Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
The robins proclaim both their own and spring's arrival through song, ending the winter's silence with their robust and distinctive singing: a cheery, rolling trill. It was a robin's loud, persistent, and forceful chirp that caught my ear this morning and got me thinking. Their songs are a form of communication. The robin uses his song to establish and defend his territory.
People use words to defend themselves. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." Years ago, this old children's rhyme was often chanted back at the bullies who were using hurtful words as weapons. In essence, the victims were defending themselves with their words by saying, "Go ahead and say whatever you will. Those names won't hurt me!" Children had discovered and harnessed the power of words for both good and evil.
Proverbs 18:21 – The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (NIV)
Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NIV)
Whether we're hit by sticks and stones, weapons or words, the end result is injury, pain, and sometimes death. Words carry the power to hurt or heal, discourage or inspire, proclaim victory or defeat. God's Word tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. He instructs us to put on our spiritual armour, because the words that we speak are being used either for or against us, here and in the spiritual realm. For guidance and instruction on choosing words that will heal and inspire, we have access to God's Word on the pages of the Bible. The wise King Solomon wrote:
Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body. (NIV 2011)
What are our words doing? Do they bring victory or defeat? We should be carefully choosing and using our words to encourage, inspire, comfort, and support all those who hear them.
1 John 2:5-6 – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (NKJV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and creating us in Your image. Thank You for demonstrating the creative power that our words wield. Thank You for leaving us the Bible, Your Spirit-filled Word of instruction, which is alive and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. As we come to recognize the power and effect of the words we speak, help us choose and use those words wisely. Help us walk as Jesus walked. In His precious name, we pray. Amen.