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Seeds of the Kingdom

The Tongue has the Power of Life and Death - Part 1

by Grace Bull

The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21, NIV

Did you know that you have the power of life and death? Perhaps that comes as a surprise? Today’s verse from Proverbs 18 says that you have the power of life and death and so do I. That power is in our words. What we say can have that sort of effect on someone.

Can you remember any words which brought life to you? Perhaps it was when someone told you about the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Perhaps it was an encouraging comment which strengthened you just when you most needed it. Kind words bring life to us when we are anxious or distressed. And prayer is powerful. Can you bring life to someone you know today through your words?

The second part of the Proverb says that those who love it (the tongue) will eat its fruit. Perhaps you know someone who loves to talk. It might be you! The issue is not really how much we talk but whether our words are bringing life or death. If we love to build other people up with our words, we will eat the fruit of that one day. The fruit will be life.

On the other hand, if we love to demonstrate our own ‘rightness’ by explaining to our friends our detailed understanding of exactly how a third party is getting things wrong, we will eat the fruit one day – the fruit of death. Death in relationships and opportunities.

Who will want to share their heart with me if they hear me criticising someone else? Subconsciously my friend will be reluctant to share her really vulnerable places with me if I do that, because I’m demonstrating my ability to pull someone apart rather than build someone up.

James 3:2 is reassuring. It says: ‘We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check’.
God doesn’t have impossible standards for us- He knows we all stumble frequently. I definitely do.

What can we do? I read about a lady who went on a fast. It was a fast from saying anything negative. No negative words for a week. She said it was excruciatingly difficult, but so valuable. I wonder if the Lord might be speaking to me? How about you?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the people in my life. Please forgive me for the many times when I have spoken words that did not bring life. Please help me to build people up with my words today. I really mean it. I would appreciate Your help. Thank You so much for Your love. Amen.

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.


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