The Power of Words and Wisdom

We’re still talking about words and the power of the tongue to produce life and death.

As I mentioned previously, this is an area in which the Lord is working with me, and I’ve found that I’ve had to do a lot of internal cleansing. While I don’t consider myself a hateful person, I sometimes forget the subtlety of what I say (or even don’t say) and the implications that can pollute my spirit and soul.

Today I want to talk about the spiritual growth aspect of speaking life and blessing to others, and specifically how refraining from negative words and, instead, speaking kind, encouraging, loving words to others can bring you wisdom.

Proverbs 11:12 says: “Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.” Leave it to Proverbs to just say it. Proverbs itself is part of the Biblical genre of “Wisdom Literature,” and MacArthur’s Commentary refers to the second clause in the quote as the “silence of the wise,” and so it makes a lot of sense that silence is a trait of human wisdom. And yet, how often do people go off half-baked, making comments about something when they don’t have all the facts or when it’s really none of their business or concern? How often do people speak only to fill spaces in conversation? How often do public figures get into trouble, simply due to their perceived need to constantly comment on every little thing?

Proverbs 12:18 gives us an idea of what happens when we don’t heed Proverbs 11:12, and the benefits of using words – when necessary – to encourage and uplift. Verse 12:18 states: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” There’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on here (do you hold your tongue because you are already wise, or does holding your tongue make you wise?), but it’s been my own experience that wisdom is not necessarily a trait of the young; instead, we all grow into it. Accordingly, if we spend as much time as possible listening and holding our tongues, we’ll gain wisdom. And wisdom, in turn, will allow us to use our words in the right way.

Whenever I’m thinking about wisdom, I naturally think about Solomon. When God said to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” Solomon replied that what he wanted most of all was a discerning heart – the wisdom “to distinguish between right and wrong.” And God answered: “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (1 Kings 3:4-13) I believe that wisdom is an essential trait of God, and when we seek wisdom – and especially the wisdom to know God’s will and to do it – we come ever closer to the Christ-like creation that God intended to populate his Kingdom. Wisdom is holy and lovely to our Lord, and when we ask for such holy and lovely things, the Lord will bless us beyond what we seek. And the wisdom that illuminates God’s will can be the foundation for our lives; it helps us both in the natural and the supernatural realms.

Indeed, in the New Testament, James states: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5. Explaining this passage, MacArthur writes, “James’ Jewish audience recognized [wisdom] as the understanding and practical skill that was necessary to live life to God’s glory. It was not a wisdom of philosophical speculation, but the wisdom contained in the pure and peaceable absolutes of God’s will revealed in His Word and lived out.”

Together, these passages on wisdom teach us that God wants us to have it. Thus, we should ask for supernatural wisdom (for wisdom is a necessary trait of God) while we develop our natural wisdom by listening to others and watching our words. Using Jesus as our example, we can easily overcome the natural. And as followers of Jesus, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, who can help us with all things supernatural.

ACTION: Once again, ask for revelation and wisdom. Specifically, ask for wisdom to see and do God’s will, to perceive strongholds (areas with strong negative holds on us and our behavior) and to break these strongholds and cancel their grip on you. Ask the Lord for wisdom in how you use your words. Ask Him to help you see the words associated with any incorrect, polluted, and “religious” theology and to give you revelation into the Truth of Jesus Christ. Finally, thank the Lord for an open mind, heart, and spirit to hear new and refined wisdom.

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