"Choose Life or Death"

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By: Angela Parsley

Proverbs 18:21, “Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose.” (Message)

I want you to take just a minute right now and think really hard about every word that has come out of your mouth today. Are you brave enough to make a list? If you are like most people, we do not realize how much power is in our tongues. With the tongue we have the power to make or break someone’s day.

There is an old saying that goes, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I am not sure who wrote this or the situation that they were in, but personally, I would rather take a stick beating than a word beating any day. Wounds on the outside of the body heal, but emotional wounds can stay with us for our entire life if we let them.

Girl, the world is a very hard place to live! Especially because there are so many mean girls who know just the right words to say to get to you or affect you in a negative way. They realize the power they have and use it for evil. We may not be able to change them but we have the power over our own tongues and the way we use them.

In James 3:8 the Bible calls the tongue, “a restless evil full of deadly poison.” If we chose to submit to the flesh we will not have anything nice to say. The tongue is naturally bent on evil. But when we are Christians, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. If we surrender our words to Him, He can use them for good.

Here is a practical example of ways you can use “life giving” words. A missionary named Amy Carmichael would ask herself three simple questions before speaking.

First, Is it kind?
Second, Is it true?
And lastly, Is it necessary?

I love that practical list. If we could censor our words by simply asking these three questions we would be much better off. Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (NIV). Proverbs 10:19 also states, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (NIV).

Ladies, it is so important that we learn to submit our words to God. We need to first desire to speak life into people and situations. There are so many people who are speaking death and causing emotional wounds which last years. Let us be different in this area of our lives. You never know how God will use it someday in the life of others.


Father, You created the world and all of existence with Your words. You have given us power with our words as well. Help us to use them in a way that is pleasing to You. Let them build others up and not tear them down. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Related Resources:

Wise Up, by Rebecca Ingram Powell

A Young Woman’s Walk with God: Growing More Like Jesus, by Elizabeth George

Think About It:

Who do you come in contact with whom you can influence with your words?

If all of your conversations were recorded and played back to you, what would you hear? How would that make you feel?

Live It:

Choose a day this week and journal the words you speak and the words that are spoken to you that day. You will be surprised at what you find out with this exercise.

Give a compliment to five people today.

Power Verses:

Proverbs 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (NIV)

Ephesians 4:29-30, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Angela Parsley. All rights reserved.

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