Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
This is a hard chapter to just choose one verse to focus on. It is jam-packed with so many good verses, but the entire chapter is mostly about the words we speak. The verse I choose for today is verse 21. It was one of those eye-opening, hard to believe moments the first time it became real to me. Yet I had passed over it for years whenever I read this chapter, never considering the depth of it. So, what does it mean? Death and life are in the power of the tongue? Seems pretty simple, but as we break it down it will become even clearer. The tongue obviously is our words. (It is not talking about the muscle that moves around in our mouth). Power means that our words carry the ability and strength to accomplish what we speak. Death and Life mean that our words are capable of promoting and even bringing about death or life. Hmm, what about that?
The second part of the verse reminds me of Galatians 6:7 that says we will reap what we sow. Yikes! So whatever we speak has the power to come back on us. Makes me want to be a bit more careful about my words. It is bad enough that I could be speaking death over another person when I speak, but I certainly don’t want it to come back on myself.
So, what does it look like when speaking life or death? Simply put, any words that are not building up, edifying or encouraging are not life words. Even to repeat a matter that is negative, such as the news for example, is taking the side with death or life stealing words. Think about it, when someone speaks to you negatively, if make you feel discouraged and even beaten down. In contrast when someone speaks positively, you feel upbeat and encouraged, ready to take life on! What it all boils down to is that negative words such as criticizing, complaining and condemning are words that promote death where positive encouraging words bring life. This is not superstition or folklore; this is the Bible! The Holy Word of God!
Today I want to encourage you to consider your words. What words are you speaking? Life or Death? Consider as you read this chapter the wisdom of what you are speaking. Start making a conscience effort in your daily life to speak life words always. Refuse to give voice to the enemy by speaking the negative talk that lines up with the worlds way of thinking and talking. Instead speak the words that bring life and line up with God and His ways and Word!
Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 18