Wednesday, August 16, 2017

“The Power of the Tongue"

"The Power of the Tongue"

    As created by one referred to in Scripture as "The Word," we would expect that our speech and utterance would greatly influence the course of our lives (John 1:1).  Over and over in the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells us that it does.

   "The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright… A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth… Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 15:2; 23; 18:21).

   In the New Testament, James confirms the controlling influence of the tongue.  "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body" (James 3:2).  How we speak about life - beginning with relationship to God, and then proceeding to all things - determines the course of our existence.  Our salvation involves utterance - "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus… thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).   We then live the Christian life in the light of our Lord's redeeming grace, which leads to corresponding words - "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so" (Psalm 107:2).  Little wonder that the Apostle Paul requested prayer for himself regarding utterance, and the Psalmist besought the Lord to "set a watch before my mouth, keep the door of my lips" (Ephesians 6:19; Psalm 141:3).

    Let us make this personal and pertinent.  Are there matters of life about which we do not speak in terms of God's Truth as revealed in Scripture?  This especially involves challenges, problems, difficulties, and pains.  The default position of our flesh leads us to complaint or expressions of bewilderment and even despair.  If we allow such utterance to characterize our speech, we first betray our inner unbelief.  "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34).  We then chart a course of joylessness and lack of peace as "the power of the tongue" leads to death rather than life.  "I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed" (Proverbs 77:3).   Most importantly, we dishonor our Lord and falsely portray His involved presence and working on our behalf in all things.  Certainly we can talk about the challenges of life.  Before we do so, however, we must seek our Lord and His grace in order to ensure that we speak from the foundation of His Truth and our chosen confidence to believe He really does "work all things together for good to them that love Him" (Romans 8:28).

    Throughout Scripture, the recurrent theme of how and what we speak calls us to the realization that words are central to our existence.  What we say both determines and reflects our experience of life.  This is just as we would expect in light of The Word who made us and sustains our being.  No greater challenge confronts us, and no aspect of our walk with the Lord more requires the leading and enabling of His Spirit.  We cannot independently control our own verbal capacity - "the tongue can no man tame" (James 3:8).  We can, however, consistently consider and commune with our Heavenly Father regarding this vital aspect of our existence.  The recurrent Biblical theme regarding words beckons us to the recurrent prayerful theme of often seeking God's grace and control of our tongue.  Nothing in our walk with Him is more important, and nothing will more honor Him as He empowers us to speak in a manner that reflects His reality, presence, and involvement in all things, and in our hearts and lives.

"The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD."
(Proverbs 16:1)
"The tongue of the wise is health."
(Proverbs 12:18)

Weekly Memory Verse 
   "The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth."
(Psalm 145:18)

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