The Power of Words #2 March 13, 2018

Last week we opened with these scriptures:

Proverbs 21:23 tells us: He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles. (NASB)

And the same verse in the Passion Translation: Watch your words and be careful what you say, and you’ll be surprised how few troubles you will have. (TPT)


There’s not a one of us who haven’t said things we regretted later.  We’ve all had to repent, far more than just once.  So why do we say some of the things we later have to repent for?  This week let’s look at some of the reasons that prompt ungodly speech.

SELF-PITY – when we feel that we are being unfairly treated or have to fulfill responsibilities that others don’t understand or appreciate, we can so easily feel sorry for ourselves. If you’ve been lied about, rejected or discriminated against or when you thought you had a chance at something special and then were derailed by someone else, self-pity tells you that life is passing you by and you’ll never see your dreams come true.

We’ve all been guilty of it but self-pity is not acceptable for a Christian.  When we utter words of self-pity, we expose our lack of confidence in God and His perfect plan for our life.  You see, God’s more interested in your holiness than in your happiness!  Ouch!  But it’s true.  When Jesus paid the highest price in the universe to make you a child of God, He had in mind that you would grow into His image and likeness.  And Jesus never uttered one word of self-pity!

Stuff happens.  It sure does. The issue is how we view it.  Any situation that would incline you toward self-pity is actually a TEST.  The Lord is looking to see if your faith in Him will triumph or whether you’ll fall into fleshly patterns. Every test is for advancement. Remember that.  Words we speak out of self-pity betray a lack of faith and trust in God’s plan for our lives.

SELF – DEFENSE:  A great man of God, Peter Cantrell, often says, ‘The greatest freedom is having nothing to prove.‘  How true that is.  The person who is compelled to prove that they are right and others are wrong is not free; neither are they humble.  They spend their energies struggling to make others think they know better or are smarter or wiser. They have a ready answer before the other person finishes the question.

The truth is that working so hard to prove your superiority actually exposes your weakness. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.  Luke 16:15

The most compelling feeling in the world is to defend yourself, to explain yourself, to vindicate yourself.  We all know what it feels like to want to be vindicated. Trying to be justified or exonerated before people is a crippling and counterproductive exercise. It is stressful and exhausting.  However, we can enjoy peace IF we learn and live by the principle: GOD does the best job of vindicating his servants.  If we try to do it for ourselves, He backs off. If we trust His word: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” Romans 12:19,  He’ll do it brilliantly!

FEAR – Speaking out of fear always leads to trouble – always!  Most lies are told because of fear: fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of what other people think, fear of negative consequences if we tell the truth, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, fear of being controlled.  To say it another way, dishonesty is the system of controlling what scares us.

My dear friends, God loves you with an incomparable love; Jesus gave everything to make you His own.  You are utterly secure in His love if you have given your all to Him.

Proverbs 29:25 says: ‘The fear of man is a trap but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.’ Fear is a killer. Truth is life-giving. Words spoken from fear hinder our relationship with God and with others. We all have to repent for words spoken in fear, don’t we?

ANGER –  Angry words. Nasty words. Mean words.

Again we turn to the Proverbs. The man who controls his temper is greater than a powerful warrior who conquers a city.  Prov. 16:32  A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.  Prov. 29:11

What about ‘righteous’ anger?  There is a thin line between righteous anger and losing your temper.  Righteous anger is not about you; losing your temper is.

What the Bible calls righteous anger refers to attitudes about blatant sinfulness in a city or nation, corruption in government or business, desecrating the Name of God and the Word of God. Yes, there can be a holy, righteous anger about those things.

Losing your temper is entirely different.  That’s when something or someone sends you over the edge because what they did or said, or what happened, doesn’t fit your personal agenda for that time and place. You’re impatient, quick-tempered and in that state of mind, say and do things that do not in any way reflect the Christ in you.

Undisciplined anger can lead to serious sin.  Cain killed his brother, Abel, because he was angry. Anger explodes in cruel words, in harsh words and sometimes in expletives that should never cross the lips of anyone professing to be a follower of Christ.


FATIGUE – This may surprise you but the truth is, we are easily prone to say things we will later regret when we are exhausted, tired out, worn out.  We get snippy, short with others, careless with our words and sometimes sarcastic.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  If we know – and we should all take this to heart – if we know that when we’re tired, we’re more likely to spew out something we’ll regret later, let’s have the good sense to bridle our tongues.  Let’s recognize that we’re not at our best when we’re exhausted, ask the Lord to help us and bite our tongues!

There are probably other reasons why we misuse words and find ourselves needing to repent for what we’ve said, but I pray that these few thoughts will be of help to all of us in our ongoing effort to make our speech pleasing and honoring to the Lord.

Some years ago it was quite popular to wear a bracelet with the letters, WWJD. Those initials stood for ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

I think of it from time to time and in the context of today’s lesson, perhaps we should train ourselves to ask, ‘What would Jesus say?’

Change your words – Change your world.


The Power of Words #1 March 6, 2018

Welcome to a new study series.  Instead of choosing a specific book of the Bible this time, I felt compelled by the Spirit of God to focus on a topic instead, the importance and power of our words.  Proverbs 21:23 tells us: He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles. (NASB)  I especially like the way this verse is translated in the Passion Translation: Watch your words and be careful what you say, and you’ll be surprised how few troubles you will have. (TPT)


To be sure, I lay no claim to mastering the art of guarding my tongue and have repented more times than I can count for words I regretted.  But one thing I do know: having reached the age when more of my life is behind me than what is ahead of me, I want to make every day count and every word I speak pleasing to my God.  How about you?

Let’s begin with a verse that grips my attention every time I read it.  It’s found in the New Testament in the book of Matthew.  “I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”  Matt. 12:36  These words were spoken by Jesus and reflect precisely what is written in the Torah and the Prophets, the very scriptures that were familiar to the people of His day.

King Solomon wrote in the Proverbs: When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19

And in Proverbs 17:27 we read this words: He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

And again, Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.  Proverbs 29:20

And perhaps the most significant verse regarding our speech in all of the Proverbs: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

‘He who restrains his lips is wise…’ we read above.  Wisdom is knowing what to say and when to say it, as well as what NOT to say and when NOT to say it.  Whether or not we have acquired wisdom will be manifest in how we talk.

The Bible does not sugarcoat the lives of the men and women in its pages.  We read of their triumphs and we also read of their failures and what some of them did and what some of them said at times were at times exceedingly wrong.  From the best of God’s servants we learn what not to do, as much as we learn what we should do.  And when it comes to our tongues, the imperfections and failings recorded are almost always traced back to their words.

Consider Adam: The very first conversation he has with God after eating from the forbidden tree finds Adam blaming his wife, not himself.  But look a little closer.  Actually he was accusing God!  ‘The woman You gave me…’ he says to God.  Since Adam mankind is so prone to blame others and not ourselves.  An irrefutable proof of our fallen human condition is our eagerness to defend ourselves, to shift the blame to someone else, to avoid admitting our guilt – all of which we do with words.  Pointing the finger at someone else for our failure exposes the fact that we have lost control of our tongue.

You may say, ‘Well I was thinking that so I might as well say it.’ Wrong! Look again at the scripture we started with: “I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”   What we say is what gets us in trouble. Perhaps we need to pray more often: ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ Psalm 19:14

Consider Sarah:  It was at her suggestion that Abraham slept with Hagar yet afterwards, Sarah gives Abraham a tongue-lashing. ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.’ Gen. 16:5  It’s a proven principle: those who carry within them the greatest sense of guilt are the ones who excel at inflicting guilt trips on others.  Abraham and Sarah survived the crisis but her criticism put a strain on their marriage.  The blame game always does that.


The words we say have more power than we realize. Our God created the entire universe with words.  ‘Let there be…’  We are made in His image and likeness; is it any wonder that our words also have power?

Of all of creation, we are the ones with the power of speech….like God.  It was bestowed on us that we might praise and worship our Creator, not for the purpose of cutting other people down.  We live in a world polluted by coarse, haughty and wicked speech.  As God’s people we are called to be different and a major evidence that you and I belong to the Lord is expressed by the way we talk.

Let’s each of us take responsibility for our tongues, repent for words we’ve spoken that have not reflected the Lord Who called us, and ask Him for grace to bring our tongues under His control.


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