“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
I often quote Proverbs 18:21 as my go-to Scripture that stresses the importance of speaking positivity and blessings over myself. For me, it means that when you speak positively and affirming, you will reap the rewards. And conversely, when you speak negative or in disempowering ways, you will experience the negative consequences of your speech.
Then I met with my pastor the other day, and he gave me a whole new perspective on this Scripture that I had never seen before. He pointed out that life and death are not necessarily good and bad—meaning life is not always positive and death is not always negative.
This got me to thinking seriously about some of the things I say that I have given life too. I realize that a lot of the things I’ve thought about—and as a result, said—I have given life to when I should have killed them. I’ve allowed destructive thoughts, patterns, and mindsets to fester for too long. I’ve had conversations with girlfriends; I’ve orchestrated dramatic pity parties and replayed them like broken records for so long that they’ve taken up residence in my mind and become a part of my identity. Trouble is, they had no business even taking up space in my head, let alone leaving my mouth.
I realize that I’ve been speaking life over things when I should have used the power to speak death over them instead. Things like:
- Speaking life into my weaknesses
- Speaking life into things that are not going the way I want them to
- Speaking life over my health issues
- Speaking life over my family challenges
The more I speak life over these areas, the more they expand. Instead, they need to be killed! I have the power to speak death over weakness, death over disappointment, death over poor health, and death over family crisis. I’m learning that every time I talk about my problems, I give it more life.
Until recently, I never considered the power of speaking death that Proverbs 18:21 teaches us. I recognize that in many areas, speaking the power of death can actually help me more than speaking life. When I speak death, I can stop strongholds from taking root in my life.
Using the analogy of a garden, “It’s better to never allow weeds in the garden instead of wasting time every year constantly pulling them out—kill them right away before they take root.”
God knows our propensity to keep tolerating what should not be tolerated; to keep compromising our standards and to keep moving our boundaries. That’s why He gives us strict boundaries that He wants us to adhere to. He does not want us constantly trying to compromise and give-in to temptations.
In 1 Samuel 15, God tells Saul to destroy ALL the Amalekites.
“You must completely destroy the Amalekites and everything that belongs to them. Don’t let anything live; you must kill all the men and women and all of their children and little babies. You must kill all of their cattle and sheep and all of their camels and donkeys.”
As harsh as it sounds, God knew the consequences of not totally wiping out our enemies. The Amalekites were relentless in their brutality towards the Israelites. They had no fear of God and they were committed to harassing and plundering from the Israelites.
Unfortunately, not unlike us, Saul felt bad about destroying everything (2 Samuel 15:9), and again, like us, the result of not completely wiping them all out caused God to reject Saul as King and also had generational consequences as the surviving Amalekites continued to pillage and plunder the Israelites.
The way I see it, Saul is no different from me (and maybe you too). How many things has God said to kill! Not, ‘try and see if it will work’; not ‘pray about it and hope for the best’; not ‘ask a friend for advice’, but KILL. And yet you and I keep nursing and rehearsing it.
I don’t know about you, but when I saw Proverbs 18:21 from this new perspective, I purposed in my heart to kill some things that I have kept alive that I should have been put to death a long time ago.
I’ve been talking about some things, and thereby, keeping them alive in my spirit that, effective immediately, I have killed. More specifically:
- There is the pain in my back that I keep talking about that, effective immediately, I have killed.
- There are things that I say about my husband that, effective immediately, I have killed.
- There is the language that I use about my ability to succeed in business that, effective immediately, I have killed.
- There are negative things that I say about myself every time I look in the mirror that, effective immediately, I have killed.
My tongue has the power of death and I will use that power to kill the things that God has called me to kill. I will not allow them to take up space in my mind and life anymore.
It’s an amazing feeling to no longer be held captive by your own words.
I invite you to also examine some of the words that you say and the language you speak, and to use your power in Christ to kill them today!
What are you ready to put to death?
Share with me below as we pray for each other.
Additional Study Scriptures
“When words are many, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
“An evil man is trapped by his rebellious speech, but a righteous man escapes from trouble.”
“From the fruit of his lips a man will enjoy good things, but the desire of the faithless is violence.”
“He who guards his mouth protects his life, but the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.”