There are so many words flying around these days! The 24-hour news cycle, social media, YouTube, radio, podcasts, TV . . . words, words, words. My life is full of words too—from my mouth and pen—to my family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, acquaintances and enemies.
This morning God’s Word reminded me that I am to bear fruit for the glory of God and words are fruit. Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45, NIV). My words are a reflection of my heart and they are powerful. Check out these lines from the poem, “The First Settler’s Story” by Will Carleton,
Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds;
You can't do that way when you're flying words.
"Careful with fire," is good advice, we know:
" Careful with words," is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead;
But God himself can't kill them when they're said!
Wow, I believe that nothing is impossible with God, but point taken Mr. Carleton—words are powerful. Now, more than ever, we are realizing that we can’t control much in our lives, but we can control our words. At least we can try, and we must, because words are fruit and fire.
Consider James 3:2-12, NIV:
2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
I won’t belabor this diatribe on words with more words except to say that I am going to go from here heeding the words of Tim Keller and calling upon the Lord (with my words) for help.
Our words should be honest, few, wise, apt and kind. —Tim Keller
Psalm 141:1-3, NIV
I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.