“…Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come….” Luke 7:7a-8 (NLT)
Can you imagine having the authority to change the world and not using it? What about having the authority to change your own life? Of course all of us say that we would use this authority, if we had it. Well, the truth is we do have authority – the power to influence thought, opinion or behavior – in the form of our tongue. With this power, we can change our lives, our communities and our world. But, unfortunately, we do not always use it as we should. It is time for us to start wielding the God-given authority that is found in our tongue to make positive life-altering changes in and around us.
In the passage quoted above from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus marveled at the soldier’s faith because he understood authority. The man understood that Jesus did not have to go to a person to heal them, He needed to only speak a word and by His authority, what He spoke would come to pass. God has given you and I the authority to speak things into existence in the same way. This is not magic or wishful thinking. We literally have the power to create and it is activated by our faith in Jesus Christ. When we speak according to the authority that we have been given, we can change our lives and our realities. Our tongues are a great weapon.
All too often however, instead of creating what we want, we are killing ourselves and aborting our dreams, simply through what we say day in and day out. We say things like: “I can’t do it.” “I can’t afford it.” “I don’t think it will work.” “I’m tired.” “I give up.” “I don’t have time.” “I don’t know.” “I’m over it.” We make these statements without fully realizing that each time we speak them, we are creating our reality. Then, we are surprised when – it doesn’t work, when we cannot do it, and when we just can’t afford it – we get exactly what we spoke. It is time for us to be more cautious and conscious about how we use the power of our tongue. And, let me be clear. I am not advocating some name it and claim it theology, where God is our spiritual genie who grants us our wishes. The truth is that in God’s sovereignty, God can do (or not do) whatever God pleases. Nevertheless, it is critical that we are very aware of how we are using the authority of our tongue because, while we may not get every desire that we request, we will certainly have to give an account for how and what we speak. “And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak. Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37 (TLB)
For the next seven days, be more careful to use your words for good, not evil; and for creation, not destruction. Use your authority to do the following:
Heal – The bible is replete with statements that establish that death and life, healing and wounding, reside in the power of the tongue. The writer of Proverbs says “Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing.” 12:18 (GW) And, again “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 (NIV) There are innumerable people around us each day dealing with some form of sickness – mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual – let us look for opportunities to speak life to them and over their circumstances. Even if it is a quiet prayer, lift it up, in Jesus’ name. You may be the only person asking God to see that person and attend to their needs. God may bring healing through your faithful and attentive words. (See James 5:14-15)
Give Hope – When we are led by the Spirit of God we can speak words of encouragement and hope to those who are suffering and in despair. Life can deal us some crippling, unfair, and even unwarranted blows. We do not have to look far to find someone who has had the wind knocked out of them by a death, financial crises, sickness, broken relationship or other set back. People don’t necessarily need us to fix their problem or give them a super-spiritual retort which makes them feel worse for having shared their pain. They need to know that they are seen and heard; to be convinced that they have not been forgotten by God or their fellow man. In fact, oftentimes the best way that we can express hope is by simply being a listening ear. Whether through words or through our presence, let us ask God to use us to renew, restore and reconnect. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (NRSV)
Honor – Read the comment section of almost any blog or newspaper article and you will find that the idea of honoring others with our words is a lost art. Whether it is the presumed anonymity, the passion for our cause or the harshness of society, too many of us seem to only be concerned with being heard and not with the attitude, tone, and language with which we speak. This should not be. We need to reclaim words of honor. Let’s not wait for someone to die or experience a tragedy to speak well of them. Sure, some folks do not deserve our honor. Sometimes, we don’t either. But for the grace of God there go us all. Imagine however, if we spoke what we wanted to see instead of pointing out the failures and mistakes that are readily seen. Imagine if we drew potential from deep inside of others by the power of our words. Just imagine. “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” Ephesians 4:29 (NCV)