Our words matter
God has this thing about words. Really. He treats our words as imperatives. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “imperative” as expressive of a command, entreaty, or exhortation. We seldom think of our words this way. Now, to be fair, we know we’re speaking an imperative when we yell, “Shut up, I’m trying to think!” But most of the time, we give little consideration to the words bubbling from our lips; but God does.
Remember the account of Daniel’s meeting with an angel in the book of Daniel, chapter ten?
“Then he [an angel] said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”Daniel 10:12
God sent an angel to speak to Daniel because of his words. God listened to what Daniel was praying and considered his words as meaningful. The words we speak carry “import.” Words have value. Scientific studies have shown that people are more likely to remember things that “feel” important to them than things that lack a sense of importance. Now I’ve possibly gotten someone you know into hot water because they never remember what you say! Let’s move along!
“And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”Matthew 5:36-37
Watch what you say
Guarding what we say is a direct command from Jesus. Why? Because what we speak are imperatives, whether we think they are or not. God repeatedly tells us throughout the Bible to be cautious about what we say.
The Gibeonites tricked the Israelites into a treaty, but God held them to their agreement (Joshua 9). Joshua’s covenant with Gibeon was valid in the eyes of God because Joshua’s words were counted as Israel’s commitment. To God, our words communicate our will, just as God’s words communicate His will. Woe to us if we set our will against God’s will!
Now God’s warning about what we say is not intended to constrain us from speaking the things that come from Him or indirectly come through Him as truth. Truth is always true and is always what should be said if anything needs to be spoken. However, it’s always acceptable to tell your wife or husband that they look lovely. 😉
Go and tell, cautiously
As believers, Christ commissioned us to go and tell the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:16-20) When we go and tell, people confront us with manipulative questions, testing, and badgering. Nevertheless, we must always watch what we say. Remember, Jesus warned us in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,”
God holds us accountable for everything we say, and God considers the words we speak as meaningful. In a very real sense, we are what we say!
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