You have to Say it to Believe it...
The apostle James tells us to tame the tongue.
We have sayings about people and their words:
Most of us are more impressed by actions than we are by words. That is because most of us have heard the talk before--and see no action arising out of broken promises uttered, even by the well-meaning. Yet the Bible teaches us that the highest and best we can be is when we believe deep in our hearts, and speak out what we are living. Here is how James says it:
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For, we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. James 3:1-2 NASB
The tongue needs to be tamed… All of us know it. I don't think I know anyone who has never "tripped over their lip!"
All have stumbled with this reality—we have said one thing and done another, or said things in haste (or by plan) that we came to regret, that wounded our friends, hurt our spouse or damaged our careers.
And yet the reverse is just as true—the tongue can also be a source of great joy--a word of encouragment, an inspiring thought, a moving story. For some reason that we cannot understand, God has created Words, and their use, to transform the earth. In fact, what most don't realize is that speaking, or even simply communicating is a defining feature of being human.
Birute Galdikas was the third of three women to live among primates, Jane Goodall being the most famous. She currently teaches at Simon Fraser University. She and her husband went to live among Orangutans in Borneo and Indonesia.
While living in the jungle, they had a son named Binti. There were no other humans for miles. So the lad’s playmates were Orangutans. And while they played together, Galdikas would watch their behaviour. She found herself asking, “What is it that separates a human from a primate?” The primates were smart creatures; they had feelings, and showed a sense of humor, even teasing play habits that her son learned by frolicking with them. There was much that was identical, a lot that was similar, and almost no difference between her one year old and theirs.
Then came a fateful day, when a magnificent event happened to her son.
He spoke words, reams and reams of them…
Language exploded out of the child—even though he was surrounded by non-verbal primates and had only ever heard words from the mouths of his mom and dad…
Now you need to know that Galdikas spoke to the primates just as much as she spoke to her son. One of her precious roles was to murture Orangutan babes that were orphaned. She would hold those Orangutan babes, cuddle them, sing to them, feed them and speak to them in the same way she spoke to her son… They had exactly the same conditions, in exactly the same context, with exactly the same stimulus.
The orangutans could imitate just about everything else, but simply could not utter a word.
Words were reserved for the human…
Words… We are made in the image of God, and the defining characteristic which is found in every human society, whether primitive jungle people or high-tech cultures, is that humans speak—they communicate abstract concepts, and through the use of words, share ideas to create things together.
We speak, and this enables us to create.
Just as God spoke in order to Create.
No other species under heaven can do that…
The power of Words is what shapes the culture, the sciences, the arts, the workplace, the congregation’s life, and even your salvation…
Our words shape our destiny…
God entered the human condition in Jesus and he was called “The Word”
So God commands us to carefully shape the words we speak—for the power of life and death lies in the power of the words we speak.
The Bible tells us that it not enough to just believe something. We need to speak out what we believe to seal whatever we are thinking within.
The aposlte James begins gives a stern warning to anyone who would be a teacher of the Word. The Word-Teacher must live the Word, or the Judgment on that teacher will be far worse than on someone who holds his tongue…
The Words of a leader shape the destiny of a people. Words work their way into the inner ears of the hearers, and prod emotions, shape decisions and hammer out convictions about what must be done (or undone). We are made in the image of the One who spoke and caused the World to come into existence. Jesus, the Son of God is called The Word! The Reina Valera Translation in Spanish captures this better than most.
“In the Beginning was the Verb,”
Jesus is the Action Word! For Jesus is God in action!
Words shape our emotions. Words shape our believing—and our unbelief.
It is astonishing that our salvation hinges on whether or not we speak what we believe within. The Bible does not merely tell us to believe. It is not enough to simply hold a view within. The book of Romans quotes the teaching of Moses… Paul was referring to the power of the spoken Word…
But what does [Moses] say? “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the Word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation…
Do you see the power of Words? Believing in your heart is imperative (and required)—and by itself is insufficient. Now let’s be clear. If you don’t believe, your speaking about your faith is useless—at best a deception, at worst a lie.
The Bible says we must believe—and that the process that leads to believing is hearing the Word preached. It also says that once you have believed, your behavior starts to change. It also says that you are not saved unless you speak out loud or declare to others in whatever way you are able, that you believe in the death, and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the grave.
So--speak what you believe--and your faith will be started...
© David Chotka 2020