One of the most amazing statements in the Bible is a verse in Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 21 of the Old Testament. It reads; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Whether interpreted figuratively, literally, or spiritually, it remains in complete harmony with all teachings of Scripture as well as human experience.
How many times have careless and hasty words wounded those we care about and damaged treasured relationships. There are times we have all wished that we had never said certain things and discovered too late, that once spoken, words are not easily retracted. That is why they should be spoken with thoughtfulness.
Words not only express our thoughts but more importantly, influence, clarify, and add conviction to our thoughts whether good or bad and whether correct or incorrect. To say it another way, the words we use can have more effect on our convictions and behavior than any other factor. James writes in James 3:2-5, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.”
The fact that we may not understand the details of how it all works does not alter the fact that words have much more power than most of us realize. This makes sense when we remember that God’s word has creative power. For example, the phrase, “God said” is recorded nine times in the creation account of Genesis one. God did not create one single thing in the whole universe except Adam and Eve by hands on activity. He simply spoke the words, “Let there be.” Since God made man in His own image it should not be surprising that He also would create in man some degree of special power in the words he speaks.
Could this be the reason why the Gospel puts so much emphasis on confessions of faith and prayer? The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Roman writes in chapter 10:9-10, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Jesus said in Matthew 12:37, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” May the Lord grant us the wisdom and grace to speak words of hope and faith. They can affect our health, happiness, relationships and significantly determine our eternal destiny.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.