Words – the Key to a Better Life
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21)
Is there really power in your words?
According to the Scriptures, the tongue has a power. Notice it says here, "the power of the tongue". Its obvious that the power referred to here is not the physical power of the tongue as a muscle, but the power of the words it produces. I've never heard of the word "tongue" used in relation to God Himself. Its a word used of human speech. So we can see that the Word of God is saying that our speech is tremendously important, powerful and significant. So much so that our words are a matter of life and death. Perhaps this is why Jesus declared, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." (Matthew 12:36). "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37). These declarations of Jesus Christ should cause us to sit up and take notice, and consider very carefully what kind of words are coming out of our mouths and why.
What is the nature of the power in our words?
Its obvious that words have great power even at what we might call the natural level. This is especially true of those who have been granted more natural authority in the various domains of life. If your boss instructs you with words to do a certain task, you had better do it, or you will not last long in your job. If the umpire makes a call in a game of sport, it is binding. When a judge speaks in court, it can have consequences that value in the millions of dollars. You see the tremendous power that even the natural words. And King Solomon remarked, "Where the word of a king is, there is power, and who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'" (Ecclesiastes 8:4).
The above are examples in the natural realm. Yet as human beings, we are spirits, and our words and actions resonate in the spiritual realm also. Many of the Bible principles apply equally well in the realm of spirit as they do in the natural and soulish realms – which are the ones with which most people are familiar.
Some conservative Bible teachers, who are afraid of excesses which deny the Sovereignty of God, want to downplay the actual power that our words have in the spiritual realm. In doing so, they unwittingly emasculate Christianity of much of its power. Things are usually not so clear cut as a traditional theological system would make them out to be. And I want to emphasize one point. If our theologies have not equipped us to do the works of God as Jesus did, they are to the same extent defective. Let us never forget that we are supposed to model our lives on Jesus. We are supposed to be "Christlike". Not only in character and attitude, but also in divine power, since, as Jesus said, "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you" and "He who believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12). We would do well to throw off the shackles of theological systems which in effect deny these promises, since they are in fact coming against the plain declarations of the One we call "Teacher" and "Lord". If a theological system cannot produce people who actually believe in such a way as to get Jesus-kind of results, then it is the theological system which is at fault, as well as the fault of those who persist in teaching these theologies.
Jesus said, "For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, HE WILL HAVE WHATEVER HE SAYS." (Mark 11:23).
What are the conservative theologians of our day going to do with this Scripture? Do they believe it? What qualifications would they wish to add to the words of Jesus here? What excuses would they propose for their own powerlessness. According to Jesus, it is a matter of BELIEVING, SAYING and NOT DOUBTING. You may say in your heart, "I don't believe that." That's right, and that explains why it doesn't work for you either.
Now faith is a growing thing, and we can't just decide to believe whatever we want to. Believing is not simply a question of a decision of the will, and and action of the mind. Paul said, "With the heart man believes." (Romans 10:10). Now again, conservative theologians have attempted to muddy the waters on this point, by saying things like, "If you do a careful study of the Bible, you will see that there is really no difference between mind and heart. The Bible views man as a unity. Thus 'mind' and 'heart' are synonomous." But this is totally false. There are plenty of people who "believe" with their mind while their hearts are full of doubts, and they often don't get the things they are hoping and praying for. This universal fact is too plain to be contested. What then of the words of Jesus concerning the power of faith and words spoken in faith? Are they an exaggeration, a cruel deception? Actually, they can only make sense if the two different words for "heart" and "mind" actually mean different things. And they surely do. Our minds are very important to God, and there are many instructions for us concerning the mind. The mind is a doorway and a kind of guardian of the heart. It is operating at a more external level than the inner heart of man. For example, Jesus says that "evil thoughts" come out of the heart. The heart is the fountainhead of of the attitudes and deep beliefs that we really hold. Our heart condition shapes our destiny. We are responsible to guard our hearts with all diligence. Having a disciplined mind is an important part of that.
What is the Heart?
"and does not doubt in his heart…" (Mark 11:23)
The heart is the innermost part of a man's being. It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks – generally. Our own hearts are generally neither directly knowable nor changeable by ourselves. In and of themselves they are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. We don't know our own hearts fully. They hide their own evil from us to some extent, so that we are not overwhelmed with the pain of our own sin. Yet the power of God's word is so great that it can change the heart. Often, God allows painful situations in our lives that our hearts be challenged and changed. But meditation on the word of God can change the heart of man. And God is calling us to this discipline, which will bring good fruit in our lives. Scripture meditation is a means by which the Holy Spirit works. And this meditation involves speaking out with our mouths what the word of God says, as well as deeply thinking on it until it combines with our deepest emotions.
Healing and Changing the Heart
Much could be said on this. Forgiveness of others is a vital precondition to real spiritual health, and even to God's forgiveness for ourselves. That's one reason why Jesus said in Mark 11:25 to forgive if we have anything against anyone. This was said in the context of words and prayers of faith.
Back to the Power of Our Words
If we allow the blood of Christ to cleanse our hearts, if we repent of doubt and commit our hearts and minds to the faith filled declarations of our Lord Jesus Christ, then something will happen. We will start to believe what Jesus and Solomon both said, that our words have power. Co-operating with the Spirit of God, we will start to harness our tongues to produce much good fruit through our lives. Now its true that words alone are sometimes not enough. But without the right words, as well as a heart of faithfulness, very little will be accomplished.
The truth is, the more you say something, the more you will believe it. And the more you believe it, the more you will say it. Spend more time examining the kinds of things that come out of your mouth, especially in moments of crisis or irritation, and you will have a much better idea of the kinds of issues that the Lord wants to work on in your life.
This Power can Work Miracles
Jesus demonstrated this all the time. Mark 11:23 was really a major teaching to his disciples. Its the underlying principle behind effective healing and deliverance ministry. We prepare our hearts before God partly in order to be able to operate according to these principles. You tell the demon to go and it does. You tell the bones to move into place and they do. You tell the blind eyes to open and they do. These things are done "in the name of Jesus" and they actually work – when we believe. We have to abide in a spirit of faith if we want the gifts of power to operate in our lives on a regular basis. Our faith grows as we abide in faithfulness to God and live as people of integrity. If we do not believe in our own words, our own promises to others, we are unlikely to see many results in the eternal realm of spirit and the supernatural either.
This Power Can Lift us out of Despair
If a person grumbles and compains about their lot in life, or the bad things that have happened to them, they attract negativity and further problems. All of us suffer, many times unjustly. But its at these times that a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God has maximum power. We mustn't give into the the temptation to speak out the words of the evil one who will be encouraging us to complain and pity ourselves. Complaining angers God. Just look at what it did for the people of Israel in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. And many of us are in an analogous position. We have not fully entered into the possesssion of what God wants us to have yet, though we have left the world behind. We mustn't complain when things get tough and the answers don't come quickly enough to save us from pain and frustration. Instead we need to maintain an attitude of thankfulness, patience and faith, which God will surely bless.