Thursday, December 23, 2010
Words, Words, Words
"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.' Isaiah 55:11
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" Ephesians 6:17
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
I was thinking about this last night as I fell asleep. I was thinking about a few of these verses above, and thinking about the power of simple words. I was thinking about the last few days and how I was trying very carefully to watch what I said. A few nights ago Zander got pretty sick at bedtime, and then the whole next day he was definitely down for the count. One of my first instincts, and normal behavior was to tell people that Zander was really sick, and could they pray that he get over it before Christmas. But do you know what? I didn't, because I didn't want my words to acknowledge the fact that Zander was not whole and healthy and walking in the perfection of Christ. I didn't mention a word to anyone outside of our home that Zander wasn't well until he was on the mend. And then a friend shared with me Psalm 91 when I jokingly mentioned that I hoped what Zander had wasn't the plague, because I didn't want to spend Christmas week dealing with vomiting family members.
I was reminded why I didn't want to say anything in the first place about Zander being sick. Because the truth is that sickness is not of Heaven, and as I pray things and say things like "on earth as it is in heaven" I am proclaiming that my home and my family is sickness free. And just like that I forgot myself for just a brief second and mentioned my concern about the rest of the family getting sick. Why did I do that? Because it is the normal everyday thing to do. I can go on facebook right now and show you six friends that I have who have logged on in the last two days and shared how their child is sick. That's what we do. That's what moms do, we share our troubles with each other, looking for prayers, compassion, and maybe advice. But I think we actually have it backwards, and we need to start learning to use our words to get sickness out of our families and out of our bodies. Instead of confessing to everyone we know that our children are sick with earthly disease, we need to confess with our mouths that our children are whole and healthy.
"Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways." Psalm 91:9-11
I know that sometimes, when it comes time to pray or speak out loud, we can often feel like we are at a loss for words. We try really hard to come up with the right words to make our prayers effective. I know I think like that, I worry that I am using the wrong words when I talk to God. But the fact is, He already gave us the very words we need to use. We don't need to go on into a long, lengthy prayer and we don't need to get all flowery and poetic. What we need to do is dig deep into our Word and speak the words that He already gave us. Like these verses in Psalm 91. When I expressed my fear about the rest of the family getting sick, my friend gently corrected me by showing me the very verses I needed to speak over my family. No plague shall come near our dwelling, for the angels have charge over us and will keep us in all our ways!
Our words are incredibly powerful. With simple words we can totally build someone up, or we can totally tear them down- and it's not even difficult to do, we just open up our mouths and let stuff come out. Instead we need to be thoughtful and really and truly think before we speak. In all instances.
I have another really simple and basic example as to how our words can have a great impact without our realizing it. And my example has to do with the dining table and children. Children are the best example to use because as children, they tend to believe the words of adults- and often take them as gospel. Well, when Zander was new to eating solid food, we were having a wonderful time introducing him to new foods, he was an adventurous eater and surprised us often with the things that he would eat. Well, as he got older, we definitely developed a liking for specific foods, and then there were some that he just didn't seem to care as much for. I'm sure you have all been to an extended family meal time with children where the kids turn on the pickiness, and mom and dad have to explain how junior doesn't care for this or that. Well, that's what happened here, as time went on, I found that ZanderZander doesn't like potatoes, so that he wouldn't have any put on his plate, and we could just avoid the food he doesn't so much care for.
Except that not too long after I started saying that, I was serving up a dinner that included potatoes, knowing full well that he would only take a few bites (and I was okay with that). And when I handed Zander his plate, he didn't even take one bite of potatoes, and when I called him on it, he looked at me baffled and said "but I don't like potatoes" . I tried to correct him and explain that he just didn't like them as much as say, strawberries, but it was too late. He'd heard me say over and over that he doesn't like potatoes, and now he still believes that he doesn't like potatoes. And I think of all the people and all the kids we know, and of course each child has their list of likes and dislikes, but how many of those dislikes were actually placed there one day when little Polly didn't eat her green beans and mom said out loud "I guess she doesn't like green beans". The more I think on this, the more I am convinced that our world of notorious picky eaters might have actually been created by the careless and thoughtless use of words.
Our words have meaning and power. The Bible is full of examples of our words having power. If you go to book of Numbers, chapters 22-24 you can read the story of Balaam who was hired to use his words against the Israelites, only when the time came, the words that came out were words of blessing and not curses. Words are so powerful that they were military strategy all those years ago!! We need to be more aware and watch our words carefully- whether they be casual words about something simple, like the foods our children eat, or words of encouragement to a friend or family member. And as we go into this Christmas weekend where we will be surrounded by family and friends, I want to encourage each one of us to think before we speak. Speak words of life and love and of salvation and healing one to another, and lace those words with the words that God already gave us to speak. It may mean a world of difference to someone this holiday season.