I want to take some time today to talk about the power of our tongue. The tongue brings life or death according to the scripture.
Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT
Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Proverbs 18:20-21 NKJV
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his lips he shall be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
1. CHANGE HOW YOU SPEAK TO YOURSELF ABOUT YOURSELF
What words do you speak about yourself; to yourself, to others?
Do your words produce life or death? Do your words encourage and build up, or do they tear down and breed discouragement?
Do you find yourself saying things like, “Well, that’s how it always goes for me. Things never work out for me. I’ll never find what I’m looking for in life.”
Or “I’ll never change. This is just how I am.”
There have been studies done that show people believe the words they speak more than they believe the words of others. The words of others certainly can have a huge impact on us, especially words that were spoken to us by our parents, family members, and people in positions of authority, such as schoolteachers or bosses.
So, there is a big effect from the words of others, but when we speak those words over ourselves, they take on an even deeper significance. When we repeat back the negative things spoken over us, we further increase their power over how we view ourselves.
When we call ourselves stupid, ugly, fat, worthless, lazy, and other negative things we are reinforcing this negative image of ourselves. But it’s even worse than when others say it, because when we hear our own words, we believe them to be true whether we realize it or not. Try speaking GOOD words about yourself OUT LOUD. Is it hard? Do you feel weird? Do you want to stop because it feels so awkward and unnatural and strange? If you answer yes, you’re not alone.
If you answer yes, it also shows how desperately you need to get comfortable speaking loving, kind, encouraging words to YOURSELF! Build yourself up with your words! Encourage yourself with your words! Do you struggle to give yourself compliments? Say to yourself, “Girl! You are a Rockstar! Look at ALL you do!!” C’mon. Give it a try! Keep doing it! Eventually it won’t feel so hard and you’ll start to smile and laugh as you do it, because it will feel so lovely to love yourself. Okay, you may laugh and smile the first time you do it because you feel awkward and foolish, but after a bit….your laugh and your smile will be because you BELIEVE it!
I say to people, “Be careful what you say because your ears hear you and you believe yourself.”
2. DON’T PROPHESY DEFEAT OVER SITUATIONS
Do you confess that situations are “too” hard?
What does it mean to say this thing is too hard? To me it means, oh well, I might as well give up. I can’t be successful. After all, this is TOO hard. What hope is there? I make a big deal about this because I used to speak to myself this way all the time. When I cried, “It’s too hard!” I was left feeling defeated and discouraged. It reinforced self-pity and a victim mentality that left me weak and struggling.
It is true that there are many things that are too hard for us. But there is nothing too hard for God.
Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
Certainly, many things are too hard for you and me. But how does it profit us to confess this? We prophesy over ourselves with our mouths.
3. PROPHESY LIFE (HOPE) OVER YOURSELF, YOUR LIFE
Prophecy foretells and forthtells. Prophecy tells about future events, i.e. foretelling. Prophecy also brings things into being, or forthtelling. What am I prophesying over myself? Maybe you never thought of the words you speak as prophecy. Doesn’t prophecy have to be inspired of God? The bible tells us about false prophets. Who inspires the false prophets? Isn’t it the god of this world? Satan?
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Whose words am I prophesying over myself? Am I prophesying health and hope over myself? Or am I prophesying defeat and death over myself? For example, I’ve said, “Well, the doctors say I’ll just have to live like this the rest of my life.” I am not proposing that we don’t take medical advice into account. But even all the years of schooling completed by medical professionals doesn’t give them precedence over the Creator of the Universe. It may be that we will live with certain issues all our lives. But wouldn’t you like to at least give God the chance to change your diagnosis?
I am not asking that we deny a diagnosis, but I am asking that we deny it power over our lives and our future. It’s not that we can’t talk about it, but let’s talk about the diagnosis less and God’s promise and power more. God designed our DNA! He knows much more than any physician about how to fix us.
Think about what you’re saying. Are you saying, “If such and such happens, I’m going to be so mad.” Isn’t this a prophecy? Aren’t we telling our enemy exactly what he needs to do to get us to let go of our peace and confidence in God? Isn’t there a better way? Why don’t we prophecy our peace? We can say, I don’t know what will come of this scenario, but I will keep looking to Jesus who is the master and in the midst of stormy seas, he can help me hold onto my peace. Isn’t that a better option?
4. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
I know some people may say, “Jenne, you’re getting a little out there on this. Isn’t that a little, I don’t know, new-agey?”
Let’s look again at Proverbs 18:21 again, this time from the Passion Translation.
Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences.
This is the scripture, the God-breathed word. God inspired this book, and he seems to take what we say pretty seriously. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about being a fool or a wise person. It’s clear that a person who ignores this truth is a fool who is killing themselves over time. It says the person who talks a lot will receive the consequences. What fruit are you receiving? Are you eating the sweet fruit? Or the poison?
Proverbs 18:20-21 The Message Version
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.
Who is it that tells us that our words are not that big a deal? I propose it’s the enemy, the satan who says it is silly to put such weight on our words. God is certainly telling us to consider carefully what we say. The devil opposes God, and he will whisper to our minds or through friends, coworkers, family members who may say, “Oh, don’t get so serious!”
5. BE WILLING TO DO THE WORK! (It’s worth it)
I know that it may feel like, “Gosh, that’s a lot of work, to think about my words all the time. I’m not sure I want to work that hard on that.” It is work. However, the long term effects of eating the sweet fruit of right words is worth the effort and will produce health in our lives and the lives of those around us. Otherwise, we will be consuming the poison of words of death that will shrivel us up from the inside out.
Have any of you heard stories of the wife who slipped a little bit of poison into her husband’s meals over time? She just put a little bit, a little bit over time. His death wasn’t sudden or obviously from poison, but he was still being affected. That is what we do to ourselves when we don’t heed God’s warning to watch our words.
Psalm 34:21 The Message
The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good.
Let’s not be like that!
These changes take time, but being aware, being reminded gives us a place to begin. I challenge you to pick one area of your life where you will change your words, your confession, your prophecy about yourself and your life. Enjoy the sweet fruit!