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Faith Filled Friday: Words! Words! Words!

July 29, 2022

Written by Nancy Chapman | July 29, 2022

Words! Words! Words! Our world is filled with words: in the home, in the workplace, in the places where we shop, and from TV and radio. We are surrounded by words. There is power in words for good or bad. They can heal or hurt, encourage or demean, express love or pour out hate, bring a smile to the face or tears to the eyes. In the words of Scripture, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

The Bible has much to say about words. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Our words paint a picture of our heart; they pull back the curtain and reveal what’s there. Perhaps, if we remember that, we’ll be more careful to guard our hearts. “Keep (guard) thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues (consequences) of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Knowing the power of words, David prayed, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). His admonition was “Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from peaking guile (deceit, treachery, falsehood)” Psalm 34:13.

Hundreds of years later, Paul echoed the same thoughts. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). There is a contrast in this verse between words that tear down and words that lift up. “Corrupt communication” is more than cursing and blasphemy. It is gossiping, backbiting, tale bearing, and words of unbelief and complaint. It is trying to make ourselves look better by pulling someone else down. On the other hand, words full of grace can lift and encourage.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father by Him (Colossians 3:16-17). Just imagine how much better our homes, churches, work places, and neighborhoods would be if we took that to heart! When we make much of the Word of God, hiding it in our hearts and filling our minds with it, the words that come out of our mouths will reflect God’s thoughts and God’s love.

Jesus made some striking statements about the connection between the heart and words. Knowing the evil and hypocrisy in the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said to them, “O, generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that man shall speak, they shall gibe account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words shalt thou be justified and by thy words shalt thou be condemned” (Matthew 12:32-37). Our words DO matter since they are a good indicator of what is going on in our hearts.

Words also have great power, not only to hurt or heal, but also to persuade others. God had promised to give Israel the Land of Canaan long before He set them free from Egyptian bondage. He promised to fight for them and give them victory over the inhabitants of the land. When they came to the boarder of the Promised Land, Moses sent 12 spies to check everything out. Ten spies came back and described what they had seen. “Surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it” (Numbers 13:27). They referred to the huge cluster of grapes that two men carried between them on a staff. If they had stopped right there, everything would have been fine. But their hearts were full of unbelief of God’s promises and power and it poured out of their mouths. “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled and very great, and moreover, we saw the sons of Anak there” (vs. 27-28). They went on to tell about the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, and the Amorites that dwelt there. “We were IN OUR OWN SIGHT (not God’s!) as grasshoppers” (vs 33). Did they think the Lord did not know all about that when He gave them the promise of victory?

Joshua and Caleb, the other two spies, tired to convince the people to trush God. “Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are able to overcome it” (vs 30). Ten spies looked at the giants, but Joshua and Caleb looked ABOVE the giants to God and His power to fulfill His promises. Sadly, the people listened to the ten spies.

You know the story. God’s judgment fell and thousands of Israelite wandered in the wilderness for 40 long years till every man 20 years old and up died in the wilderness without ever seeing the Promised Land. Why? Because of words coming from hearts filled with doubt and unbelief. What a graphic illustration of the power of words!

I’m sure we all can remember times when we’ve been devastated by words. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but worlds can never hurt me,” is a bunch of baloney! But, if we look back, we can also remember times when words lifted us up out of the depths of despair and helped us get going again. I pray the Lord will truly “set a watch by my lips” and convict my HEART before hurtful words come out of my MOUTH!

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