The Power of Words
Words have always had power. God had only to speak, and the creation came into being; each commanded article in the order in which it was commanded. (Genesis 1) Peter tells us that by His word, the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished, and by that same word (i.e., His authority) the world that now is kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3: 5 – 7) Of course, we’re speaking of GOD’S word, and we recognize He is omnipotent (Revelation 19:6). Therefore, thinking of the creation, we haven’t much opposition to the power of His word.
Why then do so many fashion an opposition to His spoken word? Examine Hebrews 1: 1 – 2: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” If the inanimate objects of this world are subject to the spoken word of God, does it not reason the animated objects (specifically, mankind) are also subject to His word? God commanded and it was done! God commands us still, and yet countless souls object and ignore His sacred instruction!
It would appear most souls around the world accept the Bible as a “sacred book”. Within its presence, they are respectful, watching their language, their actions, and even their demeanor. But when it comes to reading its content, these same souls are reluctant to open its pages, thinking they can somehow live its truth without knowing its truth! If asked if they believe the Bible most would say, “Yes.” But how can one believe what they do not know? If asked, “Do you believe God and obey Him?” again, most would respond affirmatively, thinking “living decently among our fellows” is equivalent to serving God acceptably in reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28).
Might I ask if there is any other authoritative guidance of which we know nothing and yet can obey it without penalty? I think not. One needs to know the rules of driving and obey them or face penalties. One needs to know the rules of conduct in school or business, and obey them or face penalties. One needs to know the rules of any sports game in which they participate or face the penalties. One needs to know the rules for entering certain establishments (like military posts/bases, courthouses, etc.) or face penalties for illegal entry. In every authoritative situation, there are rules, and rules must be obeyed!
Who can believe that we can please the God of heaven without knowing what He directs us to do? His word is powerful (Romans 1:16) and there are eternal consequences to avoiding it (2 Thessalonians 2: 7 – 9; Matthew 7: 24 – 27). This is the precise reason Paul instructed Timothy, “Till I come, give attendance to reading …” (1 Timothy 4:13) To Ephesus Paul said, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” (3:4) With these and other inspired passages instructing us in the need for reading God’s word, how can anyone ignore it and please Him? Further, and to the point of this paragraph, how can anyone claim to please the God of heaven without READING what He says about how we must please Him?
Yes, words have power! Even among ourselves are words powerful. Note the Lord’s admonition in this regard: “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36 - 37) What we say does influence the hearers. The inflection of our voice permits hearers to know if we are angry, happy, sad, firm, sullen, pleasant, passive, or any other emotion. How we speak often determines how folks listen. Who “enjoys” being yelled at or scolded? How often can you endure a “sad, forlorn” tale? Does a monotone voice keep your attention? Paul instructs us, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” (Colossians 4:6) Be cautious in not only WHAT you say, but HOW YOU SAY IT!
Finally, some words need never be spoken. Have you ever considered how silence speaks loudly? There was a song in the 70s entitled “The Sounds of Silence.” We find a very poignant example of this type of speaking. Remember when Jesus simply turned and looked at Peter? (Luke 22:61) Without a word the Lord said all He needed to say to cause Peter to understand his error! Mothers are good at “giving that look” and children completely understand. Maybe we need to consider the power of our Lord’s unspoken words as well. His silence regarding various desires of mankind is just as authoritative as His spoken word – for He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Thus, if we can’t find authority regarding a practice, then it is best we just leave it alone!
Words are powerful! Let’s guard our tongues against speaking wrongly, and train it to speak only the truth!