Sometimes I have days when it feels like everything I say is wrong. On those days, it seems like every word that I speak starts a fight or makes me look like an idiot, a terrible person, or both, or even worse. It’s like when I eat too many sugary foods and I get a canker sore on the inside of my lip. Inevitably, I bite the swollen part of my lip and then it swells even more, and I chomp down on it at least one or two more times before it heals. The whole ordeal could have been avoided if I just focused on feeding myself foods that were actually nutritious and not loaded with useless sugar. Instead of eating empty calories that make me fat and cause me pain, I can choose to make wise choices about what I put into my body. When it comes to what we say, what we feed our spirit, and how our words affect our life, the same is true.
Our Choices In “Food”
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Spiritual food and what we fill ourselves with. The last message that I posted covered that quite a bit. Still, it is a critical component in what comes out of our mouths through the course of our day.
When you become a Christian, you receive a new nature, but you can choose to continue to treasure worldly things and fill your heart with things that are not godly. Perhaps worse than what you choose to fill it with is what you don’t fill it with. If you don’t spend time being filled with God’s word for your life, there will be a void in your heart. Without fail, when we feel a void in our hearts, we scramble to fill it with something. Matthew 12 says that the mouth speaks out of what the heart is filled with. What is your heart filled with?
We Are At War. Choose Your Weapons Wisely.
When I saw the movie The Matrix for the first time, it resonated with me. Some part of me thought, ‘Yes, I feel like this world just isn’t real sometimes.’ I think that part of that is because we only see with our physical eyes part of what is going on around us. We’re usually blind to what motivates people to do and say the things that they do. We don’t know what is influencing them, and we can see the spiritual forces that are trying to influence us.
There’s kind of a lot there in those verses in Ephesians 6. It doesn’t just say, ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the Devil.’ It lists off a whole list types of evil forces, including but not limited to the Devil, that we struggle against. It also speaks of “the day of evil”. Depending upon which translation of the Bible you read, it can read differently, but the commentaries tend to consider this more of any time that Satan and his armies attack us. It’s not just the concept of Armageddon.
When we meet hardship of any kind, whether it’s a big, life-changing event like the death of a loved one, or a reoccurring issue that we deal with like lack of sleep or allergies and asthma, we can’t see it, but there are dark forces warring against our spirit in those moments, and they would love nothing more than for us to fight with them rather than against them.
“But Dude, I’m Not Evil”
I know, you might say, “Why would I fight with the forces of evil if they’re attacking me?”
We regularly come into agreement with the enemy with our words, and we don’t even realize it. When we feel discouraged and say things like, “I don’t know if I can do this,” we’re basically saying, “Nice work on that discouragement there, Enemy, hit me with another dose.”
Of course, we feel the way that we feel. It doesn’t make sense for us to walk around denying how we feel, but we have to be careful that, while expressing how we’re feeling, we don’t give the Enemy more ammunition by coming into agreement with the influences of evil.
If our agreement means so much to God, we would be fools to think that our agreement with the forces of evil has no significance. We need to resist the devil (James 4:7).
Words Have Spiritual Power
It’s so hard to not be annoyed with this concept. When we walk into a room that was clean 5 minutes ago and now looks as though a tornado hit because of our kids, it has a tendency to yank us out of thinking with Kingdom-values and right into the natural realm. In the heat of that moment and in countless other scenarios, our words have power, but we don’t always realize it until it’s too late.
It’s like those scenes in movies and television shows when the scene is filled with actors playing actors, filming a movie. An actor pulls out a gun and fires, and the other actor drops to the ground dead- really dead. The actors and crew continue the scene, not realizing that the stage gun filled with blanks was replaced with a real weapon with real bullets. They don’t realize until they stop rolling that their co-star has been gunned down for real.
We don’t often realize the consequences of our words. In fact, until we reach our judgment day, we may never fully comprehend the ramifications of what we said in life.
Matthew 12 continues after verse 35 with, “(36) But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. (37) “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” That’s Jesus speaking again.
Now, it’s important to note that as believers in Jesus, we are living in a grace (more on that) that the Pharisees didn’t yet have access to, and the ultimate judgment will be whether or not we know Jesus, but this scripture tells us that our words carry a lot of weight.
You may have heard of taking thoughts captive before, and I’d love to write an entire message about it sometime, but as it pertains to words, it’s actually pretty simple.
What is a word before it is spoken? It’s a thought, right? In Matthew 12, Jesus warns against people speaking carelessly. We need to slow our mouths down and guard against careless words. It’s a simple concept, but terribly difficult.
James 3 says that no one can tame the tongue, so doesn’t that mean that trying to guard against careless words is a futile effort? Well, 2 Corinthians 10 doesn’t say take every thought captive and to make it obedient to us. It says to make it obedient to Christ.
Warriors Need Food To Fuel Their Weapons
If soldiers don’t have food to eat, they don’t have the energy to fight. If we don’t regularly spend time with God and condition our hearts to rely on God’s strength rather than our own, then we will never be able to stop saying stupid stuff.
We can’t make our thoughts and words obedient to Christ if we don’t have a relationship with him. It’s like a new bride tossing the bouquet. Traditionally, she turns her back and tosses it over her shoulder. She has no idea who’s going to catch it. Compare that to a professional baseball pitcher. He spends hours practicing with his catcher until they fall into a rhythm so that when the big game comes, he can direct his pitches with pricision.
Waging War With Our Tongues
God gave us our mouths. This is important. God gave us the ability to speak, and because we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our words can have the power of Jesus’ words.
A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth;
and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
(21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. We’ve talked a lot about the death part. Now let’s look at the life part. Our words can speak the very life of God into the heart of people around us if we’re courageous enough to speak them.
It feels weird to open our mouths and speak lovingly to people for no reason other than that the Spirit is nudging us to do so, but He does nudge us like this, all the time. We’re just usually too embarrassed to be bold enough to act on the Spirit’s moving. When we do, we prepare the way for the Lord to work miracles in people’s lives.
(2) “Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.”
Jerusalem for us in this context is God’s people. Everyone on this planet has been grafted into the vine of God’s people (Jews) by the death of Jesus. God still wants us to speak kindly to them and to spread the good news that their sins have been forgiven!
(3) A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
(4) “Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
(5) Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Isaiah was prophesying about John the Baptist here, and look what John is doing: using his voice! Then God’s words reveal his glory. God can speak through us!
(6) A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
Sound familiar? God nudges us all the time, saying things like, “Go talk to that person over there,” and we do a spiritual *gulp* and think, “What should I say?” Ultimately, our obedience is all that matters. The Holy Spirit will give us words to speak (Matthew 10:19-20).
(8) The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
(9) Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
We are commanded to lift our voices mightily. When we think of a Christian’s mouth, we should neither think of a person with their hands over their mouth nor a person who is shouting hurtful, condemning things at people in the street.
As of this writing, it is just weeks before the presidential election in the United States. In this season, are people hearing God’s words come out of your mouth, or are they hearing political rhetoric? Are they kind words of love, building people up? Or are they evil words full of deadly poison? Consider this proverb from the Bible…
We are called, not to be silent people, but to be people who courageously proclaim the love of God and how Jesus has changed our lives. We are at war, but it should not be with each other. Choose to feed yourself large helpings of the goodness of God, and speak words that bring about unity with your brothers and sisters in your home, in your city, across your Nation, and across the word…err, World.