The Bible tells us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. What does that mean, do our words really carry that much weight, and why are our words so important?

Today we will take a deep dive into the Word of God to see just how powerful the tongue is and the true weight that our words carry not only for us, but for those around us.

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18: 21

Life and Death:

The Spoken Word

Proverbs 18: 21 tells us that both life and death are in the Power of the Tongue. The truth is, the words we say often play a greater role than we realize. Our words can uplift and encourage others and even ourselves, but, on the other hand, our words can burn bridges and light the fires of anger, sadness, and depression.

To begin to grasp just how powerful the spoken word is, we need to go back to the beginning.

In the Beginning

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”

Genesis 1: 1-3

In the book of Genesis chapter one, we read that God spoke. As He created the heavens and the earth, God spoke things into being with the power of his voice. When God said “let there be light”, there was light, and when God said “let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”, the oceans and the land were created.

The whole world and everything in it was created by the spoken word of the Almighty God. All of the oceans and seas, all of the islands and lands, all of the fish of the sea and land animals, and even mankind was spoken into creation.

Speak Life

Through reading the creation story, we see that from the very beginning of time as we know it, words held power; and they still do.

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”

Matthew 15: 18

The Bible tells us that what we say actually comes from our hearts.

So, if our hearts are truly filled with joy, then the words we speak will be joyful, but if our hearts are filled with negativity and anger, then our words will be negative and hurtful. This is one of the reasons that we should be careful with what we say. Not only do our words reveal the intentions of our hearts, but they can also shape them.

Just as God had the power to speak the creative word to an infinitesimally smaller degree, our words also have creative power.

The words that we speak and the words that we listen to on a daily basis play a big role in our mindset and our attitude. (Speaking of speaking life, below is a link to my favorite worship song about Speaking Life)

  • Speak Life – by TobyMac – Listen HERE!

There is already so much negativity and chaos in the world around us; the devil is trying his hardest to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our souls.

When we speak, we should be careful with the words we say because our words hold power. When we speak life, life is given, but when we speak death, life is extinguished.

This is what the Bible means when it says that the power of life and death are in the tongue.

This is the Power of the Tongue!

The Tongue is Like Fire

“5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet if boast of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

James 3: 5-8

James says that the tongue is like a fire that is not easily tamed by man. While men have tamed many of the creatures of the earth, it is so hard for us to control our tongues.

A fire is something that can be quite useful if it is handled properly. For example, fire can be used to cook, to sanitize, to boil water, or to stay warm in the cold.

Have you ever gone camping? While camping, one of the best ways to stay warm or cook your dinner is to build a campfire.

First, you must find a suitable place, and then you need to build a boundary or a barrier to contain the fire. If you fail to make a good enough barrier, you run the risk of the fire spreading and catching the whole forest on fire.

By creating a good barrier of stones or rocks around the campfire, you can harness the power of the flames for something useful.

Just as you must set a boundary around the campfire to prevent it from spreading and causing great devastation and death, the same is true with our tongues; we all must set boundaries for ourselves, choosing never to say things that will hurt others or harm their reputations.

What Do Our Words Leave Behind?

Like Nails in the Fence

“There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

On the first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him back to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. That fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just the holes in this fence. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will still be there.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.”, Unknown Author.

This story is a great illustration of the Power of the Tongue.

We have all heard the phrase, “Like carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders,”, but our words carry a weight all of their own.

What will your words leave behind? Will they leave holes in the fence?

With Our Mouths We Confess Unto Salvation

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Romans 10: 9-11

We have already seen that our words have great consequences and that, once spoken, the impact remains long after the sound of our voice has faded.

The Bible makes it quite clear the power of the tongue. In Romans, Paul writes that it is with our mouths that we must confess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul knew that the true intentions of the heart are revealed through our spoken words. Paul says, “with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

At the beginning of this article I posed the question: “Why are our words so important?” If you have read this far, then there is no doubt of the importance of words.

In fact, this is so important the Bible says, if we are ashamed of Christ before men, then Jesus will be ashamed of us.

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9: 26

The spoken word is so important to God that our very salvation through Christ is dependent on a genuine belief in who Jesus Christ is and a willingness to boldly confess him before men with our mouths.

This is the Power of the Tongue.

The Takeaway:

  1. The power of both life and death are held in the tongue.
  2. Our words carry a weight heavier than we realize.
  3. The spoken word is so important that even our salvation depends on whether we are willing the proclaim Christ with our tongue.

What We Can Do:

  1. Be careful not to say things that tear others down.
  2. Refrain from speaking negative things about ourselves and others.
  3. Set boundaries in our hearts that guard against negativity through reading the Word of God and Prayer.
  4. Remember the long-lasting effects of our words.
  5. Pray for God to help us Speak Life.

Join Me in a Short Prayer

Lord God in Heaven, help us to truly realize the power that our words have and, precious Lord, please help guard our hearts and minds from the negativity that breeds unkind or hurtful talk.

Lord, help us to dwell on the good things, those things which are true, honorable, righteous, pure, lovely, excellent, and worthy of Your praise!

Lord, we don’t want to be the reason that our brother or sister is burdened with a heavy load of care; we want to be the one who can help them shoulder their burdens.

Please forgive us for the wicked words that we say and help us to Speak Life!

Lord, thank you for the Word of God which shows us the true Power of the Tongue and thank you, Oh Lord, for your willingness to forgive!

In the most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus Christ, Matt. 12-36&37

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