Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
– Proverbs 18:21
When faced with a challenging situation or reading worrying reports in the news, what is the first thing that comes out of your mouth? Do you find yourself voicing thoughts of fear and anxiety, or making a positive confession of faith and casting your care to the Lord?
What we say matters. Our words aren’t “just words”. God made man – that’s every one of us – in His image, which means He has given us to share some of His characteristics and abilities, including the power of our speech. Because when God speaks, things happen.
And so it is with us. The Bible tells us that the power of death and life rests in our tongue. It also says that those who love it (speaking life or speaking death) will eat the fruit of the words we sow.
Unfortunately today, the devil has cunningly and subtly reprogrammed our speech such that it is normal or even “cool” to say things like “I’m dying for that holiday” or “That’s so funny, you’re really killing me, man!” We live in a topsy-turvy world where black is the new white and white is like boring old black.
Or we might find ourselves constantly putting ourselves or our spouses and children down with chides and criticisms like “You’re always so slow and lazy!” or bemoaning “I’m getting older and fatter day by day…”. Though we may not realise it, that’s also the language of death creeping into our speech.
We need to realise that repeatedly speaking and sowing words of death is not going to bring positive change or bear fruits of life that we want to see. Rather, we need to speak life to see life, as God does.
When darkness covered the formless void of the earth and universe, God spoke – “Light!” and light appeared. When 99-year-old Abram was still childless with his almost 90-year-old wife Sarah, God changed his name to “Abraham” – meaning “father of many nations”, and their promised child Isaac was born the following year. When faced with a little girl who had already died, Jesus simply spoke “Talitha, cumi” or “Little girl, arise”, and up and back alive she sat.
You are made in God’s image. Don’t underestimate the power of your words – the words of life that you speak have the power to bring life into any situation and area.
In which areas do you want to see life flourishing today? Is it your marriage, your health, your spiritual and emotional well-being, your career, or your family? Start speaking life into those areas.
Start saying, “I’m the righteousness of God in Christ” whenever you feel lousy or fearful. Learn to say, “As Jesus is healthy and strong, so am I in this world”. Start calling your husband a “good decision maker and strong leader”, your wife “wise and virtuous as the Proverbs 31 woman”, and your children “successful and a blessing to others”.
Even if you don’t know specific Bible verses to say, just start by speaking the good that you want to see happen, like “I have a good memory” or “Jesus will keep us safe”. Even if you can’t speak them out to your loved ones to their face right now, speak those life-giving words out loud to yourself when you are alone with the Lord.
The more you speak them out, the more life will flow. And the more you feed on the Lord’s life-giving words to you, the easier the same life-giving words will flow out of you.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.