The Power of a Positive Word – Proverbs 18:21

AMH Series // His Word is Written Across My Heart

As much as I hate to admit it, I tend to be a pessimist.  (How’s that for a pessimistic statement?!) It’s something that I’ve been working on – having a more positive outlook on life. With this tendency of mine, I naturally assumed that everyone I worked with this summer didn’t really like me.  It wasn’t anything they did or said – it was just my bent toward pessimism.

Something that I grew to love and appreciate about my work environment was how well everyone gave meaningful and genuine compliments. One day, a couple of coworkers used their words in a way that was incredibly uplifting to me. Their words brightened my day (and several days after!) and encouraged me to be comfortable in my own skin as I’m continuing to learn to be grateful for the personality God gave me. On this day, I realized the truth and power of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

Building Each Other Up

As a girl who can struggle with pessimism, I haven’t made a habit of speaking encouraging words and/or giving genuine compliments. If you’re anything like me, maybe you can get sucked into a mindset of pessimism. A mindset that’s often fueled by comparison. Whether it’s comparing people, places, things, or ideas, comparison is hard to battle against. When we compare, we pick out flaws and try to find things that are wrong about ourselves or other people. It’s a spiral of negativity.

I know that comparison and a spirit of negativity are wrong, but it’s hard to just stop negative thought processes without having something else to turn to. I’ve thought a lot lately about the power of other’s words in my life, and I’ve been challenged to create a habit of speaking words of life and encouragement to others. Is it possible that searching for good things in others to compliment could help to build a more positive thought process in me? I’m not talking about flattery here. I’m talking about using words to encourage one another and build one another up,” just as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says.

The Healing Power of Words

The tongue holds immense power. Our words can be used to bring about destruction through comparison, slander, or gossip. But our words also have the power to bring healing. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Can you remember a moment when someone spoke an encouraging word to you? As your imagination takes you back to that time, you might have a pleasant look on your face, or maybe you just sat up a little taller. Our bodies and souls are interconnected. And this verse in Proverbs tells us that our words not only affect the soul, but also our bodies. When our words are gracious, they bring health to body and soul.

you are lovely-12

Our Words Mirror Our Hearts

As you examine your life, maybe you want to change your word patterns, just like I do. In my own life, the words that I speak are a reflection of what is going on in my heart. If I have a heart of negativity, negative words will start to flow out of my mouth. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

How can we change our hearts so that words of life, not death, flow from our mouths? We have to start with recognizing that we can’t change our own hearts. That work is up to God. If we look in the mirror of our words and see ugliness reflected, we have to turn to the Lord and ask Him to change our hearts and give us words of grace, truth, and healing.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth writes in her devotional The Power of Words, “It doesn’t come naturally for us to consistently speak with wisdom and kindness. It comes supernaturally. And by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, we can have wise, kind hearts and speak wise, kind words.”

Will you join me in going before the Lord in prayer and asking Him, to change our hearts to become more like His, to help us to guard our tongues, and to give us words of grace and truth?

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