Summary: The effect of our words can lead to a good outcome or to a disasterous one. We can learn to overcome negativity and change our self talk so that we receive a fruitful harvest.
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.