MORE THAN WORDS

MORE THAN WORDS

According to research conducted at the University of Arizona and published in the July 6, 2007 issue of Science magazine, the average person, regardless of gender, speaks approximately 16,000 words per day.[1] That results in 5.8 million words spoken annually and more than 400 billion words spoken over an average lifetime. Needless to say, that is a lot of words, and the number does not even include the words we write, type, text, or post! With so many words being used by us each day, we should not be surprised that the Bible has a lot to say about our words. In particular, the Bible indicates our words are a big deal to God, and here are three reasons why.

First, our words are a big deal to God because they are a reflection of our heart.

All throughout the Bible, the mouth and the heart are closely associated. In Matthew 15:18, Jesus said, “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart,” then, in Luke 6:45,  He added, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” In these two passages, Jesus indicated that the source of your words is your heart. This is because your mouth will never say what your heart has never thought. David understood this. That is why he prayed in Psalm 19:14 for “the words of [his] mouth and the meditation of [his] heart [to] be acceptable in [God’s] sight.” David’s prayer acknowledged that the words he spoke were directly influenced by the thoughts on which his heart meditated. Maybe that is why Paul instructed us to think about whatever is “true,” “honorable,” “just,” “pure,” “lovely,” “commendable,” “excellent,” and “worthy of praise” in Philippians 4:8. He gave us a filter to apply to our mind so that the rest of our person, especially our mouths, would not be contaminated. Since God wants to possess our hearts, as evidenced by the greatest command which instructs us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12:30), then our words are going to matter to Him because they reveal that to which our heart is devoted.

Second, our words are a big deal to God because they serve as evidence of our faith.

In James 1:26, James made a very bold declaration. He said, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” Did you catch that? James said your religion is worthless if you do not control your tongue. In other words, the litmus test of our spirituality is not so much whether or not we regularly attend all the assemblies of the church, whether or not we participate in evangelistic efforts, or whether or not we possess an active prayer life. Instead, the litmus test of our spirituality is whether or not we can control our tongue, and it is because our words can either prove or disprove our faith.

There is a story back in Judges 12 that is quite fascinating. Jephthah delivered Israel from the Ammonites during his duration as a judge. After he succeeded in defeating Israel’s enemy, he found himself at war with a fellow tribe of Israel. The tribe of Ephraim criticized him for not including them in the fight against the Ammonites and so they decided to go to war with him. As the story goes, Jephthah and his army successfully defeated the Ephraimites but there were some fugitives that fled from battle. So, Jephthah’s men captured a particular location along the Jordan River that was used as a crossing, and they set up a checkpoint there to try and capture these fugitives. Beginning in Judges 12:5, the text indicates that when a fugitive from Ephraim requested to cross the river…

the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan.

In other words, the Ephraimites were identifiable by their words. The way they spoke provided evidence of their identity. In the same way, our words will either serve as evidence of our relationship with God or they will serve as evidence of our friendship with the world.

Finally, our words are a big deal to God because our words affect our salvation.

In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus said, “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus says two important things in this passage. First, He indicates that there is nothing we have said that God has not heard. God is aware of “every careless word” you have spoken. In fact, God is aware of every word you have thought. In Psalm 139:4, David wrote, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” Since God is aware of every word, we ought to take our words more seriously. Not only did Jesus indicate that there is nothing we have said that God does not hear, but Jesus also indicates that everything we have said will impact whether we are “justified” or “condemned.” This is not the only time that words are related to salvation in Scripture. Romans 10:9-10 states that in order to receive salvation one must “confess with [his or her] mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” because “with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” It is also worth mentioning that Jesus said, “everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Based on these passages, our words are an essential element of our salvation because our belief in and association with Jesus must be verbally declared. Without such a declaration, condemnation will follow.

The point is words matter. Whether they are spoken in conversation, written on a piece of paper, typed on a computer, or posted on a social media platform, our words matter because they are a reflection of our heart, they serve as evidence of our faith, and they affect our salvation. So, before you speak, before you write, or before you post, choose your words carefully because they are more important than you might think.

 


[1] 1 https://ubrp.arizona.edu/study-finds-no-difference-in-the-amount-men-and-women-talk/