Have you thought about your words lately? They are powerful! They either build or destroy. They either encourage or discourage. They either pick up or put down. Words are weighty—powerful influencers.
Words stay with people—for a long, long time. James compares words to fruit and water—things that are consumed and digested. What takes seconds for you to speak will find it’s way into someone’s spiritual digestive system and either poison or nourish them for years!
For the good or the bad, words don’t just impact once. They impact over and over. Things you say today, write today, post today will live on in the hearts and minds of people for much longer than you will remember saying them.
Here are some principles from James 3 and Matthew 12 that might cause you to rethink some of the things you say today:
1. More words—greater accountability with God. Choose wisely. James 3:1 “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”
2. Everybody offends others with their words. Be patient and forgiving. James 3:2 “For in many things we offend all….”
3. Spiritual maturity brings with it a greater care for our words. James 3:2 “…If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man…”
4. Your words are the rudder of your life. Your tongue directs your heart. James 3:3-5 “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth…”
5. Your words also reveal your heart. In other words, your mouth is both an entrance into your heart as well as an exit! Matthew 12:34 “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
6. Your words can defile your whole life. What you say impacts you as much as anybody else! James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
7. Your words can start big fires and do long-term destruction. James 3:5 “…Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
8. You can’t control your words by yourself. This requires the Holy Spirit of God. James 3:8 “But the tongue can no man tame…”
9. Your words can be deadly and poisonous—think spiritual, emotional, relational cyanide. James 3:8 “…it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
10. Your words can be duplicitous—spiritual one minute, carnal the next. James 3:9 “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.”
11. Your words can be refreshing or depleting. Salt water dehydrates and destroys life, while fresh water replenishes and renews life. James 3:11-12 “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
12. Your words are consumed by others—like food and water. You say it in a second, but others digest it for a LONG time. James 3:12 “12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
Words. We use them all day every day. As we do, we leave a long wake that ripples outward continually for a very long time.
You have been given the power to pour fresh water into others—over and over again. Words of blessing. Words of grace. Words of encouragement. Words of intercession. Words of gratitude. Words of praise. Words of belief. Words of faith.
Why would we not want to seek God’s power to HARNESS these powerful things call WORDS and require our tongue to speak GRACE and EDIFICATION to others.
Choose today to use your words to GLORIFY God and EDIFY others!