words always have some effect.
I learned long ago to make words work for me. Just as a framer frames a house before he can build the rest of it, I purpose to frame my world with words that encourage others and myself in God’s love, will, and plan for our lives. Proverbs 16:24 (RSV) says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
If your tongue has power, you have power. You can frame your world with acceptable words that please God and create life and blessing for others, or you can spill words like sewage that bring hurt and destruction. God’s will is always to bring life!
Psalms 19:14 says, “Let the WORDS OF MY MOUTH, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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