The primary way that we communicate with one another is through our words. We can see from our featured verse that our words matter! The Bible talks a lot about our words and that there is power in our tongue. Let’s look at some of those verses and discover how we should speak to impart life and have control over ourselves.
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our God and Father, and with it, we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both saltwater and fresh. James 3:2 – 12
In this passage, James tells us that we grant authority to control our whole being when we bridle the tongue. When we struggle with areas out of control in our lives, it means we need to learn to control the tongue. James 3:2-4 indicates that if we control what comes from our mouths, we grow in authority to rule our entire being, and we can bridle every other appetite and desire.
The more our mouths and words line up with the Word of God, the more power under control we can walk in. The tongue and the words of our mouth will set the direction in which we will go. Therefore, we must consecrate and surrender our tongue to the Lord Jesus Christ and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When we speak hurtful words to another, it usually comes from a place of being hurt ourselves. We, therefore, need the Lord to bring healing to our wounded souls and hearts. Hurtful, negative, judgmental, and hateful words can destroy relationships. The destructive nature of the tongue can destroy like a forest fire. And it may not just be human words, but words of humans set ablaze by demonic impulse (Matthew 16:22-23; Isaiah 54:17). Therefore, we must submit our tongue to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is vital that we set a guard over our mouth and let no corrupt speech come from it. We are to bless others with our words and not curse them. When we speak negatively, judgmentally, or hatefully towards another, we are cursing and condemning them.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? James 4:11-12
I said, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.” Psalm 39: 1
Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. Proverbs 4:24
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. Proverbs 12:18
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
While our words can injure, they can also build each other up. It is, therefore, essential that we stop and consider what to say before we speak. Likewise, it is important to respond and not react to a person or situation. We don’t have to try to do this on our own. The Holy Spirit can help us and give us the grace to respond appropriately in truth and love. We may even need to practice responding appropriately!
I remember a time in my life when the Lord was helping me to get healthy in this area. I needed to change the volume and tone of my voice as I reacted in situations. What He had me do was when He reminded me that I had reacted improperly, He had me say to the person, “Please forgive me. I didn’t respond correctly,” and then repeat it in the proper tone and volume of voice. I also had to stop and take a breath before I spoke and ask the Lord what He wanted me to say. I had to learn to respond more healthily, and that took practice.
He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. Proverbs 17:9
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. Proverbs 12:22
The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Proverbs 12:19
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. Proverbs 15:1 – 2
The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook. Proverbs 18:4
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23
We must also guard our hearts, as well as our mouths. Even our salvation comes from what we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths (Romans 10:9-10).
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” Matthew 15:18
If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. James 1:26
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips. Proverbs 16:23
My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Most importantly, our words should be faith-filled words that line up with the Word of God, reflect His nature and the Holy Spirit who indwells us. It is vital to pray, decree, and prophesy the Word! Last week we looked at the power of God’s Word. If you missed that video or blog, I recommend that you go back and review it.
When we speak with faith, that sets the right things in motion over our lives and situations (Mark 11:22 – 23). God’s Word frames the world, but our world is framed by our words and by what we speak (Hebrews 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; Proverbs 18:21). When we speak and step out in faith in agreement with God’s Word, we activate the supernatural. So, let God’s Word frame your world by speaking in faith God’s Word out of your mouth until you see His will come to pass in your life.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much James 5:16
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Our words have the power and authority that Jesus gave us and modeled when He walked on the earth to overcome the enemy (Luke 10:19; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:12).
Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power, He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Luke 4:36
But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” Luke 8:25
We can choose for our tongue to be an instrument of blessing and align with God’s purpose for our tongue and its power. However, there will be a time when we must account for every careless word we have spoken (Matthew 12:36-37). So, choose wisely!
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6
We will conclude by discussing the power of the gift of tongues and praying in the Spirit. The gift of tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit. The gifts from the Holy Spirit are grace gifts and are received by grace through faith, just like all the other gifts from God. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). When we speak in tongues, we’re not talking to men but God; we are saying mysteries and magnifying God in the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2).
The gift of different kinds of tongues is the most prominent vocal gift and is crucial because it is the door to the supernatural. Tongues are the supernatural utterance by the Holy Spirit in languages (whether heavenly or human) never learned nor understood by the speaker nor necessarily understood by the hearer. It has nothing to do with linguistic ability nor with the mind or the intellect of man. It is a vocal miracle of the Holy Spirit and was first encountered when the disciples who gathered in the Upper Room following Christ’s ascension experienced the in-filling or baptism with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Therefore, the gifts of different kinds of tongues and interpretations of tongues are distinctive to the Church Age.
There is a misunderstanding of this gift. Some question if tongues have been done away with based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-10; however, knowledge hasn’t vanished away; prophecies have not failed or ceased to exist; therefore, tongues haven’t either. Heaven is perfect, and it is there we won’t need tongues.
Tongues are primarily a devotional gift to be used in our prayer life for praising and worshiping God, for speaking mysteries to God, and for building ourselves up. We should use it continually for the rest of our lives! There is also a public side to speaking in tongues. The church is edified when someone speaks in tongues, and there is an interpretation, which is equivalent to prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:5).
Speaking with other tongues in our prayer language keeps us continually aware of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence, which will affect the way we think and live. Praying in tongues edifies or builds us up and refreshes us (1 Corinthians 14:4; Jude 20; Isaiah 28:11-12). Speaking in tongues to yourself and God is a means of keeping yourself free from the contamination of the ungodly and profane elements of the world (1 Corinthians 14:28). It also eliminates the possibility of selfishness entering our prayer life because the Holy Spirit is praying God’s perfect will through us (Romans 8:26-27).
Praying in tongues provides a way to pray for things that no one thinks to pray about, is not aware of, or our natural mind does not know of concerning a matter. Speaking and praying in tongues stimulates faith and helps us learn how to trust God more fully (Jude 20). For example, we may pray in tongues to give thanks to God. It is the best way to thank God, but in the presence of unlearned people in spiritual things, you should also pray with your understanding or interpret the tongues for their edification (1 Corinthians 14:15 – 17). Remember, it is our spirit that is praying, not our mind.
If you are a born-again believer, you can activate the gift of tongues by asking the Lord for it. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in our spirit or inner man, not by our natural mind, intellect, or reasoning. Expect the Holy Spirit to move upon your vocal cords and put supernatural words on your lips. As the Holy Spirit gives supernatural utterance, you do the speaking as you yield to Him. He may show you a word or phrase in a language you don’t know. Speak these words out in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Don’t use your natural language. He will give you more to speak as you start putting your voice and lips to what He gives you. He doesn’t just take over. We allow the Holy Spirit to speak and pray through our spirit as we will and as He gives us utterance and inspiration (Acts 2:4; Romans 8:26-27). Don’t allow the devil to bring fear into your life to keep you from experiencing this wonderful gift!
Praying in the spirit is the key to walking in the power of God. This supernatural gift is designed to be used as a spiritual weapon against the enemy, release God’s power, impart help for our weaknesses, and intercede perfectly according to God’s will! (1 Corinthians 14:15; Romans 8:26-27).
Next week we will look at the power of the Holy Spirit!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.