Hello Chi Alpha nation! Since Rachelle is off to Haiti with Winston and the team, I have the honor and privilege of writing this week’s Bible study. Even though I haven’t been with you these last couple months, I have been praying for you and am excited to still be a small part in this ministry.
We’ve been continuing with the theme of “What to do with your _____”, and this week we are filling in the blank with words. No, not just any words, I mean your words. What to do with your words. This is such a vital part of a believer’s life on this earth, and it impacts your day-to-day living almost every minute.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you have probably heard the famous Scripture: “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” Proverbs 18:21. From my discussions and observations with other believers, this verse has become too common among the Church. They don’t understand the power and severity behind this verse. In order for us to learn just how powerful our words are, we need to forget what we think we know and see the connection our words have to our faith. A great example of this is the Roman centurion in Matt 5 who asked for his servant to be healed:
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one,‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it,He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” [Emphasis added]
I love these stories where Jesus exclaims “such great faith”, because it gives us insight into the behaviors and thoughts that led those people to have such faith. When this story is preached, the emphasis is usually on the authority of Jesus, and that is what the centurion connected with. But it goes so much deeper than that. The centurion understood that speaking the word caused action to occur, both in his life, and in Jesus’ life. And the bridge between words being spoken and the answer coming is faith.
One of the greatest teachings on this is in Luke 17:5, where the disciples make a request of Jesus, “Increase our faith”. Jesus’ response is this:
6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Jesus teaches us directly that the words we speak contain faith, faith to accomplish what we say. But the key is to connect what we say with the right kind of faith.
When my dad pastored, he loved to do a simple illustration with the children. He would show us a bucket and say, “words are like buckets, they can be empty and carry no weight, or they can be filled with something. That something is either faith in agreement with God’s Word or fear in agreement with the world’s ideas.” That will stick with me for the rest of my life, but I have learned that fear is a misnomer there. Our words are always filled with faith, but what is our faith in? Are we speaking with faith in ourselves or faith in God? Are we speaking with faith in our circumstances or faith in God’s power and answers?
These questions are important to ask ourselves when we are in the midst of a situation and need God’s help. How do we know whether our words are full of faith in God or not? Find out what God has said about our situation, easiest way being in His Word, the Bible. You can never go wrong standing on the Scriptural promises that God has so graciously given us. Find out His will, then ask Him for the answer, then start speaking in agreement with that answer. Remember Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
When we aren’t in the midst of needing things from God, we still need to keep track of what we’re saying. Speaking what God’s Word says about us, as His children, helps us maintain our self-esteem and identity in Him. We also need to avoid speaking the way the world does, just stop now. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to “put on the new man which was created according to God…” then goes on telling us how:
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Leteach one of youspeak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
Words are powerful. Whoever said “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” was an utter fool. I just recently ended a relationship with a young lady, a Christian, but had bad theology. She ended up telling me things that brought such shame to my life, and they cut me deep. Thankfully God is so good that He spoke to me in four different ways, showing me how wrong she was and who I am in Him. It was such a blessing, but after a few days I was still hurting. The Holy Spirit showed me I needed to start speaking aloud these truths about who I am in Christ and how He sees me. Only after I started confessing them aloud did it change how I felt inside, and built up my faith in His Word rather than the words of that young lady.
There are so many more things I can describe about words, and how they connect to faith, and how they bring about change in our minds and lives, but I’ll leave that for you to dive into. For now, I leave you with a few questions to answer for yourself:
Am I speaking life into situations where I need help, or am I speaking negatively?
Am I speaking in agreement with God’s Word about what I need, and who I am as a child of God?
Are the words I speak bringing grace to those around me, or do I participate in how the world speaks?
Take the time to evaluate these questions, because changing what you say will transform what you think, which will transform your reality, which will then transform your actions. I pray you see the depth of words, and how they truly are “life and death” spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Speak life. Speak grace. Speak God’s Word. You will see your faith grow and will see your outcomes in life improve.