Words are powerful. We’ve all been impacted by words- sometimes positively; sometimes negatively.
When words are used to wrongly accuse another’s motives or actions, obscure the truth (lie), retaliate harshly to a person’s poor choice of words or actions, destroy another’s feelings of self-worth, and strike quickly without warning, catastrophic damage is done. When words are used in any of these ways, they are (1) not a gift and (2) grievous to the Lord.
As I was thinking of verbs to turn the letters of “WORDS” into an acronym, “strike” came to me by thinking on a chapter in James when he talks about taming this “restless evil full of deadly poison.”
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”(James 3:3-10, ESV).
However, when words are used the way God intended them to be used, they bring intimacy to our relationship with the Lord, whispering our deepest prayers to the One who hears everything. They offer praise to our King through written words, spoken words, and lyrical words. They restore relationships when spoken humbly and truthfully from a heart filled with grace. They define and describe the gifts the Lord has given for us to enjoy on this earth, all the while describing who He is and His love for us. They share hope of glory by telling not only the story of Christmas, but also the
story of Easter. He has won the battle and because of this, we can have hope for an eternity with Him.
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11, NIV)
Our words should seek to glorify Him and through that, they are guaranteed to be gifts to those who receive them. May this last WORDS acronym serve as a quick reminder for us all:
Words originate in our hearts. Know this: We might be able to stuff feelings down to the pit of our hearts, however, they will surface. Feelings that we have chosen not to deal with are at risk of coming out sideways and abruptly. Take it to the Lord and He will do the necessary work to mend.
“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45, NLT)
Words require self-control. Our spirit is for us and our flesh is against us. Battle for the gift of words by taking control of your tongue. Don’t let your tongue do any of the actions listed in the first “WORDS” acronym. It is only through self-control that our words can be gifts to others.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal. 5:22-23, NLT)
Words display Christ. Use your words to glorify Him, showcase Him, and point others towards Him.
Words speak truth in love. Even if our words are true and right, when they are not spoken in love, they run the strong risk of being received incorrectly. Only words spoken in love can be gifts.
In training our girls, when it comes to words, we often mention these questions, in this order: (1) Is what you have to say true? (2) Is what you have to say necessary? (3) Is what you have to say going to be helpful to the other person? (4) Are you speaking it a loving way? If at any point through these series of questions, the answer is no, then it is a clear indicator to lock our lips shut (or put the pen down if we’re putting our words on paper).
Let’s use our words today (and every day) in such a way that they are truly gifts to those around us. Left to our own strength, we stand no chance, however, with the help of Jesus Christ, who is The Word of life (1 John 1), we can overcome this restless evil, full of deadly poison and brilliantly showcase Him to the world around. He gave us words so that we could bring Him glory. And when it seems impossible, remember: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Phil. 4:13, NKJV)