The power of words
Words. We all use them all day every day. Some of us more than others. You might be a listener more than a talker, but words are a huge part of our daily lives. Used as a weapon, they can be more painful than a physical wound, and the effects can linger for our entire lives. Used positively, and they can bring healing and encouragement unlike any medication the doctor could prescribe.
Most of us can carry on a conversation without too much thought or contemplation. We communicate all day at work about our jobs, in meetings and on the phone. We chat with our spouse and our friends and find it relaxing to banter back and forth and update each other on what’s happening in our own little corners of the world.
We do it all day every day and don’t really think about the value of the spoken or written word. The ability to communicate with words sets us apart from all other species of beings on the planet. And what kind of world would we live in if we didn’t have books to read?
When God created the heavens and the earth, what did He use? Words! The Bible tells us in Genesis 1 that God repeatedly “said…” Look around you. Everything you see, when traced back to it’s origins, was created with faith-filled words.
Words carry tremendous power. I bet every single one of us can instantly recall something that was said to us at some point in our lives, either positive or negative, that still has an effect on us today. Perhaps someone close to you pronounced something negative over you and you’ve hard a very hard time seeing yourself any differently. Or, maybe someone offered you a word of encouragement that gave you the courage to take an action that changed your life.
What does the Bible “say” about words?
Many things in the Bible come to us through speaking words, including our salvation. Romans 10:9-10 says that if we confess with our mouth (i.e. say it out loud) and believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved. We encourage and lift one another up through words. We sing songs, which are words set to music.
Why are words so vital to our health, our every day lives, even our existence? The Bible has much to “say” about it, so let me share a few examples with you:
Matthew 12:37 – “For by your words shall you be justified, and by your words shall you be condemned.”
Psalm 119:140– ” Your word is very pure, therefore your servant loves it.”
Psalm 119:89– “Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven.”
Proverbs 6:2– “You are snared with the words of your mouth, you are taken with the words of your mouth.”
Psalm 52:2– “The tongue deviseth mischiefs, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.”
Proverbs 21:23– “Whose keepeth his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
James 3:6– “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so the the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell.”
James 3:8– “But the tongue no man can tame, it si an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Proverbs 12:18– “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Proverbs 15:4– “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life; but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”
Proverbs 18:21– “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Clearly, the Bible isn’t silent about words. And just as clearly, it shows us that they are powerful. They can and will bring life or death.
What are you saying?
And who chooses the words we speak? We do.
Each of us has total control over what comes out of our mouth at any given moment. The problem is, we often just don’t pay attention.
We say things like, “that scared me to death.”
“I’m just dying to go.”
“Doesn’t that thrill you to death?”
Why don’t we say, “doesn’t that thrill you to life?” It doesn’t even sound right, does it?
The world we live in has death programmed into it–it happened in the garden of Eden when Adam and Even sinned. And if we aren’t aware of it, we will move right along in the current of that system and cooperate with the dominant law of sin and death. (see Romans 8:1-2.)
So what can we do? And how can we get out from under the curse of the law that’s in the earth? (see Galatians 3:13-14).
Spoiler alert: With our words.
God’s word, and our words that line up with what He says, will always dominate the law of sin and death (i.e world system we all currently live in) .. We just have to become aware of what we are saying. We can even use words to create our own future. Yes- it’s true!
What you choose to say is important
Which do you think is better?
To say, “I will never be able to have the kind of house I really want–I just can’t afford it.”
Or, “I am enjoying living in my debt-free dream home.”
And, “I’m just not a very healthy person. I get sick all the time.”
Or, “I am strong and healthy and in the best shape of my life.”
Try out each phrase and see how they affect you.
It may sound a little strange at first to say something like that. And your mind may argue with you and tell you that what you just said isn’t true, because you may be able to look around you and see that you are definitely not living in your dream home. You may be drowning in debt. You may be feeling really sick today.
But guess who’s words you will believe more than anyone else’s on the planet? (Even God’s!) Your own. You are programmed to believe yourself. And if you keep saying something over and over, eventually you start to believe it.
And if it agrees with what God says in the scriptures, then there is power in it to cause the result you are seeking to come to pass.
The progression of the process
Maybe you don’t like the way you look right now. Maybe you wish you were thinner or more photogenic.
So you start saying every day, “I am fit and firm and muscular. I weigh ____ pounds. I am beautiful inside and out. I look great and feel great in my clothes.”
After a week or two, it does’t sound quite so strange and impossible. After about a month, it kinda starts sounding normal, and you start to believe that it could be true. Keep going, and you begin to imagine yourself that way and it starts becoming more and more real. You begin to see yourself thinner and more toned and trim.
The next thing you know, you are taking action to make it happen. You are imagining what it feels and looks like to be at a healthy weight. Your words are no longer working against you and you feel hopeful, and there is a strength in you that you didn’t feel before.
Pulling down strongholds
If this is sounding a little crazy, go back up and review the scriptures at the beginning of this post. It does sound strange at first to start saying things that, when put up against current circumstances, are clearly not true.
But this is the beauty and power of speaking daily affirmations! They have the power to change your life and circumstances.
What the Bible has to say about what you say is enough for me, but if you need more, look at the psychology/counseling field. Positive affirmations are used in some forms of treatment for depression, and are also used in multiple 12-step rehabilitation programs.
Why? Because they work! Speaking positive words over yourself can help to rewire our brains to break negative thought patterns. In the Bible these are called “strongholds.” Yourdictionary.com defines a stronghold as “a place where a particular belief or ideology is firmly believed and staunchly defended.” There can be good strongholds, such as the mindset that says “nothing will stop me when I put my mind to something,” but nearly 80% of our self-talk is negative. These negative patterns and mindsets are what hold us back in life.
Reversing that and speaking positively to yourself more than 80% of the time can be life-changing. Positive words increase the amount of feel-good hormones in our brains. Positive words and thoughts lead to positive emotions, which can then in turn lead to improved mental and physical health.
How it has worked for me
I have struggled with health issues, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. I’ve wanted to change or add things to my home that seemed impossible without going into debt. Since I’ve learned to focus my words and base what I say in what the Bible says about me and who I am in Christ, I’ve seen some amazing things happen!
- I have more energy now than I did in my 20s
- I haven’t had a panic attack in years
- I now exercise regularly, after trying and failing for years
- My thinking has changed so that I can finally remove self-imposed limits off of my dreams and goals
- I have a beautiful flagstone walkway in front of my house–something that should have cost $20,000, but we paid only a fraction of that.
- Our savings account has significantly increased
- My confidence has improved
Changes are continuing to happen and I’m expecting some great things this year! But this didn’t all happen just because I said something one day and then went back to either speaking negatively or even just saying nothing at all. I have made a habit of speaking my declarations regularly–on the daily. You won’t overcome a lifetime of negative thought by just saying something once or on occasion when a wave of optimism hits.
But you CAN change what you say and how you think, and see your life change as a result. Pretty exciting, right?!?
Tips for getting started
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are formulating your new affirmations:
- Make your statements positive. Rather than saying, “I will not smoke any more cigarettes,” say, “I am free from the desire to smoke cigarettes and I can breathe deeply and freely at all times.”
- Based your affirmations on scripture. Any positive statements are good, but when you have a scripture to back it up, it adds an element of power and truth that can accelerate your results. For instance, I Peter 2:24 days, “by His stripes you were healed.” Knowing this, you can confidently declare over yourself, “I am healthy and strong in my body and free of all sickness and disease.”
- Make your affirmations present-tense. “I am in the best shape of my life,” instead of, “I will be in better shape by next year.”
- Base your affirmations on your goals (Don’t have any? We will talk about this soon!) For example, “I am at my goal weight of 125 lbs.”
- Decide on a set time each day that you will speak your affirmations. I do mine while I am on the treadmill. It helps to pass the time and it also energizes me and gets me excited about working out! You may find that doing them while putting on your make-up works for you, or when you first get out of bed in the morning while you are drinking that first cup of coffee. The key is to tie them to something or some time when you know you can be consistent.
Sample affirmations to help you begin
Need a little help getting started? I”m going to give you 10 starter statements below. Personalize them to fit your specific situation, and feel free to add as many of your own as you like! There is no maximum on what you can say over yourself and once you start to see results, you will likely want to have affirmations for multiple areas of your life!
- I am strong and healthy and in the best shape of my life.
- I have an excellent memory, and I remember everything except that which I choose to forget
- I am highly favored by God and I am always in the right place at the right time to be blessed.
- I am full of energy and I feel great all day long
- I have a fast metabolism and I am at my goal weight of 123 lbs.
- I have a marriage made in heaven.
- My entire home is clean, organized, updated, renovated, and decorated at all times.
- I am a woman of strong faith and I have the wisdom of God to make the best decisions.
- I am enjoying a debt-free lifestyle
- I walk in love at all times and avoid strife at all costs
And there you have it! 10 statements, scriptures, and lots of tips that you can customize to fit your life and use to create the future that you want! I can’t wait to hear how they work for you!