C. S. Lewis once described his conversion to Christianity as him being dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom, because after examining the evidence he could no longer logically deny the truth of God as revealed in the Bible. Lewis went on to become one of the greatest apologists and voices for the Christian faith since the original apostles. Words convinced Lewis, and words convict our hearts today. In music, what is it that touches us the most deeply? The lyrics. The words.
In the New King James Bible, the word “word” appears 500 times, “words” an additional 500 times, “tongue” 113 times, “tongues” 33 times, “mouth” 374 times, “mouths” 21 times, “voice” 422 times, and voices 19 times. That equates to 19 hundred and 82 instances where the spoken word is brought up. That doesn’t include “speak”, “declare”, and other such synonyms appear. It’s pretty obvious that words are significant to God.
Daniel 10:12 reads,
Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”
God dispatched His angel to His servant on account of Daniel’s words.
Proverbs 18:21 says,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
So much rests on words. Soft speech can crush strong opposition (Prov 15:15 NLT). A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov 15:1 NKJV). The tongue of the wise promotes health (Prov 12:18). A man has joy by the answer of his mouth (Prov 15:23). Gracious speech provides knowledge on how to answer our questioners (Colossians 4:6). Words can prophecy, preach, teach, exhort, encourage, and be offered to God in prayer (Romans 9:6-12). Words guide us towards wisdom (Prov 2:1-6) or folly (Prov 7:21). They can incur God’s pleasure (Psalm 19:14) or fierce anger (Prov 6:17, 19). Words can defile us, control us, and set us on fire in a not-good way as the near-whole of James 3 discusses. Words determine our attitude. They connect God to us and us to God through prayer and the reading of His Word, the Bible. That is perhaps the most important function of words. They are our link to the Father, the revealers of His will and plans for our lives.
This is most obvious in the Gospel of John on the life of Jesus. Chapter 1 verses 1-4 and 14-17 detail the amazing transformation of Christ as the Word into Christ as the man. What an unfathomable mystery is this!
So often words seem meaningless to us. It’s just words. I was just joking. I didn’t really mean it. Words can never hurt me. Yeah right. Those words right there– those are all lies. Words have power. Words are power. By our words, we bless and we curse, we laugh and we cry, we shout and we sigh, we sing and we scold, we whine and we whisper, we gossip and we guess. Bottom line? We need to be more careful with our words. I know several Christians who think it’s okay to use profanity. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that it doesn’t affect your walk and I know good and well that it affects your witness.
I’m not here to jump on anyone or condemn you. I also don’t want this to be only about profanity, because all of our words are important, not just the bad ones. I am guilty of using harsh words and careless words, and complaining words. But I also see the effects it has on those whom I use my words against. Then I see the effects of good words on people (including myself). Proverbs says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (25:11). How rich would we all be if we all spoke fitly–wisely, graciously, and godly?
I’ll finish here before I rant. When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me a little litmus test for any words that come out of my mouth. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? She told me that if it didn’t pass every one of those qualifications, it shouldn’t be said. While that is a very tall order to fill sometimes, I’ve come to think more and more that she’s right, because life and death are in the power of the tongue. So read this last Scripture and put it to the test in your own life as I will in mine.
“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil….I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.” –Deuteronomy 30:14-15, 19-20a
May God bless you and keep you… and your tongue too.