Our words have great power. With them we can encourage or discourage. We can bring the light of praise or the darkness of harsh criticism. We can build up or we can tear down. We can foster spiritual life or death with our words.
There are so many GOOD things God wants us to do with our tongues:
- Praise God’s righteousness (Psalm 35:28)
- Speak wisdom and justice (Psalm 37:30)
- Sing of God’s Word (Psalm 119:72)
- Cry out to God (Psalm 66:17)
- Shout with joy over God’s great works (Psalm 126:2)
- Bring life with gentle words (Proverbs 15:4)
- Patiently persuade rulers (Proverbs 25:15)
And then there is my personal favorite:
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.Proverbs 31:26 ESV
With all the good things our words can accomplish, it is no wonder that the enemy seeks to attack our mouths! If he can get us so wrapped up in selfishness and jealousy that we spew ugly, angry words, then he has completely kept us from our intended mission. God intended for us to speak life to a dying world, but we allow Satan to thwart our destiny.
But there is hope. We CAN overcome this destructive sin through repentance, surrender, and worship.
We must become angry over our missed destiny.
Visualize the damage you have done with cruel, critical words. Own it. Feel the pain you have caused. Until we are disgusted by our sins, we cannot gain victory over them. Then pour out your sorrow to your loving Father. Get on your knees before Him and ask for forgiveness.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules…” –Daniel 9:3-5 ESV
We must surrender to God.
At the start of each day, give God your agenda and your timeline. Give Him permission to intervene with any “interruptions” that He chooses to send. When we give the Lord control, we no longer have to fuss and fume over traffic delays and fighting children. We can now see them as divine appointments, prompts for prayer, and opportunities for teaching.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. –Proverbs 16:9 ESV
We must fix our hearts on Jesus.
Once we have surrendered our plans, we can begin to focus on Jesus. He already paid the price for us to overcome our sins. His wounds pave the way for us to be clean. We no longer have to wallow around in defeat. Jesus longs for our righteousness much more than we do. He moved heaven and earth to buy our redemption, giving up heaven for a horrible death on the cross.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. –Isaiah 26:3 ESV
We must resist the devil.
Recently our pastor presented a lesson on how Satan influences us to sin. He used Bible examples to show how the enemy puts evil thoughts in our hearts (Ananias and Sapphira) and tempts us to speak evil (Peter’s denial). This was a big a-ha moment for me. Before, I had been focusing my mouth struggles on myself. (And yes, I am personally guilty for all the sins of my mouth.) But our Pastor’s lesson showed me that I wasn’t just battling my own sin nature, I was fighting an enemy outside myself, too.
This change in perspective has finally brought victory. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (ESV) When we cry out for protection from the enemy in the name of Jesus, Satan must flee. By eliminating one of my enemies, I can now focus on the enemy of my own sin nature. For the first time, I have seen real, dramatic improvement in my tongue. Satan is way too much for us to fight alone, but he is no match for the name of Jesus!
We must live in constant dependence on God.
The second we think we have our tongues mastered, we will fail. We must maintain our spiritual armor, our dependence upon God, and our humble state of repentance. Remember the words of James 3? No human can successfully control his tongue. Only children of the King who live in surrender to the Holy Spirit can gain victory over their mouths. The Holy Spirit living inside us has given us all we need for righteous living. His power in us is indescribable; we just have to stay tapped into that source of strength.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. –1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
We must pursue our destiny.
Remember the list of things God wants us to speak? Pursue them. Use your tongue to praise God’s righteousness. Open your mouth with words of kind wisdom. Speak life over your family and friends. Proclaim the truth of God’s Word. Be the royal daughter of the King that you are. Live out the glorious destiny God has prepared for you.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Sisters in Christ, let’s open our mouths with kindness and wisdom. Let’s be the life-givers God created us to be, redeeming the mistakes of our mouths for the good of His Kingdom.