We’re all familiar with a certain variety of “four-letter-words.” Unfortunately, the culture has trained our lips to select first from this list in times of crisis, frustration, surprise, amazement, and even in times of jest or laughter. I know I’m guilty, and I’m working to “clean up my mouth,” but God has shown me far more urgent things I need to eliminate from my vocabulary than just a few “choice words.”
Words Have Power
As Christians, the way we speak isn’t so much about setting an example (though that is part of it); it has more to do with the fact that our words create reality. Humans are made in God’s image, and God’s words hold tremendous power.
In the beginning, God created using words, and by His own declaration, everything He created was good. We too have power to create with our words. But unlike God, who creates only good, we can create good or evil.
When we speak, something happens in the spiritual realm. The things we say, not just specific words but the types of words, influence our lives and the lives of others.
Regardless of whether or not you are a Christ-follower, eliminating the following 10 types of words from your vocabulary is sure to have a positive impact on you and those in your life.
1. Negative Talk About Yourself
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV)
Self-fulfilling prophecy is real. The more we say negative things about ourselves (regardless of whether or not they are true), the more likely these negative things are to occur in our lives.
I once heard someone say, “Our hearts believe what our ears hear our lips say.”
On the flip side, the enemy uses the words we say about ourselves against us, because those are the lies we are most willing to believe.
What this really boils down to (on every point, I might add) is spiritual warfare.
The enemy cannot read our minds, but he can hear the words we speak. Luke 6:45 says that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Of course we shouldn’t think bad things about ourselves, but thinking negative thoughts is not nearly as damaging as saying them out loud.
2. Curses Against Others
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness… My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10)
Curses are more damaging than curse words. Curses are the opposite of blessings. Through the power of our words, we can create a positive or negative reality in someone’s life just by proclaiming it.
When we say something like, “You will never amount to anything in your career,” or “All the men in your family cheat on their wives at some point,” we are actually planting seeds of evil in that person’s life. But blessings work the same way. They are like little seeds planted in a person’s life. And when thinking about the people closest to us, let us never forget that we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7)
3. Lies of All Kinds
“There is no truth in him [Satan]. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
I have to confess, this one God convicted me of this week. When we lie, in essence, we are partnering with the enemy and his strategic plan of deception.
In the Bible, Jesus is called the Truth. And John 8:32 says that when we know the truth (Jesus), we will be set free. When our lips utter false words, even white lies, we are agreeing with the enemy, saying, “This person is not worthy of meeting Jesus through me; they are only worthy of bondage.”
Remember, our words create reality in the spiritual realm. Are your words creating shackles or the keys that unlock them?
4. Prayers that Should be Secret
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes… And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-11,18)
This might seem counterintuitive, because praying out loud is an amazing way to not only bring life and build up other but also to conduct warfare against the enemy. However, not all prayers should be prayed out loud.
Going back to what I said earlier, the enemy cannot read our thoughts, only God can, but the enemy can hear our spoken words. Sometimes, it is best not to let the enemy know what we are praying, whether it’s a struggle we are facing, our deepest desires, or fears and worries.
The Bible makes it very clear: we are at war with the enemy, and God is our Commander in Chief. The enemy already knows our weaknesses better than we do. Let’s not give him an advantage by letting him in on our strategic meetings with God.
5. Judgment, 6. Complaints, 7. Sarcasm, 8. Coarse Jokes, 9. Gossip, and 10. Insults
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-27)
God clearly cares what comes out of our mouths. He gave us the power of spoken language, and with that power comes responsibility. Matthew 15:11 says that it is what comes out of our mouths that defiles us and makes us unclean before the eyes of God.
Not only do our words create reality in the spiritual realm, but the Bible indicates that our words live on for eternity.
With every word we speak, we are writing the story of our lives. What kind of story will God read back to you when you face Him one day? What will be the account of your life?
My Prayer of Blessing for You
With the power you hold, being made in the image of God, may every word that exits your lips be one of praise and blessing, a word that builds up and creates life, a word of which it can always be said, “It is good!”
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