Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
We sure do a lot of talking! If we are not speaking words, we are thinking words. We use words to share our hearts, to give opinions, to show love, to show anger, to curse and to bless. I have been attempting to be more conscious of the words that I speak and the thoughts that I think because the Bible makes it clear that there is power in our words to bring life or death.
Consider the poison apple that the jealous queen brought to Snow White; it was the fruit of endless sleep (death). Then consider the kiss of the prince that brought Snow White back to life. These are like our words, we can use our words to bring the fruit of death or the kiss of life.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
More often than not our words speak what is in our hearts. My heart is one of my greatest mission fields! It continually needs to be nurtured, cared for, fed, cleansed and purified. When my heart is pure, my words are pure. I want my heart and my words to be aligned with the act of worship. Meditating on words that bring life will cause your mouth to speak words that bring life. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This is the Word that I want to meditate on: Jesus.
Two of our children have recently gotten married. If I had only one piece of advice to give them regarding their marriages it would be to speak life to one another. Words have killed more marriages than adultery. If words represent our hearts then we need to consider that a harsh word conveys a hardened heart. Our words must bring life, hope, joy and represent love (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8) when spoken to one another. If your words crush the spirit of your spouse then you need to nurture true love in your heart.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
One of the hardest things for me to see is a parent that is speaking harsh words to their child. Nothing crushes a spirit more then a parent that uses their God-given authority to shame their child. It never ceases to break my heart when I hear a parent call their young child a brat (or even worse). Do kids act badly at times? Of course, but this does not define their identity, it merely identifies their sin nature that needs continued redemption. If your child has had a day that was filled with bad behavior be careful not to use words such as, “Johnny has been such a brat today.” Wouldn’t it be better for him to hear this, “Johnny has had a difficult time obeying today. I’m sure that he will do better tomorrow because he is such a good boy.”? SPEAK LIFE because Johnny is listening! He needs to know that you believe in him and all the potential that God has put within him to overcome temptation and to live a life that exceeds all your wildest dreams.
I remember one day dealing with one of our teen foster sons who was in the midst of a complete emotional meltdown. He was screaming, cursing and saying vile things. As I stopped and quickly asked the Holy Spirit what to do, He quickly told me to tell our angry teen who he really is. I turned to him and said, “This is not who you are! You are not a person who believes these things. You are kind, beautiful and compassionate. You can stop and have a fresh start right now.” Within seconds this angry teen fell into my arms in tears. All the anger turned into healing tears. He had spent years hearing words that brought death to his true identity and now, hearing words of life, brought healing and release from all the anger.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
Last, don’t forget yourself!! One of the greatest places of harm we can do is to think and speak negative words over our own lives. This is probably my biggest challenge. Do you find yourself thinking thoughts such as these,
- I am so stupid?
- I’m going to fail so why even try?
- I can’t do anything right!
- Nobody loves me.
- I am so ugly (fat, skinny, etc)!
- There is no hope for me.
If so, you are crushing your own spirit and bringing death to your true identity. It is important to ask the Holy Spirit to show you who you really are and then begin to come into agreement with that truth. When you agree with the lies of the enemy (or the negative voices/people in your life) then you begin to live the lie. Begin to speak the truth about who you are until your heart believes it. If I am having a “bad-self” day I will often go into a room alone and begin to speak out the truth of who I am until it has brought forth a tree of life that I can eat from.
Fruitful words are words that bring life…they are like a kiss that awakens us from the slumber of a crushed spirit. Take time today to speak fruitful words over yourself, your spouse, your kids or whoever crosses your path today.