Much of what we are living today we were speaking yesterday. Of course, not everything in one's future is determined by his words. However, in real ways, our words are seeds that bloom in future hopes and fears; they are the trailblazers of our future, the pioneers of our tomorrows.
Still, most of us are too casual, or ignorant, about the weightiness of our words. Recall: it was Jesus Himself who warned, "For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." He continued, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12:36-37).
We will each stand before God and give an account for our words. We actually will be justified or condemned by the things we uttered in life. In truth, idle words create idols, false realities and hollow goals, to which we bow down and serve.
The Kernel of Life or Death
There is a weightiness to words, a spiritual substance within our words, and that substance has the power to impact those who receive them. Jesus said His words were "spirit and [they] are life" (John 6:63). The substance in Christ's words is eternal life, and believing His words transforms us.
So also our words can contain either life or, conversely, they can contain death. If I wrote a string of profanities, blasphemies and curses, would not the vileness of such words, at least temporarily, degrade your soul with their toxic affect? Our words, manipulated by hell, can actually become weapons the enemy uses to destroy us and wound others, as Job challenged his so-called friends: "To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit was expressed through you?" (Job 26:4, NASB).
When we slander or gossip, we must ask ourselves: Whose spirit is being expressed through us? You see, Satan seeks to use our words against us. With our words, we criticize but do not pray; we judge without showing mercy. These things immediately affect our future. Satan knows that if he can capture our tongues, he can capture our future. As it is written: "The tongue ... sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell" (James 3:2-6).
The devil can take our careless, insensitive words and literally crush people with them. Although a word has no measurable mass, it can become an unbearable burden on a person's soul, especially a harsh word spoken in anger. It can actually destroy another's life.
Still think words are unimportant? A definite aspect of our salvation unfolds when we "confess with [our] mouth Jesus as Lord" (Rom. 10:9). Our confession takes salvation out of the vague, provisional state and makes it a distinct, effective dimension of our life. Our confession of faith in all things helps chart our lives in a Godward direction.
Prayer itself is the expansion of the heart toward God through words, and when you pray according to the will of God, your words begin to shape your future in God.
Combining Spiritual Thoughts with Spiritual Words
"Now we have received ... the Spirit Who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words (1 Cor. 2:12-13).
As we combine spiritual thoughts with spiritual words, the things freely given us by God begin to manifest in our lives. This is not to say that merely repeating words has power, as if by magic. No. However, the Bible calls us to combine "spiritual thoughts" with "spiritual words," enabling new dimensions to open in our relationship with God.
Becoming Like Christ, the Word
The church is beginning to realize its singular purpose is to be like Christ. To be like Jesus, however, is to be purified in both heart and speech. James said that "if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man" (James 3:2). Our words, therefore, are a measure of our maturity.
Or consider Isaiah. When this mighty prophet saw the Lord, he was immediately convicted concerning his words. Isaiah said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). Taking a burning coal from the altar, the first thing the Lord cleansed was Isaiah's speech.
Likewise, when we truly see Jesus, our words will also be brought under the burning coal of divine conviction; a process of cleansing will begin. Thus, Peter says, "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God" (1 Peter 4:11).
It is an honor to be anointed to speak a timely word; it is a greater honor to speak a timeless message. Christ spoke both. If we were, this day, required to stand before God, would our words justify us or condemn us? Would we be honored for speaking the utterances of God?
Lord, put a guard over my heart that I might not sin with my mouth. Master, purify me that my words might be the expression of Your heart. Help me to crucify my instinct to talk. May I serve You as one entrusted to speak, as it were, the utterances of God.
About the author: Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. In June 2009, he retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries and is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word. To read more teachings by Francis or to learn more about his ministry, go to www.frangipane.org.