The atmosphere in the room changed! At one time, I was a member of a world-wide denominational church which had a large women’s organization. Most of the women in our 2,500 member congregation were members of the women’s group. The Lord had been teaching me the difference between simply discerning things and changing them. He told me I was not to be a thermometer which simply detected and reported the temperature (spiritual climate) of a person or place. He continued by explaining I was to be a thermostat that regulated or changed the temperature (spiritual climate) around me. I realized the Lord had given me authority to change things through prayer and declarations and that same authority is for all believers.
Our women’s group was having a banquet with our husbands so the fellowship hall was filled with people. My husband was unable to attend and I was sitting at a table of couples and one or two other women who did not have their husbands with them. The discussion during dinner was controlled by one of the other women there who began to complain about her absent husband. She listed his “deficiencies” and expounded upon the things about him that offended her. Her words created an unwelcoming and unhealthy environment, especially because there were several men at the table. They seemed to identify with her complaints. The countenance on their faces began to sink as their attention became silently fixed upon their plates instead of looking at others around the table. They were feeling the condemnation she was expressing about her husband, who was not there.
The Lord spoke to me, “Change the atmosphere”! I thought, “How can I do that, Lord”? “What can I say or do to change the atmosphere?” He said to me, “If you praise your husband, it will break that spirit of condemnation.” I was able to quickly enter into the conversation and began to list the areas where I had no expertise at all, but my husband was a superstar. I mentioned his incredible ability to pay our bills on time and balance the checkbook. I went on to say his gift might not be dressing the children for church like me, but he surely kept our automobiles running well and regularly cleaned inside and out. As I began to praise my husband, the faces of the men at the table lifted and their eyes brightened. Their body language was evidence they no longer felt condemnation. The negative darkness dissipated and everyone chimed in with their affirmation toward their husbands as smiles returned on all their faces.
Through that experience, the Lord gave me a great revelation and understanding of the power of our words. I could see the authority we have as believers, to change the atmosphere where we are, simply by speaking in the opposite spirit. The woman was obviously unhappy and bitter about her marriage and life. Her words were void of hope and joy, gratefulness and thankfulness. They were filled with judgement, condemnation and death. The enemy uses our negative words to work his destruction in our families, friendships, churches and world, because he knows our words have power. I have watched several marriages fall apart over the years. One of the telltale signs of the broken relationship was one or both partners would complain about the other publically. I pray my actions encouraged that woman to remember the good things about her husband and to stop criticizing him, especially in public.
We have all been on the receiving end of harsh, bitter, and toxic words someone spoke to us, and therefore know exactly how destructive they can be. Some of us may still be trying to gain victory over such condemning words. I do not doubt we all, at one time or another, have been guilty of speaking words of “death” over someone else without realizing the power and authority of our mouth! The Lord gave us this ability to speak life or death but many of us have not understood the true power of our words. When we do, we can change the atmosphere around us and turn negative, hopeless situations into ones of victory, peace and joy!
Proverbs 18:21-22 instruct us, “A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequences of his words. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” In this passage, we see that we frame our world by our words as our Creator framed the world by His!
Jesus expounded upon this concept in Matthew 12:36-37. “But I tell you, on the day of judgement people will have to give an accounting for every careless or useless word they speak. For by your words [reflecting your spiritual condition] you will be justified and acquitted of the guilt of sin; and by your words [rejecting Me] you will be condemned and sentenced.” Verse 34b states, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
Let me stop here and assure you that this word is not meant to condemn, for I too, have been guilty of speaking the wrong words many times and still can. This word is for encouragement! We cannot change what we do not know or understand. We cannot expect different results if we continue on the same broken path. I am continuing to grow in this as I write!
James, the brother of Jesus wrote an entire chapter on this subject in James Chapter 3. “But no one can tame the human tongue; it is a restless evil [undisciplined, unstable], full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts].” James 3:8-10. There is no denying our words have the power of life and death.
I believe disappointment, fear, anger and offense are major motivators of our harsh words. Disappointments will come and so will offense but how we handle them will determine our future outcome. Fear and anger are emotions that fuel the temptation to lash out at others. When challenges come our way, we will either respond in faith or in unbelief. Our words will speak life or death, blessing or cursing. They will frame our outcome. Is it possible that we are currently living in the situation our words created? When a crisis occurs, what is our immediate response? If someone hurts us, what do we say and do about it? Are our words ones of life and faith or doom, gloom, and death? If death is our answer, we can change by repenting to the Lord and learning how to respond properly to negative situations and circumstances.
Our words come from our heart, our innermost being which is the seat of our belief system. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. A believer’s mind, will and emotions are to be submitted or subject to the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we walk by faith, words that are full of faith will pour out of our mouth in times of crisis. We become filled with faith by daily reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God. It will not come solely by a once a week 30 minute sermon at church. Every day we are confronted by the world because we live in the world, however, we are not to be conformed to the ways of the world! We are to be transformed by the washing or cleansing work of the Word of God. The Lord instructed the Israelites to reflect on His Word every day, teach it to their children, and talk about it with others. They were to symbolically put it on their foreheads and wrists as a reminder they needed to hide the Word of God in their hearts by meditating on it continually.
David wrote in Psalm 119:11-16, “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Blessed and reverently praised are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and [thoughtfully] regard Your ways [the path established by Your precepts]. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” Psalm 119:11-16. Those who hide the Word of God in their hearts will speak forth words of faith, hope and love in a time of crisis, which will bring forth life even amid destruction. Those who declare hopelessness, death and destruction curse their future and inadvertently blame God.
Psalm 1 speaks of the benefits of walking in the ways of God. It begins with a promise, “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the LORD. And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.”
When we speak words of faith and truth, the power of God will back them up. When we hide the Word of God in our hearts, we fill our innermost being with life and our words will create life! When we trust in the Lord and all His promises, we will walk in prosperity, the favor of God, hope and victory. God created us to walk in dominion. He gave us the ability to speak words which produce either life or death. It is good to know that our words are powerful so that we can speak words of Life!