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A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words

Words have power! Did you know that? As a matter of fact, in the third chapter of James, the writer compares the tongue to a flame of fire. Now, why would he compare that tiny organ, which God so carefully placed inside your mouth to assist with eating and speaking, to fire?

It’s safe to assume we all know what fire is. So, what does fire do? For one, a fire can provide light. Now, we are living in the 21st century where we use light bulbs to see. But, what if the power goes out for whatever reason? You use your cell phone, you say? But, what if your phone dies and you have no way of charging it because there’s no power? You use a flashlight? Yeah, but what if you don’t have any batteries for the flashlight? What do you do then? You can use a match or a lighter and light some candles, and the little flames that appear will provide you with the light you need.

Besides providing light, a fire can also provide heat for keeping you warm and for cooking your food. However, if something goes wrong with that fire, those same flames that were giving you light and heat can get out of control and cause considerable damage, even destruction. People have lost homes, businesses, cars, valuable items, and, unfortunately, loved ones, due to an out of control fire.

James 3:6 (New Living Translation) says:

“And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body…..”

Although very small, the human tongue is capable of doing some serious damage, even total destruction. Why?! Words have POWER!

When an individual has power, he or she has the ability to make things happen or to get something done. A person with power has authority or even control over an individual or a group of people. Power can also refer to having might or strength. Therefore, God designed words to have power! How do I know? Let’s go back to the beginning. In Genesis chapter one, the sun, moon, stars, sky, ocean, grass, trees, flowers, and animals were all formed by God. HOW??? God simply spoke WORDS. Genesis 1:3 (King James Version) says:

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Then verse 11 says:

“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.”

In other words, it HAPPENED… happened just as God said it would.

Verses 26 and 27 say:

“26 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.

27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

As the verses state, we are created in God’s image and likeness. Thus, the words we speak are also designed to carry authority or weight. Consider the first man Adam. According to Genesis 2:19, God gave Adam authority to name all the animals. Although God created them, He allowed Adam to determine what each animal would be called. Whatever Adam named each animal, God approved it. So, just like Adam, our words have power. Therefore, God teaches us in His Word to be mindful of what we speak. Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version) says:

“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.”

God doesn’t want His children speaking words which are corrupt or unhealthy to those who hear them. Rather, He wants us using words that will help someone. For example, a few weeks ago, a well-known pastor received a lot of backlash during the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Because he has a very large ministry, he was accused of not coming to the aid of flood victims as quickly as he should have. Even after he opened the doors of his church, many people still attacked him.

He was accused of being selfish, money hungry and a false prophet. He was basically called everything but a child of God——even a demon!

Honestly, the things people said about this particular man disturbed me. I wasn’t so much bothered by non-believers, but by those who profess to be believers in Christ. Why? Instead of just using their words to uplift and pray for this man and for the flood victims, they spent valuable time using their words to try to tear him down, especially on social media.

Whether a person is right or wrong, God still holds us responsible for what we say. So, I encourage you to be mindful of your words. Recognize that the words you speak carry much power or weight. Do you want God to hear you using your words for evil or for good?

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!


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  1. Praise God! Strong and encouraging words. We shall speak truth and life into ourselves and those around us!

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