By Joy Haney
The power of a spoken word is utterly phenomenal! Words start wars, words spoken with intensity can cause someone to kill, words spoken with forgiveness heal, words help build bridges between people or erect walls, words are the most effective tools owned by men and women.
Words are like prairie fires. Once started, they are difficult to stop. Words have the power to touch the mind, heart, spirit and soul of a person. They can be as icicles, or warm as apple pie. Words can be like razors, sharp and dangerous, or they can be soft as the fur of a kitten.
If words are so powerful, why is it that more people do not give additional attention to them, not only to the words that are said, but also to the spirit in which they are spoken’? One word can be spoken many different ways and have a different meaning by how it is spoken. The word “hello” can be spoken curtly or friendly, in a sarcastic manner or a hateful way. It can be spoken timidly or boldly. It can be spoken any way a person feels.
There was a day when two men felt positive faith in their God and spoke it. `And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).
“We are well able to overcome it!” Words spoken that day did not die in the ears of the Lord. God remembered what Caleb had spoken and He had a few words to say about him later: “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it” (Numbers 14:24).
Caleb spoke words, God heard them, and He rewarded them. All of Caleb’s friends died in the wilderness, except, of course, Joshua, but the two men who spoke faith lived on for many years.
Listen to Caleb forty years later. He was still speaking like a winner: `As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said” (Joshua 14:11-12).
What Caleb asked of Joshua, he received just as he had spoken! Spoken words affect our future, our families, our happiness, and even our health.
Dr. Cho relates a powerful story of the effect of speech on the body in his book, The Fourth Dimension. One morning as he was eating breakfast with one of Korea’s leading neurosurgeons, who was telling him about various medical findings on the operation of the brain, the doctor said these words: “Dr. Cho, did you know that the speech center in the brain rules over all the nerves? According to our recent findings in neurology, the speech center in the brain has total dominion over all the other nerves.” He said that the speech nerve center had such power over all of the body that simply speaking can give one control over his body, to manipulate it in the way he wishes. He said, “If someone keeps on saying, `I’m going to become weak,’ then right away, all the nerves receive that message, and they say, `Oh, let’s prepare to become weak, for we’ve received instructions from our central communication that we should become weak.’ They then in natural sequence adjust their physical attitudes to weakness.”‘
The opposite must be true when positive words of faith are spoken. After prayer is made over a health condition and the Word is read, then the mouth should start confessing with conviction these words: “I am healed according to I Peter 2:24. Strength is coming into my body. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God is healing me; every organ in my body is receiving healing power. I am healed in Jesus’ name!”
Speak it in the morning, in the noontime, throughout the day, in the evening and at night. Speak only positive faith in the face of negative facts and doubt, for in the Scriptures we are instructed to speak!
In The Beginning
The principle of the spoken word began at Creation. Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The third verse indicates how He did it. The earth was without form, or void, and God spoke the world into existence. He spoke, “Let there be,” and there was. As He spoke, “Let there be fowls in the air,” a bird began to fly. The power of the spoken word was demonstrated in great fashion.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm 33:6, 9
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was so.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The Scenario Of Creation Taken From Genesis 1:1-27
Notice God not only created the world by the spoken word, but He also spoke to that which He created:
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. Genesis 1:22, 28-30
Speech Is Communication
Speaking not only creates things, but it also communicates ideas and thoughts. After God created man, He communicated with him in strong language not to eat of the forbidden fruit. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”(Genesis 2:16-17).
Even though Adam and Eve did eat of the forbidden fruit, and death entered into their body, the principle of speaking did not die. There is power in the spoken word.
Jesus substantiated this principle in Mark 11:22-23: “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
What prompted Jesus to say this? It began when Jesus and His disciples had left Bethany, and Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree in the distance, but when He arrived to pick some figs off the tree, there were no figs, only leaves. “And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it” (Mark 11:14).
Notice the phrase, “And Jesus answered and said unto it.” My question is, “What was the tree saying to Jesus?” It was speaking something, because Jesus answered it. Jesus addressed the tree. He spoke to the tree and called it a tree.
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. When they arrived at the city, they went to the Temple, where there was much selling and merchandising. This angered Jesus and He overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those that sold doves. That is when He spoke those immortal words, “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17).
That evening Jesus and His disciples left Jerusalem, and it was the next morning after their departure when they saw something strange. “And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away” (Mark 11:20-21).
It was a tree that had received orders or direct communication from Jesus, who has all power in heaven and in earth. Jesus spoke simply but with authority.
Communication needs to be such in each of our lives. It is said that precise communication becomes vitally important between tower and cockpit at the airport. A controller is forbidden to tell a pilot to “hold for takeoff.” The mere mention of “takeoff” could trigger a response in the mind of the pilot and cause him to throw the throttles open prematurely. The correct command: “Taxi into position and hold.” Because lives are at stake communication is vital.
It is the same in everyday life; the destiny of lives is determined by words that are spoken. Relationships are determined by spoken words. Speaking positive is imperative for healthy, optimistic living. We must learn to speak well!
Jesus Always Spoke
When Jesus saw a need, He was moved with compassion but did not remain silent. He spoke. He changed things by what He spoke.
Jesus spoke to the demons:
Mark 9:25: “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”
Jesus spoke to the winds:
Matthew 8:26-27: `And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Jesus spoke to the spirit of infirmity:
Luke 13:12: “And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.”
Jesus spoke to dead people:
John 11:43: “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.”
Mark 5:39-41: “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.”
In both cases, the dead responded and life came back into their bodies. He spoke breath back into them.
He Told Us To Speak To Our Mountains
Jesus said we could speak to our mountains and they would be gone, but who believes this and is practicing this principle? “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done” (Matthew 21:21).
A mountain can represent a difficult trial, hardship, or anything that looms before us with potential impossibilities. It would be impossible to move a mountain unless one used dynamite and bulldozers.
Jesus said that words of faith could act like dynamite to blow away the things that are impossible to move any other way. If Jesus said it, then it is true.
I remember and have told this story in other books, but it fits here to demonstrate the power of words of faith. In the 1990s a cyst was discovered in the front part of my neck. After a biopsy was performed, it swelled to the size of a small lemon underneath the skin.
I went to a ladies’ retreat in Missouri and while there prayer was made for me concerning this growth. After prayer a lady minister said, “The work is done.” So from that point on, when someone would ask me about my cyst, I would say, “I am healed. It is gone,” even though the growth was still there.
Then in my prayer time I would speak to the cyst and tell it to dry up and leave: to go in Jesus’ name! I continued to speak faith to others, and continued to speak to the cyst at odd times. I would be combing my hair and I would say, “Cyst, I command you to leave my body!”
Other times, I would be driving the car, and I would say, “I bind you, cyst, in Jesus’ name, and command you to go. I loose healing into my body.”
It went like this for about three months, when one day I woke up and it had disappeared. When I went back to the doctor he asked me what I had been doing, and I simply said, “We’ve been praying.”
In the beginning of the development of this cyst, he had told me that nothing could make the cyst go away except surgery. So this was a miracle to him and for me. Matthew 21:21 and Mark 11:23 became living words to my soul: they really did work!
We Are To Resist The Devil With Words
How did Jesus do this? He spoke to the devil and the devil spoke back to Him, but Jesus had the last word. The temptation came in the form of words. `And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3).
Jesus answered the devil with words from the Bible: “It is written.” Three times as Satan tried to beguile Jesus with words, Jesus said, “It is written,” and then quoted a portion of the Holy Writ.
His final answer: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him” (Matthew 10-11a).
We are promised that the devil will also leave us when we resist him: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Jesus gave example how to resist the devil and it was not through physical power, but it was through speaking the Word of God and then telling him to leave you alone. He will leave. It is promised in the Word.
In order to have this kind of power, there is the first part of verse 7 that must be obeyed: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” Then the power comes to resist the devil through speaking to him with God-given authority.
Jesus said in John 14:30: “for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
Arthur T. Pierson’s comments on this verse are note-worthy: “Every child of God ought to be able to look the devil squarely in the face and say: “You have nothing in me” no territory over which I acknowledge your dominion, none over my tongue, none over my temper, none over my will. You do not control me by greed; you do not control me by selfishness; you do not control me by worldliness. I am the Lord’s property. Be gone, thou seducer and tempter!’ Dispute him right on the border of your life over which he knows he has no control, if that life of yours is wholly God’s.”‘
A powerful story is told of how God worked Easter Sunday at a church in Western Tanzania. The Ibuga Christians had to meet outdoors because the buildings could not accommodate the people who attended. While they sang and worshiped, they had no idea of the calamity that was striking their neighborhood.
About the time they started their service, a huge lioness came from the forest wild and mad. Normally a lion would kill and eat, but she was only bent on killing. She dashed from house to house attacking everything in her path. She killed three goats, a cow, and then a woman and her child. As the cry of anguish arose, the lioness ran off in the direction of the Ibuga church meeting. The villagers said that now the “Mungu Mwena” (“God is good”) people will get it, for that lioness is headed directly for them.
“The congregation suddenly saw the creature only a few yards away. She stopped and growled furiously. The people quivered with shock! The preacher shouted, `Folks, don’t be afraid, the God who saved Daniel from the lions is here. The risen Christ of Easter is here.’ Then with a God-given faith and authority he turned to the lioness and said, ‘You lion, I curse you in the Name of Jesus Christ!’
“Then the most amazing thing happened. From the scattered clouds, though there had been no rain, nor was there any later, a bolt of lightning struck the lioness and she dropped dead in her tracks. The preacher ran and jumped up and down on the carcass and then used it as a platform to preach! ”
All power is in the name of Jesus and at the mention of that name the devils tremble. It is one of the most powerful weapons of the Spirit for a Christian to use.
Ephesians 1:21 describes the power of that name: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”
The name of Jesus is above principality, powers, dominion of kingdoms, and every name in the heavens and the earth. It is powerful and our enemy is terrified of it.
When growing up we used to sing in church a song entitled, “In the Name of Jesus.” The power of it is still the same today.
In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus,
We have the victory.
In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus,
Demons will have to flee.
Tell me who can stand before Him?
When we go in His great name!
Speak Something Into Existance
If you want something to be removed as discussed above you can speak to it in faith and it must go. Also if you need a miracle, or you need something to come into existence, you must speak it in prayer with faith in your heart. You can have whatever you say.
Notice in the following two verses of the psalm of David that the desire of the king’s heart was expressed through the speaking of his lips. Notice also that he received what he had spoken.
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. He asked life of thee, and thou gayest it him. Psalm 21:2, 4
This concept was true in the life of the prophet Elijah. After the contest on the mountain with the prophets of Baal, Elijah spoke a word that was ridiculous to the carnal ear. There had been no rain for three years, but God told Elijah that he would send rain: “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (I Kings 18:1).
So Elijah sent for the prophets of Baal and told them to come and see who served the true God. He wanted to demonstrate the power of His God and give them a chance to show what they could do. In the end he was the only one able to pray fire down from heaven.
After this he went and did what God told him to do: “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain” (I Kings 18:41).
He spoke it before it happened because of a word from God. Then he went to pray. Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel and put his face between his knees and prayed. He told his servant to go look at the sky. Each time he came back saying, “There is nothing.”
On the seventh time, the servant said, “I see a cloud the size of a man’s hand.” The rain came just as Elijah had spoken. It did not come at once, but he kept praying until he saw a sign and that was enough for Elijah.
“As thou has spoken” came to pass that day!
This was proven true in the life of Moses. He spoke to the Lord that he wanted to know Him and to find grace in His sight. Exodus 33:17 gives the Lord’s answer to Moses: ‘And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken.”
We must speak it before it happens!
Power In The Spoken Word
It is hard for some people to believe that there is power in the spoken word. Even Moses, the great leader and deliverer of the Israelite people, found it difficult to believe this. While they were wandering in the desert they came to Kadesh and there was no water. They were hot, thirsty and murmured against Moses, who went to God with his problem. This story is recorded in Numbers 20:7-12:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
God honored Moses because of his leadership position, but Moses only received a small portion of what he could have had, simply because he refused to speak to a rock. First of all, he was angry with the people. Maybe his anger caused him to hit the rock instead of speaking to it. Or maybe Moses did not want to be embarrassed in front of all the people by speaking to a rock. After all, what would you think if your pastor spoke to a rock and told it to send forth a river of water? Maybe Moses was not willing to be vulnerable in the eyes of the people. “What if it does not work?” he may have thought. “Then I really would have a problem.” No one would think it strange to hit a rock. Moses was angry, so he struck the rock.
The Old Testament records that God told Moses to speak to a rock. The New Testament records that Jesus said to speak to a mountain. In Moses’ case the rock was a literal rock. Jesus did not mean a literal mountain; He meant the mountainous situations that multiply before you in life. As Moses was punished for disobeying God, and did not receive his full promise, the same will be the lot of those who disobey the words spoken by Jesus. When He says speak, He means speak!
Speech Determines Your Future
The words of your mouth have control of your life. Whatever comes out of your mouth will determine your future. “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3).
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23). What you say is what you get!
James likened the tongue to a rudder on a ship. The rudder controls the direction of the ship; the tongue controls the direction of your life.
Consider the bit in the horse’s mouth. The bit is likened to the tongue. The bit controls the horse’s actions and directions he receives for wherever he is going. Likewise, the tongue directs a person’s life. The psalmist David prayed the following prayer: “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle” (Psalm 39:1).
No one else can ride the racing horse of passion and tumultuous thoughts that rear and buck within you. You are the only person to hold the reins and the bridle of your tongue. The bridle consists of the leather configuration that fits over the horse including the bit and the reins. The reins control the bit in the mouth of the horse, and that in turn controls the direction of the horse.
You are sitting on life, experiencing life, and in your hands you hold the power to bridle your tongue, and you are the only one who can do it. It is a must to make this a priority and to work at getting control over the tongue. The wrong words spoken can literally cause the mind to go through torture. This is summarized in the following poem:
“Bridle Your Tongue”
That speech, it hadn’t been gone half a minute
Before I saw the cold black poison in it;
And I’d have given all I had, and more,
To’ve only safely got it back indoor.
I’m now what most folks “Well-to-do” would call
I feel today as if I’d give it all,
Provided I through fifty years might reach
And kill and bury that half-minute speech.
Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds,
You can’t do that when you’re flying words.
Careful with fire, is good advice we know:
Careful with words, is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead,
But God Himself can’t kill them when they’re said.
Instead of letting our tongues flap in any direction, we need to have control over what we say. Therefore, we will save ourselves and others from hurt and pain. Speech is forever. It cannot be erased. Once it is gone, it flies like a bird into the air. The atmosphere pulsates with our words.
Life is hard enough without putting ourselves in misery by what we speak. Attention must be given to this very important area. To stop, think, and listen should be paramount in our communication with other people.
Since we are the only one who is in control of our speech, we need to speak the things that bring faith, health and happiness as stated in the following poem:
Talk happiness. The world is sad enough
Without your woe. No path is wholly rough;
Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of those, to rest the weary ear
Of earth, so hurt by one continuous strain
Of human discontent and grief and pain.
Talk faith. The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self
Say so. If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence, all your thoughts, till faith shall come:
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.
Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale
Of mortal maladies is more than stale.
One cannot charm, or interest, or please
By harping on that minor chord, disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Since speech determines our destiny and God is listening to every word we speak, we should be very careful of speaking anything that would displease Him. He has all power in heaven and in earth and if we speak the right words, powerful forces begin to work in our behalf.
The following story shares this truth: “Dr. John Baillie made it a practice to open his course on the doctrine of God at Edinburgh University with these words: `Gentlemen, we must remember that in discussing God we cannot talk about Him without His hearing every word we say. We may be able to talk to our fellows, as it were, behind their backs, but God is everywhere, yes, even in this classroom. Therefore, in all of our discussions we must be aware of His infinite presence and talk about Him, as it were, before His face.
Think of the things that make you happy,
Not the things that make you sad;
Think of the fine and true in mankind,
Not its sordid side and bad;
Think of the blessings that surround you,
Not the ones that are denied;
Think of the virtues of your friendships,
Not the weak and faulty side;
Think of the gains you’ve made in business,
Not the losses you’ve incurred;
Think of the good of you that’s spoken,
Not some cruel, hostile word;
Think of the days of health and pleasure,
Not the days of woe and pain;
Think of the days alive with sunshine,
Not the dismal days of rain;
Think of the hopes that lie before you,
Not the waste that lies behind;
Think of the treasures you have gathered,
Not the ones you’ve failed to find;
Think of the service you may render,
Not of serving self alone;
Think of the happiness of others,
And in this you’ll find your own?
Robert E. Farley
The article “What You Say Is What You Get” written by Joy Haney is excerpted from Power Of Speaking Positive written by Joy Haney.