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Tag Archives: speak life
According to reference.com, a University of Arizona study found that most people speak about 16,000 words a day. Just as a side note, women did not speak more than men. I can tell you that I would never have guessed that I use that many words in a day, and I talk a lot. My next thought is, “How many of those words are well thought out? How many edify others? How many put others down?” Then I started to wonder how many words do we think in a day since we hold back on a lot of things we wish we could say, but there’s no research on that. As I began to think about that more, I wondered how many of those words we address to ourselves in a negative way. We’re pretty good at not tearing down others (out loud), but how many times do we put ourselves down out loud and internally?
Words are some of the most powerful things on the planet. Even though we said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” we knew it was a lie. Inside we were dying because of something someone else told us. How much more do we hurt by replaying those words or even repeating them over ourselves in agreement? As Christians, we must be careful with the words we say to others and ourselves. We have to change our internal words before we can change the 16,000 words we speak. Just because no person can tame the tongue, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t control it. With God’s help, you can change the words you speak and agree with in order to change your life and someone else’s. Use your 16,000 words wisely each day.
Here are some Bible verses on the words we say.
1. But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen!
James 3:8-10 GNT
2. Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal.
Proverbs 12:18 TPT
3. A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4 AMP
4. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 MSG
5. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
When I was a senior in high school, I went on my first mission trip. We drove deep into the heart of Mexico. At one point, we turned off the road into a dry creek bed. We drove down that creek bed for about twenty minutes and then we arrived in a small village to build a church. The people seemed to come out of nowhere to greet us. At one point, they took us to a deep well and told us about how a donkey had fallen in there and died. It took them several days to get it out, but by then the water had been polluted. They had to empty the well so they could get fresh, clean water again. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that story.
Proverbs 20:5 tells us that wisdom and counsel are deep within us like a well and that people of understanding will be able to draw them out. Then in Luke 6:45, Jesus said that we speak out of the abundance of our heart, meaning the things that are deep inside us come out of our mouth. Then in James 3:12, the author writes, “Is it possible that fresh and bitter water can flow out of the same spring? So neither can a bitter spring produce fresh water” (TPT). He’s talking about our words and how we speak. How can we speak words of healing if we are full of bitterness inside? How can we speak life if there our inner well is polluted?
Each one of us have donkeys that fall into our well and die causing our heart to be polluted. The words we speak to others reveal whether we’ve taken it out and refreshed our well or not. I’ve learned that we empty our polluted well by confessing our sins, faults and inner struggles to God and to others (James 5:16). We confess them to God for forgiveness and to people for healing. When’s the last time you looked deep into the well that you’re drawing out of? What kind of water are you giving other people? Take some time today to get alone with God, do some self examination and get healed so that you can produce fresh, clean water that others can drink from.
In middle school, every day during lunch a group of us would sit at the same table with one goal in mind, make someone cry. We would spend the entire hour doing put down contests. Two of us would face off and trade put downs until one of us cried or ran out of out downs. I learned to develop thick skin and to have quick retorts. The down side of that is that I spent decades putting people down not understanding the power of my words. Because I had developed thick skin, I assumed everyone had the ability to prevent words from affecting them long term. I later learned the power of the tongue and how important it was to build people up instead of tearing them down.
Paul was a person who underwent a transformation. He thought he was pleasing God by tearing down Christians, but had the Damascus Road experience where Jesus changed him. Later, God chose he and Barnabas to work together to build people up. Barnabas’ name actually means, “Son of Encouragement”. How cool is that? He lived up to his name through encouraging Paul and others to reach their potential through spiritual growth. We don’t hear a whole lot about him, but we know that for a season, the two of these men challenged each other and the Early Church together. Their goal was to win people to Christ and to lead believers into spiritual maturity through their words.
Our goal is no different. Romans 14:19 says, “So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth]” (AMP). What words do you use when speaking with others? Are they building them up or are they tearing them down? Are you contentious or are you a peacemaker? God’s Word is clear. The power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). We must choose our words carefully and use them to speak life and encourage growth. There are enough things in this world to bring division to us. Instead of focusing on those or letting them rule us, let’s look for commonalities and work to build each other up and unite ourselves together as one.
One of most accurate memes I’ve seen during this quarantine is, “Check on your extroverted friends. We’re not ok!” With everyone working and staying at home, people are looking for ways to connect. One way is to do a Facebook live video. In face so many are doing it now that Facebook has had to shift its resources and focus to improving that feature because of the use it’s getting. I also saw a Hallmark commercial where they are giving three free cards to everyone who requests them on their website. They’re wanting people to stay connected and to send encouraging words to someone else during this time. There is a unique opportunity right now to speak life into other people like never before.
If you watch the news, it’s hard to find hope of this ending anytime soon. The no school and stay home orders keep getting extended. Unemployment is rising every day as businesses struggle to adapt and fear keeps consumers home and from buying. Hope is what people are hungry for. In fact, I read an article yesterday from Pew research that said over 50% of people have now prayed for Coronavirus to end. People who haven’t talked to God in years or who have doubted His existence are now reaching out. The need for good news and hope is great. Have you prayed to ask God how He can use you to meet that need?
Don’t panic. Most of what God asks us to do are small steps of faith. It could be a Facebook live video, commenting on a post, sending an email (or card) or posting a prayer. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits” (TPT). You have the ability to bring healing right now. You have the ability to speak beautiful, life giving words. All it takes is for you to seek God on how He wants to use you during this time. You can do it because the same Spirit that dwelled in Christ, dwells in you. You are empowered to make a difference right now and to release sweetness to souls. You can make a difference today through the words you use.
One of the most powerful things on earth is the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the power of life and death are in it. The words you choose to say to someone can make or break their day and even their life. According to a study done by the University of Arizona, the average person speaks about 16,000 words a day. How many of those words are we being intentional about? How many times do we say something in passing or jokingly that could hurt someone? The more we speak, the greater the chances are that we become less intentional about what we say. More than that, a UCLA study showed that 93% of communication is nonverbal. So beyond what we’re saying, how we’re nonverbally communicating it to someone is more important when it comes to how they receive it.
Several years ago in Israel, I was touring Jesus’ hometown of a Nazareth. The guide there shared that while Joseph taught Jesus to be a carpenter, that word had a broader meaning back then. It wasn’t just wood that a carpenter would have worked with. They would have also worked with stones. 1 Peter 2:5 says you and I are living stones being built up into a spiritual house. Think about what he’s saying with the context that Jesus would be a stone carpenter. Also think about how buildings were built out of stone back then versus wood today. You are a building block of God’s Kingdom that Jesus is shaping and placing in just the right place. Now think of how you and I are to be Christlike in building each other up. We are stone carpenters ourselves.
Jude 1:20-21 says, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love” (NLT). Each of us have a divine command to built each other up. We must use words, prayer and the Bible to encourage one another and build each other up. If we’re constantly putting others down, we’re in essence trying to undo the work that Jesus is trying to do in their lives. We are partners with Him in this, so let’s work together with Him in building up the lives of those around us. Pray each day asking the Holy Spirit to give you the right words to say to build up others when they need it most. You might just speak life into someone and save their life.
Christmas time and the overall holiday season can be a difficult time for those who have ever lost a loved one. When families come together, it’s another reminder of the gapping hole that person once filled. Many times families won’t decorate or truly celebrate the season if they lost that loved one that year. It’s understandable and we have to remember that each person grieves in their own way. There are no rules or timelines on how a person is to grieve or how long. I understand their are stages of grief, but each person follows them in their own way.
As Christians, it’s ok for us to grieve as well, but we do so with the hope of seeing that person again one day. For us, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. The pain is still there. We still go through the stages of grief, but we have hope. We can be comforted in knowing that death is not the end because we serve a savior who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave. As I Corinthians 15:55 put it, “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (GNT)
For those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, death is no longer defeat. Death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning of eternal life. With that knowledge, Paul wrote this in I Thessalonians 4:13, “Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.” Death doesn’t make us grieve uncontrollably and hopelessly because it is not final for a believer. We can still grieve and we can still feel the loss because of their absence though.
In the final verse of that chapter, Paul wrote, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” He knew that we would need encouragement and comfort in our time of grief. So, if you’re grieving and hurting this holiday season over your loved one, it’s ok to do it in your own way, but don’t do it as one who is hopeless. Take comfort in knowing that the same reason we celebrate Christmas is the same reason we have hope.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Brian Tracy, who is a leader in the field of sales, says, Your outer world will always reflect your inner world.” He’s saying that no matter how much we try to mask what is going on inside of us, it will always find its way to the surface. It’s hard to produce positive results if you’re a mess inside. He believes you should work on your mental health first before you try to correct any outward behavior. Many people go through life trying to repair the fruit of the problem without trying to correct the root of the problem first. That’s a losing battle because the fruit will keep showing up until you deal with the root.
I believe the same thing is true of us spiritually. Many of us spend a ton of money and time addressing the physical aspect of our lives while neglecting the spiritual aspect. One of these will live forever, and one will turn back into dust. We must learn to feed our spirit by reading the Word of God, praying, going to church, having fellowship with other believers and exercising our faith. Imagine trying to run a marathon without hydrating or feeding your body. It would collapse, yet we try to do this to our soul all the time.
In Proverbs 4:23, Solomon wrote, “Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life” (TPT). How can you continue to care for the needs of others, being life for them when they need it, if you don’t take care of the well inside of you? You and I have a deep well of life giving water inside of us that God wants us to draw from so we can bless others, but we must learn to care for it and ourselves first. If you’re dry and empty inside, it’s difficult to pour out anything of substance to others. Feed your soul, then feed others.
When I was in the Fifth grade, lunch time consisted of a group of us who spent that time doing a put down contest. Every day we sat there with one person on one side of the table against a person from the other side. The two would trade put downs until one person ran out of them or someone cried. As kids, we had no idea how dangerous this exercise was. Words are more powerful than we realized. My fear is that some from that group have spent a life time putting others down constantly or worse, putting themselves down. So many people are constantly putting themselves down with their own words.
Jude 1:20 says, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith” (NLT). That’s a command to do the exact opposite of what we’ve been taught to do. We have to train ourselves to quit looking in the mirror and telling ourselves what’s wrong with us. We have to learn to quit saying what our limitations are and why we can’t do things. Building up involves talking about what you can do and what your qualities are. When you consistently tell yourself the qualities God has given you, you shift the talk track in your mind from negative to positive. You begin to build up rather than tear down.
We need to learn to do this for other people as well. Imagine if you had someone constantly telling you what’s right with you. That would affect your day and how you see yourself. So why not start it off today? Find someone and build them up today by telling them a God-given quality they have and why it’s important. Building each other up is part of God’s design for community. We all need to be reminded daily of the positive qualities we have and how they affect the world around us. Let’s quit putting ourselves and others down and begin to act the way God intended by building others up.