Watch Your Words
By Joanne Highley
It is truly eye-opening to see the strong statements in the Bible about the power of the tongue and the import of what we say on our lives. I suppose we should not be surprised, given the fact that God spoke the world into existence, and we, being made in His image, speak our world into existence. The most powerful words to shape our lives is our confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our personal Savior. This makes us a new creation in Christ, who comes to dwell in us. There is also the confession of our sin to God by which we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. There are the deeply meaningful vows of marriage we speak to commit our lives to one person as our mate for all our lives. Our prayers which build a loving intimacy with God are spoken and the community of the saints speaks creeds and prayers together to strengthen our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ. The daily words of love, appreciation, thoughtfulness, sympathy, exhortation, encouragement and acceptance of each other are a blessing. The exchange of ideas, creativity and wisdom is a delight. The words of teaching and preaching bring us truth, hope, faith, courage, peace, comfort and joy. The words of prophecy, revelation, casting out demonic power, praying for one another bring powerful change and light. Words to inform, caution, rebuke and correct are important words to help us stay on course. Words of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are spoken and sung to praise God and encourage each other. These are the words that shape our world. These are the words of the man and woman of God.
But these are many warnings about words that destroy. Proverbs 18:21, tells us "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge it shall eat the fruit of it (for life or death). We need to see how to speak words that bring life and not death. We must put away all lying because it brings chaos and cooperation with Satan. "The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful." (Proverbs 12:22) We need to catch our lies and uproot them so we can be people God will delight in. As you catch yourself in lies, write them down and begin to pray against them. Write what the truth is and memorize the words of the truth so you will then begin to speak those words instead of the lies. If you find it difficult to tell the truth, have a counselor or pastor pray out the lying spirit and pray into you the spirit of truth.
So many of my counselees tell me they don't know how to move forward because it is unfamiliar. This kind of talk is a way of blocking progress. Of course, you are not familiar with heterosexuality or even with freedom from homosexuality, but the more you say you can't move forward because it is unfamiliar, you block your progress. We have to move into unfamiliar territory and trust God to guide us. All people have to go into the unfamiliar to enter heterosexual relationships and it may be a bit scary at first. But we must speak positively about this move. It is the will of God that many of you will be married. We need to see that heterosexuality is our created design and homosexuality is only the sexual dysfunction caused by ungodly reactions to pain in childhood. We can move forward in our true identity as we agree with God and speak in positive ways about who we are in Christ.
Proverbs 4:24, tells us to "Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips." Perversity has to do with the state of being willfully determined or disposed to going counter to what is expected or desired; persistent or obstinate in what is wrong; contrary. We need to keep that kind of talk out of our mouths and clean that ungodly reaction to pain out of our emotions and thoughts. Corrupt talk is talk that is crooked, debased, vile, filthy, depraved. It is the way the people who visit chat rooms and gay bars talk. Dirty talk brings death to the person spoken to. It also creates death in the one who speaks because sin brings death. (James 1:15) "An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble
Be very careful not to speak death or murder on anyone. "Oh, I could kill him (or her)." This is very serious and must be uprooted. We open ourselves to a spirit of murder if we speak such things. Also hatred of others or ourselves must be driven out of our heart and lips. Hatred is not of God except hatred of evil, not of other people or ourselves.
Taking the Lord's name in vain is dishonoring God and needs to be confessed and cleaned out of our speech. Many people use the word "God" as an expletive or emphasis in speech, such as saying,"O, my God!" This is using the Lord's name in vain and must be resisted and removed from our speech.
After becoming Christians, many people, when they have something good happen to them, will call themselves "lucky". This is not the truth because the word "luck" is based on the concept that you have advantage or success as a result of chance. For the Christian there is no luck because nothing happens to us by chance. Our lives are in the hands of God who works everything together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Some people say when tempted or are going through a trial, "Can't You give me a little help, God?" This statement shows a false view of God as if He is not helping or interested. Obviously this false concept of God has come from the lack of help or interest in the earthly father or others and so is transferred to God. We need to see this lie and tell God that we turn from viewing Him as one who does not care or want to help us. When we are tempted or in times of trial or trouble, always say, "Thank you, God, for being with me in this time of temptation or trial and for helping me." That is the truth. He is with you to strengthen you and keep you from sin and destruction.
Many people speak of the future in terms of what they have experienced in the past. This is very harmful in that it makes the person feel hopeless and like nothing will ever change. This comes from a childhood where, no matter what they tried, nothing changed. But we are in a new life in Christ and must receive the hope (promises of God that will not fail), the joy and the faith that brings fulfillment.
We must carefully guard our lips from speaking words that would incite violence either in our hearts or in our flesh. The Word has a lot to say about the violence on the tongues of the rash, reckless or unfaithful person.
"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” (Proverbs 10:11) “He who has a wayward and crooked mind finds no good, and he who has a willful and contrary tongue will fall into calamity. He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:2-3) “Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
The Word of God speaks clearly against any malicious or deceitful talk in Proverbs 26:24, when it says, "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit." And again in Psalms 62:4, we find " How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down--this leaning wall, this tottering fence? With their mouths they bless but in their hearts they curse." If you hold any form of malicious deceit, begin to break up that stronghold by journaling, prayer and confession. Then you must give up the old deceitful core of hatred and ungodly reactions. You will have a new life, full of joy and freedom.
One of the most insidious of traps is the continuous speaking that you don't ever think you will be free of this sin. God has told us all that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. And we are not to let ourselves be again ensnared in a yoke of bondage. We are harming ourselves when we speak such negative lies. We were created to be free in the Lord and His truth. It is the will of God that we avail ourselves of the power of truth to set us free. The consequences of staying in this sin are we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We must pay attention to this truth and speak the truth that as we work, no matter what we feel, God is setting us free. It is only when we lose our faith and trust in that truth and the love of God and His mercy that we go back to our sin. You are being set free! Allow that to begin to be on your lips and in your hearts as you do this work.
James 1:26 tells us, "If anyone considers himself religious and does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
Jesus told us in Matthew 15:11, "It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles him."
Also in Luke 6:45, Jesus said: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
Come, my children, listen to me.
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
And desires to see many good days,
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
Never think you cannot do this good work. It is a vital work for all Christians to purify your heart and your tongue. Just begin the work today and get rid of ungodly speech. God will send His Holy Spirit to guide you and comfort you. It is a foundational part of your new life in Christ.