Try right click.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Power of the Tongue

This week I really want to focus on the tongue. I was sharing with a friend -something God had shown me, and was reminded that I really need to work on this myself.

In fact, God has opened my ears to hear what I have been saying, lately. Many times we say things out loud. Perhaps we believe that speaking down about ourselves is humble.
But most of it is just plain destructive. (And go opposite of the goals and plan that God has for us.)

So many times I hear myself saying things like: "I'm just not good at that. I am so forgetful, I can't keep up with all the daily demands, I am so tired." This is one I know I say several times a day. Many times I tell my children "I am sick and tired of....." (You fill in the blank.) But you know what I am confessing over myself?

I am sick, tired, forgetful, unable, uncompetent, etc. Now I am not trying to overspiritualize these matters. I know that simply making a statement doesn't make it a fact. (But if you keep on saying things like this over and over, soon part of you starts believing it.)

I would say the latest thing the Lord has shown about my mouth really has to do with things I am very unhappy with regarding the direction our government has taken.
Watching the news upsets me, which makes me say negative things about the circumstances. (Then before long I am feeling doom and gloom over it all.)

But you know what? God is still God and he says I am blessed, and that things work together for my good. (And that despite the governments that rule the world, I am His and He is faithful in regards to my life. )

Here are a few scriptures I read over today. I hope to meditate on a few each day this week, and also share these with my children. Many times I hear them speaking to one another in unwholesome words.

I used to have a saying "If you can't use your mouth to bless someone then remain silent." (I need to take my own advice.)

The following scriptures were taken from the New King James translation.

Provbers 12:18
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles
. (Wow this one is really good, or bad if we can't learn to guard our tongues.) I know that through God's grace we can
learn do discipline our tongues. But it takes prayer and practice.

and this verse in James 3 is worth reading in a few different translations.

James 3

The Untamable Tongue
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed,[a] we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Articles for further reading.

(If you scroll down in this article there is a point well taken here. I love the way this is brought out.) There is enough in this article for an extensive study on the subject.

So that you can fully grasp both sides of this coin, I will first bullet point all of the positive things that are in the above verses and then I will bullet point all of the negative things. Here is the positive side of the coin:

The tongue of the wise promotes health
The truthful lip shall be established forever
A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth
Let your speech always be with grace and seasoned with salt
The mouth of the righteous is a well of life
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life
Pleasant words are sweetness to the soul and health to the bones
A good word can make someone's heart glad
A soft answer turns away wrath
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly
He who guards his mouth preserves his life
He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble

When you read all of these key phrases one right after the other, you can really start to see how powerful of a thing it really is if you can learn how to properly express yourself to other people in this life. Notice in 3 of the middle bullet points - that someone who can speak to others in a righteous and godly manner will be like a well of life, a flowing brook and a tree of life to that person.

Learning to Speak life over ourselves.