My adult children love to laugh as they reminisce about the adventures of being raised by a well-meaning, but sometimes overzealous mama. Concerned about their health, I went through a phase of grinding my own wheat to make bread every day. I also made our own yogurt, canned fresh vegetables from the garden, and even attempted to make homemade soy milk—definitely not a crowd favorite!
As much as we laugh about my cooking failures, even in those early years I tried to teach my children that what came from their mouths was far more important than what they ate. If I heard name-calling, I made them speak life by saying kind words instead. Though they resented them at the time, those two words—speak life—were ingrained in their spirits. Words carry power . . . and they release power. Words create and words destroy. Whether we are aware of it or not, words are like a ship’s rudder and have the power to influence the direction of our lives and the lives of others.
The tongue has the power of life and death. (Prov. 18:21a NIV)
In the Bible, God’s power was released on the earth through words. God said, “‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Then later, Jesus came to earth as the living Word. He was the physical expression of the Father and His words brought light into the darkness. Just as Jesus’ words brought life, Satan’s words were deadly when he deceived Eve in the garden and tried to deceive Jesus on the mountaintop. In the same way, our words are seeds that either bring life or thorns that harm life. What we say impacts not only the one listening but also the one who speaks.
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matt. 15:11 NIV)
Our words release whatever is in our spirits, bringing either light or darkness into the atmosphere. Negative words hurt others while also keeping us in bondage. Complaining words prevent us from living in the blessing and joy God intends for us. Unbelieving words hinder us from fulfilling our calling in Christ. We can actually effect change in ourselves and our circumstances simply by altering what we say and how we say it!
What we say about ourselves strongly influences who we become. So who do you say you are? Who do other people say you are? Most importantly, who does God say you are? The word we speak about ourselves is the word to which we give power. Perhaps it’s time to speak God’s Word about yourself so that His Word becomes flesh in you!
Our words have tremendous influence on others. We can all remember comments spoken to us in the past that have impacted us forever, for good or bad. Some might have been off-the-cuff with no intention to cause pain, but they were painful nonetheless. On the other hand, good words can change the course of our lives by giving us confidence, encouragement, and direction.
Many years ago I was told I was only a “functional musician” and would never be a soloist. Believing those words, I became nervous and insecure when performing. I constantly compared myself to others and deep down inside I just didn’t think I had much potential as a recording artist.
Then I found a producer who encouraged me to simply be myself. He gave me confidence and told me that my music was beautiful just the way it was. The Lord spoke truth through this producer, and my confidence grew as I became the solo artist God created me to be!
Finally, words can be used to build our faith. The greatest works the Lord ever performed in my life all came as I spoke and believed them into existence. I knew God had a purpose for me in Great Britain and Ireland, and I spoke that purpose daily for three years until, one day, I found myself walking in those lands! Does this mean we can name and claim anything we want? Of course not! Our words only bear life-giving fruit when they are God’s words calling forth His will.
Do you desperately hope for change in yourself, your marriage, your children, your job, or your future? Ask God to reveal His words of truth concerning your situation and then go and speak life into your own spirit as well as your spouse and your children. Instead of bringing negativity to work, say only words of encouragement about others. Rather than complaining about your circumstances, use your mouth to praise God right where you are! Replace the regrets of your past with words of hope for your future.
Change in yourself, your relationships, and your future could be as close as your tongue! Just as I challenged my children, I encourage you to speak life this week and then watch what happens! Your words are seeds that you plant in yourself, in others, and in the world. Sow seeds of life and get ready for a great harvest!
Lord, please forgive me for being careless with my words. Help me to speak only what You would say. Help me to use my words to praise You, to build others up, and to call forth Your kingdom in this world. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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