Do you have a word for 2019? The trend of finding a term of unique and personal significance for each new year has been increasing in popularity. My social media feeds this week have been chock-full of pithy expressions my friends have adopted as their 2019 mantras of choice.
While I do love the idea of choosing an inspiring new word upon which to focus our energies, goals, and hopes for the next 365 days, as 2018 drew to a close, I was in the grasp of an entirely different perspective.
What if in 2019 I were to focus on ALL of my words? Well, at least the ones I speak aloud… I know this must seem like massive overkill for a New Year’s resolution, but hang in there with me while I explain.
In recent years, I have come to believe that the words we speak aloud (even in passing comments) have tremendous influence on our lives and the lives of those around us. This is not some hocus-pocus or name-it-claim-it nonsense. This idea is supported by the entirety of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments.
While I don’t have the capacity here for an exhaustive journey into every book of the bible, I do want to give you enough to show this philosophy is firmly rooted in the bible. We will start at the very beginning – it is, after all, a very good place to start, especially since it’s a brand new year. 😉
1. How did God create the world?
Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:6-7 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters”… And it was so.
Genesis 1:9 And God said, …. And it was so.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, … And it was so.
Genesis 1:14 And God said, … And it was so.
Genesis 1:20 And God said…
Genesis 1:24 And God said, … And it was so.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said…
You get the idea here. As you read the account of Creation as found in Genesis 1, you can see that God spoke our entire universe into existence.
The New Testament also supports this: Hebrews 11:3 tells us, By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
God spoke all of Creation into being. He made the heavens and the earth and every living thing from His spoken words.
2. The Exact Same Spirit of the Living God (who created the entire universe by speaking) lives in us.
If you are a child of God, having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation, the bible tells us that the Spirit of the Living God lives inside of you. We commonly refer to Him as the Holy Spirit. Here are a few references about this: Romans 8:11, John 3:5-6, Acts 2:38-39, Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:26, John 16:7-15, Titus 3:4-8.
3. Therefore, as believers, the words we speak aloud have tremendous potential to create or destroy.
The tongue can bring death or life; Proverbs 18:21a
And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:6
From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good. Proverbs 12:14a
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18b
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Whoever desires to love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 1 Peter 3:10
4. Choose to Focus on the Positive.
In the past when I read bible verses about the tongue, I always processed them through my “Thou Shalt Not” filter. You know, it’s that way of thinking that says: Don’t lie, don’t gossip, don’t slander, don’t exaggerate, don’t be unkind, etc… I only ever focused on what I should NOT do with my words.
If speaking evil and deceit can bring bad days and result in a hated life, then speaking good and true words will result in a life well-loved and well-lived, filled with good days.
So what if we were to view all these verses about our tongue through a “YES, PLEASE DO” filter?
Do you have a seemingly impossible situation in your life? Instead of constantly bemoaning the crappy circumstances that seem completely insurmountable, YES, PLEASE DO speak life-giving words over it. Ask God to accomplish the impossible, believing He will, and then thank Him for doing it. And keep thanking Him for His miraculous provision and grace in that situation.
Do you have a close friend or family member walking through a time of deep darkness? Maybe they are dealing with addiction or mental illness? Instead of rehearsing all the various medical or psychological nuances of their addiction or illness, choose instead to speak positive and healing words aloud continually about that person. Then YES, PLEASE DO thank God for the miraculous and complete recovery in this person.
Do you have a relationship with ongoing or unresolved conflict? Instead of constantly venting frustration and anger about this person, YES, PLEASE DO ask God to bring restoration, unity, and mutual understanding, then thank Him for it. YES, PLEASE DO thank God for what this person has come to mean to you and how well you get along together.
5. Start With a Thank You.
A wise friend gave me the most beautiful illustration of Psalm 100:4 which says:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
As we boldly approach God’s throne of grace in our time of need, let’s stop at the entrance gates to give the password – which is “Thank You.” Then we can proceed into the King’s outer courts with praise, before then entering the throne room itself and voicing our concerns and needs.
By starting with a posture of thanksgiving, we are verbally expressing our faith. We believe in advance for what we’ve asked. We are thanking God as if he’s already completed it.
We aren’t manipulating God into doing anything that is against his will. He isn’t some earthly ruler to be controlled by human words, but when we have the faith to believe he will accomplish something we are releasing the power for His “will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
This phrase “may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” was used by Jesus himself when he was demonstrating how we should talk to our Heavenly Father. Matthew 6:5-13
I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard see, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. Matthew 17:20. See also Matthew 21:21 and Mark 11:23
How did Jesus say these miraculous things would happen? Through the power of our spoken words.
Do we have faith big enough to speak words with a crazy-bold defiance of the reality of our physical circumstances? Do we have a desire to see what is seen come from what is unseen? Are we willing to thank God in advance, believing He will accomplish it?
If you feel lacking in this area, no worries! We can ask for help much like the father of a demon-possessed son in Mark 9:24. “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”
2019 is like a brand new notebook, full of blank, white pages. Our tongues are the instruments through which our stories will be written. Our words are the ink; they will become the very substance of our lives. What will we say in 2019?