Our words carry power. People often associate power with human size and strength, electrical voltage, big trucks, jet airplanes, and the suit sitting in the corner office. However, there is dimension of power that transcends those traditional perspectives. It is the power of our words. The Apostle James expounds on the power of words by comparing the tongue to a bridle that turns a horse, a rudder that steers a ship, and a spark that ignites a forest fire (James 3:1-12). Wow! That small physical attribute is really an instrument of power!
As leaders we must consider the influence of words in the spiritual and human atmosphere. There are three distinct powers of our words revealed by James’ writing. The first, to be addressed in this blog, is the power to DIRECT. James says that those who use words to teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). People will judge the words of a teacher more strictly than those who do not teach. It is the power of the pulpit. When you speak in group of 5 people or 500 people you bring immediate attention to the words you speak. People analyze your words, compare your words to your behavior, and receive your words as one speaking with a degree of authority.
Gifted speakers can direct nations. We have good and bad examples of word power in people like President Obama who evoked the mantra of ‘hope and change’ carrying this man with little leadership experience to the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world. People liked what he SAID! Winston Churchill, a former prime minister of the UK, invoked courage and strength to their nation in World War II as Germany bombed London on a daily basis. He said ‘we will never give up…we will never give up!’ People believed his words! Adolph Hitler turned the people of Germany toward believing in a ‘master race’ leading them to war against much of Europe and attempted annihilation of Jewish race. The nation was directed by his words. These are but a few poignant examples of the power of words to direct people, direct nations, and influence the spiritual atmosphere around them.
You may not lead a nation but you influence people. Whether it’s 5 or 500 you have word power!!! You have the power to bring words of grace and peace, spirit and truth, life and abundance. On the contrary, you have power to bring legalism and wrath, unholy spirits and false teaching, death and poverty. As you embrace the gospel of grace and peace through Jesus you will bring more words of life and less words of death. Words spoken with little forethought or consideration of their power can still direct those around you. Consider your words. Do they reflect the gospel of grace and peace? Do they bring life and hope to the people you lead? Do they speak life and abundance into the spiritual atmosphere? Do they direct people to worship in spirit and in truth? You have the power to DIRECT………the power of the tongue to turn people toward good news or bad news. Turn them toward the good news gospel!