The Power of Words
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21
INTRODUCTION: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” How many agree with that statement? How many disagree? How many are not voting? You may remember things that people said to you in the third grade that still bother you today--still intimidate you. When I was growing up we used to pick up some people for church. This woman had a little boy named Robert who was a little hellion. He would tease me, and I would hit him with my pocketbook. Also to this day he still tells me that I would yell at him, “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”
On the other hand you probably also remember compliments that people made that have stuck with you all these years. Words like, “You did a great job! You have artistic talent! You can do it!” These positive statements probably motivated you to continue to pursue other goals in your life.
Scripture says a lot about words and how we use them either for good or for negative consequences. Proverbs 6:2 says, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” Proverbs 12:13 says, “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble.” Proverbs 12:18 says, “the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
What people say can make the difference between success and failure--between good and bad consequences. In our text scripture Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” What does that mean? In researching this scripture I found that “it” means those who enjoy talking must bear the fruit of that talk whether good or bad. Productive words can bear a good fruitful harvest--fruit or harvest in scripture usually has a good connotation. For example verse 20 says, “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.”
I believe that today many Christians are living defeated lives because of their words. Have you become snared by what comes out of your mouth? Do you talk negatively about your health, your job, your finances, or your family and it just drags you down that much more? Sometimes I do. I think we all do sometime or other and the devil delights to get us on a downward spiral. We can retrain our mouth to speak better words. You have the choice of what words you live by. Romans 10:8 says the “word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming.” We have been given authority to speak God’s words in His name.
1. God’s Words: How did God use words to bring about good? In Genesis He said, “Let there be light and there was light (Genesis 1:3).
“Let the land produce vegetation…and it was so… (Gen. 1:11,12).
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures.. And it was so” (Gen 1:24).
How did Jesus use words productively in the New Testament? Especially in the healing miracles Jesus spoke words with authority:
To the man with leprosy he said, “Be clean!” (Mark 1:42).
To the man with an evil sprit, “Be quiet! Come out of Him” (Mark 1:25).
To the deaf man he said, “Be opened” and the man’s ears were opened and his tongue loosed. (Mark 7:33).
To the storm he said, “Be quiet! Be still!” and the wind died down and it was completely calm (Mark 4:39).
Jesus taught His disciples about the power of words one day while walking along the road when he cursed the fig tree. When they went back that same way the next morning, the tree had withered from the roots. He told them, “Have faith in God. If anyone SAYS to this mountain, “Go throw yourself into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he SAYS will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatsoever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24).
This scripture shows that you don’t just glibly say things, but it has to be backed up by faith. Sometimes people will say, “I’m going to be a millionaire. Hah, hah, hah.
Or “I’m going to be President of the United States” or any other such statement.
Those statements lack: faith, hard work, discipline, and preparation.
But saying things IS ACTION ORIENTED.
ILLUSTRATION: One time I told Mom, “I’m going to college. I’m going to be a teacher.” That was followed up by taking the steps to enroll in college, to sign up for classes, to study and make it happen. We have to be consistent in what we say over a period of time. We can’t talk one way one day and talk the opposite the next day.
STORY: During the Civil War a soldier was sympathetic to both sides. He lived in a borderline state, and one day he would side with one and the other day the next. He decided on a compromise where he would wear a Confederate gray coat and the Union blue trousers. Things went well for awhile until the battle began fast and furious. The Federals shot him in the coat and the Confederates shot him in the seat of his pants.
We’ve got to be dressed in a matched uniform. Our words of faith and our self talk have to match up if we expect to receive from God.
Matthew 12:37 says, “for by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” We need to work on retraining our self-talk to speak words that will bring good fruit and a good harvest.
2. Change For Us: How can our words change things for us? Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Things can change for us even if we feel that our “religion” doesn’t work for us in the 21st century or that our prayers don’t get any higher than the ceiling. We can do something about that.
STORY: An Army Sergeant who was caught on the beach by German Artillery managed to save himself by jumping into the water. While improving his position with a trench shovel he came upon an ornate crucifix--the kind that prosperous Italians often hung on their bedroom walls.
Two hours later, a United States Army Chaplain rolled into the water beside him. The Master Sergeant held up the muddy crucifix that he had been clutching for dear life since discovering it and turned to the startled Chaplain and said, “Man, am I glad to see you! How do you make this thing work?”
Christianity is not a magic formula where we punch this button or that button and make things happen. It is not saying superficial words that have no substance. It won’t hold up under the test of waiting for the answer. But scripture gives us principals to follow that will help us to develop our faith and our prayers will be answered. We will begin to see God’s blessing come into our life because we are planting and planning for a good harvest and good fruit.
Change is made with words. How did Abraham use words to bring things into existence? Romans 4:17 says that "he [called] things that are not as though they were.”
What does it mean to speak things into existence? How do you do it when you pray? How do you get your requests put into words?
Too many times people pray in the wrong way begging God to do this or that. Too many times people pray a weak prayer by saying, “If it be thy will.” when scripture already says, “It is God’s will.” These weak prayers are ineffective. We must redefine our requests and reframe our words. The power of speech puts a handle on things. We know that God has the answer to our needs, but we don’t know how to bring it from the spiritual realm into the material realm.
ILLUSTRATION: The other day I was making Bernaise Sauce in a Corning Ware dish and it was hot. It was not easy to lift it out of the microwave without getting burned or spilling it. I snapped the Corning Ware handle on the dish and lifted it right out.
Put a handle on your prayers. Speaking it out in faith starts to bring it out of the realm of the spiritual into the realm of the here and now. People say, “Oh, I just don’t have any faith.” That is not scriptural. We have been given the faith we need. Romans 12:3 says, “every [person] has been given THE MEASURE of faith.” NOT A MEASURE. But THE measure. He meets our needs with our words of faith. You don’t need a boatload of faith to get the job done. Luke 17:6 says, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea and it will obey you.”
How do you speak to your mountain in faith? How do you call those things that ARE NOT as though they were?
3. Identify Your Mountain: What is it? A health problem? Financial need? Relationships to be restored?
That is your mountain that has to be moved.
ILLUSTRATION: A woman had serious back pain and could hardly walk. She was begging God to heal her. She was not even sure if He wanted to heal her. She prayed “if it be thy will” and nothing happened. She just got worse. Then she learned to speak to the problem and take authority over it in the Name of Jesus. She knew the scripture that “by his stripes we were healed.”
She rephrased her prayer by saying, “Back pain go in the Name of Jesus. I take authority over you and command you to go.”
Do the believing right then--when you pray--that you HAVE received it. That indicates that you are speaking in faith whether or not the symptoms leave immediately or not.
If your mountain is a financial problem say, “Let there be money to pay my bills. Money come in the Name of Jesus to pay these bills.” If the checkbook is always in the red begin to say, “I command all of this red ink to leave and black to take its place in the Name of Jesus.”
For healing say, “Let wellness and healing come in the Name of Jesus.”
Begin to speak things out in faith.
“I have been redeemed from the curse of the law.”
“I declare that healing is mine in the Name of Jesus.”
“The power of God is working in me and I am getting better every day.”
“Pain be gone in the Name of Jesus.”
Direct your faith with your words. Begin to thank the Lord for the answer in advance. Use your words to speak life instead of death. It might seem awkward at first because we are not used to saying and speaking positive things. We have been used to saying, “I’m sick and tired, I’m broke, I’m poor, I’m a loser….or such things as this.” But no more. I am a Child of God. I am planting better seed for a good harvest and good fruit. I am a believer and not a doubter.
CONCLUSION: There is a little chorus we used to sing.
“Got any rivers you think are uncross able,
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through
God specializes in things thought impossible
He’ll do for you what no other one can do.”
LET US PRAY: