(Recommended reading: Genesis 1; Numbers 13 & 14)
Last week I talked about one way that I believe we can help to change feelings of hopelessness to hopeful; and, that was by learning to control our tongue – our words. It primarily dealt with how our words can affect others around us, how we can set the tone for and affect them, our surroundings, as well as ourselves. This week I want to continue down that same basic path, but I want to focus more on how our tongue – our words, can impact us personally.
But to set the stage, we need to think for a moment about how powerful words truly are – just take a look at Genesis 1 for the most outstanding example and wonder of words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Verses 1-3) “Then God said, ‘Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.’ And that is what happened.” (Verses 6-7a) “Then God said, ‘Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.’ And that is what happened.” (Verse 9) “Then God said, ‘Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.’ And that is what happened.” (Verse 11) “,Then God said ‘Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.’ And that is what happened.” (Verses 14-15) “Then God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. (Verses 20-21) “Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.’ And that is what happened.” (Verse 24) “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us’…So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…And that is what happened.” (Verses 26a, 27 & 30b) All scripture quoted from NLT.
God spoke His desires – then, that is what happened. In that passage above it says that God said: “‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.’” Therefore, I believe that if we are made in God’s image to be like Him, then we have the capability to speak and see results.
I have heard a lot of teachings over the years about how powerful our words are and how the things we speak are rather like karma – they circle back to us. So if you say good and positive things, you will be more likely to see good and positive things happen. But on the other hand, if you say negative things, you will be more likely to see negative things happen. In other words, what you say is what you get.
Our words have big consequences – both good and bad: “In the same way, my words leave my mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen. They succeed in doing what I send them to do.” (Isaiah 55:11 ERV)
“A senseless man jumps headfirst into an argument; he’s just asking for a beating for his reckless words. A fool has a big mouth that only gets him into trouble, and he’ll pay the price for what he says.” (Proverbs 18:6-7 TPT)
“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23 NIV)
“We trap ourselves by telling lies, but we stay out of trouble by living right. We are rewarded or punished for what we say and do.” (Proverbs 12:13-14 CEV)
“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” (Proverbs 18:21 GNT)
Both our actions and our words are very impactful: “Make no mistake: God can’t be mocked. What you give is what you get. What you sow, you harvest.” (Galatians 6:7 VOICE)
Numbers 14:1-45 is a wonderful example of what I am speaking about. Prior to this chapter you can read about how the nation of Israel, after wandering for many years, is on the brink of crossing into what has been promised to them. Twelve men were sent to scout out the land. When they returned, 10 of the men spoke out of fear discouraging the majority of the people. Two of the scouts (Joshua & Caleb) tried to reason with them and spoke a good report. Verses 1-3a (GNT) says: “All night long the people cried out in distress. They complained against Moses and Aaron, and said, ‘It would have been better to die in Egypt or even here in the wilderness! Why is the Lord taking us into that land?’” Starting in verse 26 you can then read that what they spoke is what they got – the adults that rebelled and spoke the negative things did die in the wilderness (just as they had spoken) and did not get to cross into the promised land.
“The words of the wise bring them favor, but those of the foolish endanger them.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12 VOICE)
We should be very aware that our words have consequences for our eternal well-being as well – Jesus speaking said: “‘You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.’” (Matthew 12:34-37 MSG)
“If a person thinks he is religious, but does not keep his tongue from speaking bad things, he is fooling himself. His religion is worth nothing.” (James 1:26 NLV)
“Horses have bits and bridles in their mouths so that we can control and guide their large body. And the same with mighty ships, though they are massive and driven by fierce winds, yet they are steered by a tiny rudder at the direction of the person at the helm. And so the tongue is a small part of the body yet it carries great power! Just think of how a small flame can set a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! It can be compared to the sum total of wickedness and is the most dangerous part of our human body. It corrupts the entire body and is a hellish flame! It releases a fire that can burn throughout the course of human existence. For every wild animal on earth including birds, creeping reptiles, and creatures of the sea and land have all been overpowered and tamed by humans, but the tongue is not able to be tamed. It’s a fickle, unrestrained evil that spews out words full of toxic poison! We use our tongue to praise God our Father and then turn around and curse a person who was made in his very image! Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sisters, this should never be!” (James 3:3-10 TPT)
The portion above that states “the tongue is not able to be tamed” could be discouraging, if we let ourselves accept that. But Matthew 19:26 NLT says: “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.’” Yes, I know, He is addressing the subject of salvation in that passage, but the fact is, He says that everything is possible with God. So I believe that if we stay as near as possible to God and sincerely want Him to help us tame our tongue, He will help us. But we should be prepared to do our share by thinking before we open our mouths. We need to be careful – not careless – “Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself.” (Proverbs 13:3 GNT)
We need to be prepared – everytime we open our mouths – to count the cost.
Written by Karran Martin – January 13, 2022
(All emphasis above in the quoted scriptures is mine)