Ephesians 4: 14-15
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Genesis 1: 1-5; 26-27
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called ‘night’. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day....
....Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 2: 7
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Reflecting on the most important lessons learned during his imprisonment, Nelson Mandela said this:
"It is never my custom to use words lightly. If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die."
The words we speak are incredibly powerful. The average human uses around 16,000 words every day so it's very easy to utter them casually and lightly, forgetting just how much impact our words have.
Words aren’t neutral – they have power:
- Power to heal or to wound.
- Power to bless or curse.
- Power to speak truth or deceive.
- Power to praise or to criticise.
- Power to bring life or death.
Proverbs 18: 21 (MSG) says this: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit - you choose.”
That's pretty dramatic. Why are words so powerful?
If you read the creation account in Genesis, when God wanted to create something, what did He do? He spoke. No less than seven times we read: "Then God said...." And whatever He said, that's what was created.
God's words clearly have awesome creative power. God is Spirit but when He spoke something physical and material was formed. As humans, made in His image and likeness, He has breathed something of Himself into us. And so when we speak, our words have creative power. Obviously on a completely different level than God’s words, but ever since God breathed into mankind His own breath of life, there's been a spark of what He is in us.
Since words connect us with God and with each other, we need to understand that our words can create our reality. Our words will have a direct influence over the quality and direction of our lives. Our jobs will be affected by our words. Our marriages will reflect the quality of our words. Our relationships will only be as good as our words. Even our health may be influenced by the words we speak.
Let me ask, when did you last:
- Say something untrue about someone else?
- Say something unkind about another person?
- Verbally lash out in anger against someone?
- Regret something you said?
- Help to spread gossip?
I am so aware, as I examine my own life, that I have said so many things I wish I had never said, and I have heard others say so many things I wish I’d never heard. Our words can cause tremendous damage and destruction. But they can also bring life, hope, blessing and encouragement. It simply depends on how we use them.
Over the course of this week, we'll be thinking through how we can be people who speak life wherever we go, how we are able to release blessing and favour with our words, and how we can communicate God's heart in a way that encourages, strengthens and comforts those who listen.