“The Power Of The Tongue”
James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Further passage on the tongue is here
James 3:3-12 “(3) If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. (4) Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. (5) So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (6) And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (7) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, (8) but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (9) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (10) From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (11) Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? (12) Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”
The verses quoted above are a warning that our tongues can speak words that affect us and society. We therefore need to control our tongues. We need to control what we say. However those verses, have been used to teach an exaggerated power of the tongue doctrine.
There is a new belief in town that is being preached from pulpits and accepted by all without a thought. The belief is that, your tongue has power to determine the destiny of your life. What you say to your child will happen. What you declare in your life will come to pass. What you declare in your health, what you declare in your business, what you declare in your job, and whatever else you declare, it comes to pass, because your tongue is powerful. If you declare evil, evil comes to pass. If you declare blessings, blessings come to pass. From that belief, it therefore seems that the future of our lives is actually in our tongues.
Let me begin by saying that, there is power in positive living and thinking. What you speak and think, does influence your life by setting a platform of either seeing possibilities or failures and thus bending your direction of action and achievement. You tend towards success when you speak and think positively, and even when you fail, it is not devastating. You tend towards failure and disappointment, when you speak and think negatively, and even when you succeed, you remain suspicious whether it will last. Our minds are influenced by our attitude. Attitude plays a big important but not ultimate role. Sick people who are positive may have probabilities of living longer or recovering faster. Children do better when motivated. The chances to excel are higher when we are positive. This is how God created us. The positive talk, the positive thoughts, create a mental environment that quickly uses opportunities to succeed.
However there are exceptions of how much positive speaking and thinking can do. Some people are challenged by negative words directed towards them and they struggle to prove that they can overcome. People have risen from verbal and physical abuse and set themselves free, because they refuse to believe and accept what is spoken or thought about them. Orphans who are tortured in homes have borne the pain and risen to prove that what was declared on their lives, so to speak, does not have a hold on their life. People who were written off from ever succeeding, have succeeded because the so called power of the tongue didn’t have a hold on them. Therefore we must be careful before we buy wholesale the overrated power of the tongue teaching.
Positive speaking and thinking for a christian should not be based on what we say but on our faith in God. We are positive because we believe in God and that He has good plans for us. We are positive even in failure, because with God we can overcome and failure can be reversed. Our positivity is based on faith in God and not on the power of our tongue declarations.
To suggest that the tongue has power over our destiny is to usurp God’s power over our lives. The tongue has been wrongly granted the status and authority to determine our destiny. Our final destiny, fate and occurrences in our lives are in God’s hands at one hundred percent. While positive or negative speaking and thinking may affect us, the final say, is with God and not the tongue.
Judges 6:14-16 “(14) And the Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (15) And he (Gideon) said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (16) And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.””
Gideon spoke and thought negatively about himself, but the power of Gideon’s tongue was rendered useless by God’s will in his life. Gideon became a great man of war, yet his own words about himself were of inferiority. What you declare may somehow affect your life, but your destiny is in God’s hands and never your tongue. God and not your tongue is in charge of your life.
If power of the tongue doctrine was true, then Gideon should have ended up a failure, because he spoke and thought negatively about himself. If our destiny is determined by our thoughts and words, then Gideon should have failed miserably. But Gideon succeeded because he put faith in the power and presence of God in his life. May we find strength in God and not in words we speak. Gideon’s words about himself, became null and void when he allowed God to take charge. Are you negative about your life and your self? Its not good to be negative. Allow God to lead you and you will experience excellence and you will find positivity in God and not in your words. An experience with God will change your words and thoughts! Your tongue will change nothing.
Jeremiah 29:8-9 “(8) For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, (9) for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.”
When God took Israelites to Babylon as captives, prophets arose to tell the people not to settle down. Prophets arose who motivated the people and spoke positively. Prophets arose who declared an immediate bright future of liberty from slavery. Power of the tongue of the prophets was positive. The people loved to listen to them and they felt good and flocked in droves around these prophets who spoke positively. Then God send Jeremiah to write the Jeremiah 29 letter to the Israelites in Babylon. In that letter that we have partly quoted, God rubbishes the positive speaking and thinking of the prophets. The power of the tongue is going no where. God dismisses the power of their tongues and beliefs. Nothing positive will happen simply because it was declared and you believed. God tells them, regardless of what the prophets say, they will still be in Babylon, not for a short time, but for seventy years! No amount of power of the tongue will change that. You can declare freedom till your voice goes hoarse, but God’s will is over and above your declarations. Unless a declaration is backed up by God’s will and revealed word in the Bible, it is a waste of voice and words!
When you further read that letter of Jeremiah 29, you discover the place of positive thinking. God tells them, to avoid false thoughts of soon coming liberty as declared by their prophet’s tongues. Instead, God tells them to live positively in exile. Settle down, build houses, organise marriages, engage in business and agriculture, and pray for the welfare of your host captors, because you will be there for long. God tells them to think positively and speak positively in exile. Not because the words and thoughts have power to change God’s will, but because they have accepted God’s will to be slaves for long. God tells them, it shall be well for them, not because they declared it, but because, God has a good plan for them (Jeremiah 29:11). Our future will be good not because we declared it with our tongues, but because God has a good plan for us. God is greater and better than the power of any tongue.
The power of my tongue and anyone’s tongue, is only sensible, to the extent in which it does not contradict the word of God and His will. Anything else is childish wishful thinking that will take us nowhere. You cant be declaring good things and expect them to happen, when you are disobedient to the revealed word of God. You cant declare good things and expect them to happen, yet you hate instead of love others, yet you keep your own sabbath and ignore the Bible teaching, yet you abuse others verbally and physically, yet you steal and corrupt from the weak and the public. The power of the tongue is in the will of God as revealed in the Bible. Its not about invoking God’s name, it is about accepting His will in our lives. We need to be careful about the exaggerated power of the tongue teaching, it is not true and it seeks to replace God’s will with our will. It will not bear fruit.
Preachers should desist from motivating people falsely with theories such as power of the tongue. Preachers should confront people with the demands of God’s word for a happy life. It may be painful and unpalatable, but it is a sustainable way of life, compared to short lived lies of power of the tongue.
If we just embrace this power of the tongue teaching, we may start being tongue worshippers, instead of God worshippers. We may be so keen on what we say and what is said and forget what God has said in His word. We may be so focused on what we wish ourselves, our children, our lives, our businesses, etc. We will forget what God wishes for us. Tongue worship, in the name of power of the tongue, automatically replaces God’s leadership of our lives. Anything that replaces God or the role of God in life becomes a god or an idol. Power of the tongue for positive living is good psychology motivation, but absolutely wrong theology or biblical teaching, in relation to ultimate fate of our daily and eternal life. Our lives are at the mercy of God’s will and never at the mercy of the power of my tongue or anyone’s tongue.
Why is the power of the tongue teaching gaining traction so fast? Not because it is biblical. But because positivity attracts even to the hopeless. Because of the immediate feel good impact it creates in us. Because it reduces our responsibility from what we hate, which is making changes in our lives to follow God’s will, and instead gives us the simple remedy of just declaring our wish and it happens. It is daydreaming coming true. Its more like magic, just say it and it happens. It gives easy answers to a people who like it easy. It makes religious leaders powerful, we pay them tidy sums of money and they declare things to us. Its a business of sorts. When the declared things don’t happen, we rarely notice it, because we have been placed on a feel good mode amidst it all. Power of the tongue teaching is therapeutic but not salvific.
May God help us to speak positively, think positively and live positively and happily, not because of the power of our tongue, but because of God’s will and plan for our lives. May His good plans happen to us today, not because we declared it, but because we believe in Him, in Jesus name. Amen! (c)email@example.com (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but don’t edit the authorship or content…thank you and be blessed!)