We are what we say!

I return today to a subject I have spoken about before, as I have gained fresh insights about it, I’m keen to share those with you. One of the most important verses in the Bible and one most frequently overlooked in the Church is found in Proverbs 18:21 and says:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

& James 3:8 informs us that

“No human being can tame the tongue, … a restless evil, full of deadly poison…”

So today in the moments left to me, I want to share with you this message, which I have entitled ….

We are what we Say!

Apart from sin, one thing that’s sure to bring sickness or failure to a Christian is “wrong talk.” A lot of Christians don’t have a problem with sin but with their mouths. In fact, the sin problem they have is the wrong use of their tongue. In fact that’s what has kept many back in their Christian walk, and brought many down under the bondage and baggage of sin again.

You Are Your Own Responsibility, and you are responsible for the way in which you use your tongue, especially if you are a Christian. The apostle James is a very practical Christian, I like him, and I like the straightforward way in which he “calls a spade a spade.” Speaking of the tongue, he likens it to the “rudder” of a great ship. (v4) We all know that the rudder is a small thing, hidden under the water level, but something seemingly so insignificant, can control, can steer a great ship through any sea to a safe harbour. And so it is with the tongue, it has a controlling, steering influence on life,- without proper handling, it can take the vessel of ones life and land it on “the rocks”. Has your tongue ever gotten you into trouble? Again James likens the tongue to a spark, or a fire, and reminds us that it only takes a small spark to set a whole Forest ablaze! (James 3:5) He also likens the tongue to the bit and bridle of which a man may control a strong horse!

What he is pointing out is that even though the tongue is a very small and comparatively insignificant member of the body, and is mostly hidden from sight, it nevertheless can cause a great deal of damage and trouble, if it is not kept under control.
Why would a man or woman, find Christ, begin to follow and serve him, grow and move forward, only for life to suddenly begin to spiral downwards and end up in a ditch? Don’t blame it on the family, society, economic forces, or the government, -these may be contributory factors, but with a close examination, you may discover that their “negative thinking” which results in “negative speaking” has brought them into “negative living”.

The Bible says “As a man thinketh in His heart so is he”

( Prov.23:7) and again “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” ( Matthew 12:34 ) in other words, what is in, must come out! Knock over a glass of wine, and wine will stain the carpet, not tea, not coffee, the stain will be a wine stain, for what was in, came out. What is it, that comes out, when you or I receive a knock? When things don’t go the way we planned, when someone drives into our parking space ahead of us, or a lorry splashes water all over us as we stand at a Street Crossing, or we get a flat tyre on the most dangerous bend in the road, or the postman puts next doors mail in your letter box, or the children let you down when you’re trying to impress, or the rain wont let up when you don’t have an umbrella? In times like these, what ways do you express yourself? Even in private when you hit your thumb with the hammer, or the lawn mower takes the toe from your shoe… what do you say, and would you, could you repeat it to me? What is in, must come out! Do you sometimes forget you represent God as his child, and your speech should always be “gracious: seasoned with salt.”


I am old enough to remember the days before we had “refrigerators” when we preserved our meat, fish and poultry in salt. Salt preserves good, and halts decay. Let me repeat that:

Salt preserves good, and halts decay. Does what you say, preserve only that which is good, and halt decay, or deterioration in your manner of conversation with others?

James 3:8 informs us that “No human being can tame the tongue, (it is) a restless evil, full of deadly poison” which shows us just how easily our words, and our way of speaking, can poison a situation, can poison the life and reputation of another, and can poison our own lives. My dear friends, and my dear Christian friends especially, like the Psalmist we need to pray “Lord, set a watch over my lips, and keep the door of my mouth” ( Psalm 141:3) for unguarded and careless words, can destroy life.

Words, unlike a written statement, cannot be withdrawn, altered or improved on, once they have escaped from your vocal chords, they are out in the open for ever. What you’ve said, you’ve said! You may apologise for it, but the records stands. So then we need to guard carefully and prayerfully every word we speak. Jesus warned that God will hold us responsible and answerable for every idle word. (Matthew 12:36)

I spoke a moment ago about “negative thinking, negative speaking and negative living” and although these are not my Sermon Outlines today, they do require a little further consideration, in the light of our text from Proverbs 18:21.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

This is a most important principle for you and I to grasp. This is why I have called my sermon, We are what we Say!
The proverb says that this is a matter of life and death, literally!

I know a man, who is just a few years older than I am. He looks and acts like an old man, yet he is not old. I know him very well, and have spent hours in his company, but I rarely have heard him say anything that is Positive. Even in the recent sunny weather when I want to walk on the beach, and sit in the garden, his remarks were “there’s a nipping breeze today” or “this weather won’t last long”. He tells me that he has (and I quote) “enjoyed poor health all his life” … of course he has, for by his own confession that’s what he enjoys! He has few friends, rarely any visitors, for he is constantly finding fault with others. He never smiles, he rarely laughs, and his whole existence is the fruit of negative thinking, negative speaking, and negative living!

Do you know someone like this? Could it be possible that you yourself bear a striking resemblance? Do you imagine for one moment that Jesus was anything like that. I know “He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa 53:3) but the one who said “I am the life” had a different philosophy, a wholly different way of thinking. I have on my desk a little plaque which reads, Nothing Negative Never!

What a wonderful way to live, I think our Blessed Lord embodied that kind of life-style, don’t you?

Don’t say anything negative ever, especially to your Children.

Many a young life has been damaged by phrases like “You’ll never amount to much”, “your no good at anything”, “you’re a blot on the landscape”. – Such negativity destroys hope and kills ambition in a young heart.

Just as it is possible to endure a negative life-style as a result of negative talk, it is possible to live a positive fruitful life, by speaking positively. Our Christian Faith should motivate and move us to think only the best, to aim at the highest and excellence in all things. It is time for the Church-going Christian to show up, stand up and speak up for the Saviour. Time to work the word in your life – to start putting to work the things we have learned. It’s time for you to make your move!

God has put a Creativity into our mouths, so that like him, we may function and flow according to his word in our mouth.

Do you realize that you may Speak into your future.

Locate the Word of God concerning you and speak it out. Speak forth the Word: keep saying it. Your Talk and Conversation can determine Your Future! Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 17:20: “…verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ( a small seed) ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Someone said to me “Oh that was just for the disciples” Guess who said it? – The Devil!

Jesus didn’t just speak these fantastic words, He proved them. And these words let you know you’re in greater control of your life than you think. Most people don’t understand this and they don’t believe it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

Whether you believe the Word of God, or not, or whether you believe the Gospel, or not, does not change it. If you are standing in the middle of the Motorway, and I shout to you,

that a Lorry is coming, you may well reply, “I don’t believe in Lorries”- but that won’t stop the Lorry or make it go away!

The life you’re living today is the exact picture you painted with your words yesterday.

Don’t say, “Oh God, bring it to pass.” No! Understand God’s ways, the principles for life and living laid down in His Word. The Psalmist said the children of Israel knew the acts of God but Moses knew the ways of God (Psalm 103:7). What I am teaching right now is one of the ways of God. Step Into It!
You’re the one responsible for bringing about the prophecies in your life. “How?” you ask. By stepping into the word God has given and promised you! Until the priests stepped into the waters of the Jordan, it didn’t part. Then again, a stepping into that water at the wrong time and in the wrong way could have gotten them all drowned in the water. But thank God, they stepped in when God said to, and the Jordan parted just as He had prophesied to them.

The prophet said about Jesus, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7) When Jesus was to step into that, He didn’t pray, “O God, you should make it happen!” He said, “I’ve come to do thy will, oh God” (Hebrews 10:7).
If you study Job’s story carefully, you’ll observe that God wasn’t the one trying or testing him. God wasn’t the one who brought evil upon Job’s life. He (Job) brought it upon himself through his words. Job was responsible for the catastrophe. The devil couldn’t inflict those terrible disasters on him until Job broke the hedge of protection God had placed around him.

(Job 1:9-10). It wasn’t God who broke that hedge.
Even though he was a wonderful, righteous man who God loved and bragged about, he lived in fear and unbelief. Job said things like, “I’m not safe. I don’t know what my children are up to right now. Those children will be the death of me!”(Job 3:25).
Have you heard people talk like this? And they wonder why their lives are full of ups-and-downs. You have to keep your distance from such people. And if you are like that, you have to change. Otherwise, in a short time from now, you will be somewhere you won’t like!

Your words can make you or break you. Remember our text …

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

We should remember that just like Job, Satan can hear our words also. God listens to our thoughts and our words, and there are some things I never pray about out loud, but in the silence of my heart I make those things known to God.

Satan does not know what we are thinking, ……

………but he does hear what we are saying!

Be careful about what you say, even in jest, you could be designing your own future and you could be revealing your weaknesses to your “arch enemy” the Devil. It is easy for us to “call our own” things that we never intended or wished were our own. I am trying every day to get out of the habit of saying, or declaring certain things to be mine! Even by saying “I have a headache” declares that it is in your possession, you have it, it belongs to you, and what you have you hold! Do you see how you can hand Satan an opportunity to pull you down. Are you calling Cancer, “my cancer”, Are you calling Arthritis, “my arthritis” are you calling your back pain “my back pain”? If so you are acknowledging ownership of it – I accept nothing that doesn’t come to me from God. I simply refuse to accept it, and if it’s a pain or an ache, or worse, it goes when I refuse to own it. That doesn’t mean that the Devil wont send me the symptoms, but like an unwelcome piece of junk mail, I don’t open it up – I throw it out -I give it no life!

Satan’s only weapon is that of “deception” but if he can deceive you into thinking negatively and speaking negatively he gains a foothold in your mind. Before long that deception can produce the Spirit of Fear. All FEAR comes from the devil. God has not given his children a spirit of fear, but of Power, Love and a Sound Mind. ( 2 Tim. 1:7 ) The Demon of Fear, in my opinion, is the greatest enemy of the Child of God. It can lead to Obsession, Obsession can lead to Oppression, Oppression can result in Depression, Depression can cause Recession in the Christian walk, and before long Fear can take Possession of the Christian life – the Child of God. This renders the Christian ineffective in the hand of God, and thus bearing “no fruit”. Remember, our text reminds us that …

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

But let us not dwell on the “death or hopeless effects” of our words, rather let us consider the “fruits” of positive confession, and of a positive testimony. The apostle Paul writing to the Ephesian Church urges them to ….

“… be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Eph 5: 18&19

In this exhortation, Paul was encouraging the believers to speak only those things that were “praise-worthy”. I believe this is why he uses the words, “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs“.

He is telling them to speak to one another in the same way that they would speak to God. We Praise God for the things that are worthy of Praise, the things that enrich and benefit our lives, the things that make our days pleasing and joyful and the things that bring us happiness, contentment and fulfilment. If you don’t have topics of conversation, then ponder these wonderful things and talk about them. If you cannot find anything good to say about the world or the people in it, you would be better not to say anything at all. Your Silence on the matter can never be repeated, or misunderstood.

When King David learned about the death of Saul and Jonathan, and as he mourned over their loss, he decreed that their fall should not be published, even spoken about in the streets. 2 Samuel 1:20

In spite of the fact that King Saul had pursued David, and tried to kill him, David knew that Saul was still the “anointed of God” still the ” apple of Gods eye”, (as are all his anointed)

and he would not have any gossip or loose talk about any such.

Today, when Gods anointed fall, or when Gods ministering servants fail, it is the current delight of the “gossip-mongers”

and in every church across our land the tongues will wag!

Such idle words must break the heart of God, as they do mine.

We need to be careful that we don’t categorize some practices, or victimise some sinners or some sin, as more heinous or more despicable than that of others? Into this error some of our Churches have fallen, but all sin is a transgression of Gods law… and as Jesus taught us,

“let the one that is without sin, throw the first stone”!

Of course there is a time to speak up, and to speak out, for what is right and against what is wrong, – but there is also a time for silence, and a time to “speak the truth in Love” May God give us all the wisdom to know WHAT to say, WHEN to say it, and WHEN to keep silent….

(especially when we don’t know what we are talking about!)

Now this final Word

Gladys Aylward, just a little godly woman, tells of how as a Young Girl, God called her to go as a Missionary to China. This is what she says …. “I felt God was calling me to go to China, and the day came when I told my Father of this. “And what do you think you’re going to do?” he asked ” You can’t teach, can you?” (No I can’t, she said) “and you can’t nurse, can you?” (No I can’t, she said) “Oh go on, get out, all you can do is talk!” Gladys says: I went out into the little passage-way at the bottom of the stairs, and well, had a little weep. He didn’t understand, my Father, bless him, but then God hadn’t called him, he had called me! And sitting there at the foot of the stairs, his words went round and round in my head “all you can do is talk” and I said “Oh Lord Jesus, I’ll go to China, and I’ll talk, and I’ll talk, and I’ll talk, and I’ll talk, but it will be for you!” No one, least of all my dear Father, knew just how true his words would become, for from that very moment onwards, God put words in my mouth, and I have talked solidly ever since!” She says.

Gladys Aylward was perhaps one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to the Church in China, and thousands, particularly thousands of those incarcerated in the prisons, came to know Jesus Christ through a little woman’s preaching and a little woman’s “talk”.

What about your talk, what do you talk about?

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

What sort of fruit do your words, and my words produce?

And that’s Something to think about – God Bless You