Do you realize the power and significance in those five letters? God made the entire world with them, great authors inspire masses with carefully constructed rhetoric, we can change our eternal fate with them. This ability of ours, this gift of speech, is precious and invaluable, and for most of us, completely unlimited.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the stereotype of the chatty wife or the gossipy friend; women are so often declared as having “the gift of gab”. When God created men and women He designed them with different strengths so that they might compliment each other, to work as a team for His good; I believe that for women one of these gifts is speech. Typically speaking, women seldom have a problem expressing themselves verbally, we rarely find ourselves at a loss for words, and when a friend or loved one comes seeking comfort, we often find the words flow easily.
I once heard of a statistical survey which reported that the average woman spoke over 16,000 words per day. That’s 16,000 opportunities to love, to inspire life, to instill hope, to cloak with grace, in just one waking day.
And yet, so many of those opportunities are wasted. Long gone are the “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” days. In our generation we are encouraged to vocalize our every opinion and thought – regardless of who they might hurt or how unattractive they might make us (or more importantly, Christ) appear. We speak our minds freely, and mostly without threat of repercussion. But the old saying still rings true, that what comes out is what’s put in, and in a society where an uncompromising following of Jesus has become declasse, what’s being put in is selfishness, greed, pride, and hate.
As daughters of the most high King, we need to understand and embrace the power that we have. What we see as harmless, Satan can use as a wrecking ball, and what we see as insignificant, God can use to bring salvation. To underestimate the power we possess is not only neglectful, but dangerous.
Julia had a college class three times a week on campus. In this class she sat next to a young man, whom she noticed wore a wedding ring. As the semester progressed she and this young man struck up a natural casual friendship as a result of spending so many hours in the same vicinity; their conversations had become more personal and she enjoyed his friendship. As so many women mindlessly do, she would harmlessly flirt with him during these class times, without a seconds thought. He was married, there was no danger here, he was just a good friend. By the end of the semester the young man was completely infatuated with Julia, and as he grew more attracted to her, he simultaneously grew more distant from his wife. He expressed his interest to Julia who was completely taken aback – he was married, they were just friends! Frustrated and dismayed she told him that she had no interest in him romantically, and after classes ended they never spoke again. The rift between him and his wife, though, remained.
Flirtatiousness, gossip, anger. These things destroy people, they destroy relationships, and they mislead the lost away from God.
But we can choose another way.
Through the gospel and the testimony of Christ, we can speak life into people. With our sincere and earnest prayers, we can bring healing. With words of grace and compassion, we can lead the lost to deliverance.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” – Proverbs 18:20
There is a golden nugget of information here, a key to pulling this whole thing together. “And those who love it”. Those who love goodness, those who love compassion, those who love grace, those who love purity, those who love virtue.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7
As much as we need to speakers of life words, we need to be livers of the same. We need to show compassion, cling to virtue, emulate purity and redemption.
Today, be intentional with your words. Speak life into someone, push death and self-service from your thoughts,and indulge the holy spirit to be your wellspring of speech. Be fluent in grace. Remember, all it takes is just one seed, for good or evil – the choice is up to you.