REFLECTION: How powerful are your words?

Would you set your imagination free and allow yourself to venture into a rustic antique store with me?  The store keeper is occupied with another customer and yet he motions you to come in and he asks you to walk freely around.  From the corner of your eye, a sparkle from an obscured window at the far corner of the store catches your attention and you are drawn to a huge book which appears to have fallen from a shelf.  It is apparent no one has ventured back there for a while because cobwebs surround the window and shelves and the exposed pages of the fallen book have layers of dust over them.  As you brush away the dust, you notice that several words appear to jump right out at you and you begin to read.

“When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear;
so do a man’s faults when he speaks.

As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace,
so in his conversation is the test of a man.

The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
so too does a man’s speech disclose the bent of his mind.

Praise no man before he speaks,
for it is then that men are tested.”

Powerful words aren’t they?  I actually just came across them for the first time this morning!  The original book where these words are found is definitely antiquated as it comes from the book of Sirach 27: 4-7 (written between 200 and 175 BC) which is  accumulated with others in the Old Testament of the Bible!  I continue to be amazed of the depth of wisdom found in this Book.

Words spoken and/or written from the depths of wisdom often bring about awe to the recipient.  And yet we all know that there have been words which have been spoken through our years that have brought about pain and torment while others have triggered embarrassment, anger and/or fury.  And yet, there are also those that have brought about joy and hearty laughter while others have been so treasured, bringing encouragement through the years.

How powerful are your words?

James 3:3-6 teaches…“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

In his Bible teaching series, Jeff Cavins expands on the above.  He points out that both a horse and a ship are large and yet it only takes a comparatively small item, a bit in the mouth of a horse and a little rudder on a ship, to direct and control the movement of each.  Jeff stresses that it is not the strong wind that directs a ship, but it is the pilot with the aid of a rudder.  He asks “How many times do we feel the strong wind pushing us, tempting us to strike back as the conversation gets hot?  Is the wind going to push us into an argument or will we control our tongue?”

Is it possible to control our tongues?  James 1:19 – 20  teaches My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 teaches “...Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 2627 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

So what does it take to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger?  St. Paul teaches that we need to engage in strict training and we need to run purposely, making our tongue our slave.  Christians can also ask for God’s gifts of grace, guidance and for perseverance so that we can continue on with our strict training and qualify for the prize until our end.

Matthew 12: 33-37 teaches “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

How powerful are your words?

God bless,


p.s. – Check for more of Jeff Cavin’s Bible Study material.

– Why don’t you take some time and “dive” into your Bible today…

3 Responses to “REFLECTION: How powerful are your words?”

  1. Pennie says:

    nod nod nod nod nod nod nod HAHAHA whoohoo you go girl.

    Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. Eph. 4:29

  2. Sharon says:

    Thanks Melissa.

    A powerful reminder for me to speak less …. and pray more often

  3. Eva says:

    Hi Melissa,

    That is a beautiful summary of wisdom for all of us! Thanks for sharing!

    God bless you!

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