Dear HTC Family and friends,
The tongue is an incredibly powerful tool that the Lord has entrusted to us. The writer of Proverbs reminds us of its power: ‘The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it, will eat its fruit.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). This means, that our words have the power to bring life or to bring death, blessing or curse.
James, in his letter, exposes the sad reality, that so often the same tongue can speak both words that are life giving and words that are destructive: ‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.’ (James 3:9-10). It is clear that we have a responsibility, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to take control of our tongues, and thereby to take control of our words.
James reminds of the destructive force of a tongue that is not controlled: ‘The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.’ (James 3:6). Once a word is spoken, it cannot be taken back. It can set in motion a range of reactions and consequences.
We need to heed the warning that Moses gave the Israelites: ‘I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19). We have a choice to make every day, and in every situation we face: to declare and speak words that bring life and hope, blessing and encouragement, or to declare words that bring death and destruction, curse and alienation.
With one small word, we can wreck or build. My words can be hurtful, dismissive, demeaning, discouraging and destructive or my words can be words that heal, words that inspire, words that encourage, words that restore, and words that uplift. We have the power with our words to speak blessing or curse, life or death over someone’s present and their future. What words will you choose today?
Our words are most often a reflection of the state of our hearts. Jesus clearly points to this: ‘Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’ (Luke 6:45). Our words will always be consistent to what our hearts are full of: ‘My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.’ (James 3:12). I believe what James is saying here is this: if you discover that your words are destructive and negative, then you need to check the sources of your words – your heart. Make a decision to ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart (Psalm 139:23) and reveal to you any bitterness, anger, resentment, hurt and shame that may be in your heart, causing you to speak negative and destructive words. Make yourself accountable to someone you trust in your life, with regard to the words you speak. Accept their reviews of your words, and be willing to confess, repent, make right and change the way you speak.
Finally, may I invite you to join me in daily surrendering our thoughts and words to the Holy Spirit. Let us ask Him daily to take captive our thoughts and words. Let us ask Him to be the guard at the door of our mouths. May we intentionally choose to speak words that bring hope, words that encourage and inspire, words that speak life and words that bring people to Jesus.
Bless you all,