God spoke the world into being. John’s gospel begins “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” Isaac spoke a word of blessing over Jacob, that was intended for Esau. Even though his words were spoken as a result of deception, Isaac couldn’t take those words of promise back. James said that “if anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check” (James 3:2). I’ve been convicted of late that we are not as careful with our words as the Bible teaches us to be. I am a writer, a speaker and a teacher. I spend my time choosing words and then forming those words into thoughts and sentences. I love words and all they can accomplish. But I have been convicted lately by that verse in James. The truth is, I am much more careful with the words I write and the words I put in a message or lesson than I am with the words I use in idle conversation. Should any conversation be considered “idle”?
Why do we want to talk all day long? Tweet? Facebook? Technology has given us the ability to talk incessantly, and because there is anonymity behind our words, there is a lot said that should have remained unsaid. What if all of us tried to speak less and think more? That choice would profoundly change our lives . . . and our culture. If we are obedient to God’s word, our words will be perfected and more useful for the Kingdom. James teaches that if are never at fault with our words, we can be perfect. But who among us is perfect with our words? What do we do when Scripture calls for the impossible?
We make it our goal, the standard by which we strive to live. And we remember what Mary said after the angel told her she would have a son. Mary said, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Changing our words will change our lives – and the lives of those around us. But that change isn’t possible except by the power of God. Here is what God’s word says about our words:
Proverbs 21:23 – “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” Think about the last relationship that went haywire in your life. Was it because of something that was said?
Proverbs 15:4 – “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” What will happen as a result of your words today?
Ephesians 4:15 – “Speaking the truth in love we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.” It isn’t enough to simply speak the truth. If we want to grow closer to Christ, we have to speak the truth in love. Will you be closer to Christ at the end of today?
Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” This may be the most important thought to consider. Are the words we will speak today for our sake, or for the benefit of others?
Today you have the opportunity to speak words that are “beneficial.” Martin Luther’s words changed the church. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words changed the culture. Thomas Payne’s words motivated a cause. Osama Bin Laden’s words changed September 11th. Your words will have an impact as well. Do you need to ask God to perfect your words so you can lead a more perfect life? The presence and power of God in your life means you have more influence than you can fathom. Would you make it your goal to leave every conversation with people thinking, “Wow?” If we “watch our words,” they will.