Have you ever received a compliment that made your whole day? Have you received a harsh criticism that stuck with you for way too long? Then you know what kind of power words can have. The power of words is illustrated all throughout scripture. It’s such an important topic that the Lord, and those He inspired to write the Bible, touch on it often. Today let’s study together what kind of power words have, and how the Lord expects His followers to use that power.
The first verse we find in the Bible that shows the power of words is Genesis 1:3. Yes, the third verse of the first book of the Bible! Right away we are learning what kind of power words have! It says, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” God created light with his words! And as we read on through the creation, everything God makes He makes the same way. The dry land, the stars, the plants and animals. Everything God created was spoken into existence!
Words have the power to create!
To illustrate the flip side of this power, we have the Story of Jesus and the fig tree in Matthew 21. Verses 18-19 say, “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.” With just a word from the Lord, a curse in this case, the it withered away. The tree was killed and destroyed just by speaking to it.
Words have the power to destroy!
Another verse that illustrates the positive power words can have is Proverbs 16:24. It says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” When I think of a honeycomb, and the honey itself that comes from it, I think of comfort and soothing. Like the effect honey has on a sore throat. Pleasant (agreeable, polite, pleasing) words are like honey to our souls.
Words have the power to soothe and heal!
Again, looking at the opposite effects words can have, we find Proverbs 12:18. This verse begins by saying, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword”. If someone was pierced with an actual sword, it would hurt! It causes a physical injury! Words can do the same things to our hearts.
Words have the power to hurt and injure!
There’s one more thing I want to point out about the power of words. Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” The Bible tells us here that what we say can give life or bring death to whatever we’re speaking into. Further, we will be the ones to “eat it’s fruit” or reap the consequences of the things we say.
Words have the power to give life or bring death!
So, how does God want us to use this power? What does he expect from us and the way we speak to people and into different situations? Ephesians 4:29 tells us “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” God want’s us to speak so that whoever hears our words will be uplifted and given grace. He wants us to harness the power of words to bring life, to soothe and heal, and to create.
Why is all of this important? Jesus says in Matthew 15:11 that “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” It’s important to watch our mouths because what comes out can defile us. Also, like I pointed out above, there will be consequences for the things we say. Do we want to endure positive or negative consequences? We also need to pay attention to what we say because, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” If we watch what we’re saying, even what we’re mumbling under our breath, writing in a journal, or whatever, we are given insight into what’s in our heart.
If we find that we are speaking more death than life, that’s because there’s death in our heart. If we find we are speaking destruction rather than creation, we have destruction in our hearts. At that point we need to take it to the Lord and get help. Only God can do the work inside of us to root out the negative things in our heart. He has to change our heart. We need to cry out to Him and say “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
How have you been using the power of words? How have you seen that power used most often? Let’s talk about it in the comments!