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The power of Life and Death

I was speaking with a friend of mine the other day and we got onto the topic of words and just how important they are. it inspired me to pull this old article out and revamp it. What we choose say is a powerful thing. A good friend of mine says that words are like a hammer. A hammer can be used to build a house but it can also be used to tear one down and which you do relies solely on how you choose to use it.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about words.

The power of Gods words

John 1:1 (NIV)

the Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Right off the bat we see that our lord Jesus is referred to as the word in one of the most famously known verses in all the bible.

Psalm 33:9

For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Hebrews 11:3

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

We see in these two verses the power of Gods words. He used his words to call forth all of creation.

The power of our words

Proverbs 18: 21 (NIV)

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

The things we say not only to people but around people can be either edifying or destructive. When we allow our young to get away from us we can easily speak a destructive, misleading or hurtful word into someone’s life. That careless word might be the difference between a person being saved and a person walking away from God altogether.

Luke 6:45(NIV) 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

We learn from this passage in Luke that additional to the effect that our words have on others, we can also use the words that come out of a person’s mouth to gain an insight into what they truly have in their heart. If I fill a glass with juice and then pour that glass out you can expect juice to come out. You can’t fill a glass with juice and then pour water out. Likewise, when your heart is full of anger and malice then the words that come out will reflect that, just as those whose hearts are filled with love will speak love.

Proverbs 18:20 (NIV)

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

This passage expounds on the previous by talking of the product of the lips or in other words the positive effect of speaking love and life into the lives of others and how satisfying it is to witness those effects.

But we also see a warning against being careless. We know that taking care with your words produces good harvest but we also know that being careless with words has an effect as well.

Matthew 12:36 (NIV)

36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

So far we’ve see that words have power, that what we say matters and that we must be mindful of what we say because what we allow to come out of our mouths is being recorded. We know that the words we use are a reflection of what we truly have inside. Now we will discuss yet another aspect of words to be aware of.

With whom do you speak?

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

When you meet that random person on the street or the subway you might well be talking with an angel. Imagine if you allowed your stress level or your frustration to get the better of you and you barked at an angel?

Matthew 25:40 New International Version (NIV)

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


Matthew 25:45New International Version (NIV)

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

We see here that above an angelic presence, the manner in which we treat people might very well be the same way we treat Jesus himself. Would you want to speak swears or insults to Jesus?

Acts 5:3

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field?

We see here a person who is lying to one who has the Holy Spirit, is lying to the Holy Spirit itself. The result for these two individuals, was an immediate and severe one.

Finally, we see a little bit of good old fashioned wisdom from proverbsWisdom of words

Proverbs 15New International Version (NIV)

15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,

but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

So what is the total message here? Words can bring life to you and your family and friends, they can bring life to as many as you speak to so long as you speak lovingly. We know the truth of our hearts can be seen in what we say and we know that careless words are still accounted for. We know a wise word preserves feelings and peace and we have also seen that we never know who we might be talking to. It may be an angel or the Holy Spirit and it might just be Jesus himself. There is no predesignated time when we should be nice nor a time when we can say whatever we want without restraint. We must always be in control of our mouths.

Words are very important, don’t fall for the lie that what you say doesn’t matter or that it’s “no big deal” the Bible tells us clearly that words are crucial. Be prayerful and mindful of what you are putting into the world.