If we want to start seeing the power of God manifest in our lives, we will have to start paying attention to what we say. Words have power—more than any of us realize, but we often speak them as though they are meaningless. Because of that, most believers at one time or another have been hung by their tongue.
Matthew 12:36-37 says,
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
“Every idle word” simply means nonproductive. These are words that you speak but don’t believe. For example, you might say, “I’m dying to see my grandchildren.” You really don’t mean you’re dying, but you say it anyway to emphasize the importance of the relationship.
Every time you say things that you don’t really mean, it begins to numb your heart. Unconsciously, each idle word is making it just a little bit harder to believe what you say will actually come to pass when you mean it and it really counts.
Jesus certainly understood the power of words, and He used them to change the natural things around him.
Mark 11:13-14 and 20-24 say,
“And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it…. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
I can almost hear the inflections in Peter’s voice when he said, “The fig tree You cursed is withered away.” I am sure it communicated surprise and disbelief. And when Jesus replied to Peter, it probably was not in a monotone voice. It was more like, “PETER! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” Jesus was amazed at his unbelief. He was saying, “It shouldn’t shock you to see this tree withered. Have faith in God.”
Then He went on to explain that this wasn’t limited to a fig tree. He used a mountain as an example, but I believe it could apply to anything. He was making the point that if we say it with our mouths and believe it in our hearts, we can have what we say.
He also made it very clear who qualified to use words in this way: He said, “whosoever shall say.” Are you a whosoever? Because if you are and if you’re breathing, then you’re qualified, and your words can affect the natural as well as the spiritual world.
Jesus used the word “say” or “saith” three times in verse 23. He was making it clear that words have power. But He also said to have faith in God. The words that have power are words that are filled with faith. And it’s important to understand that the faith they’re filled with is not your human faith.
Galatians 2:20 says,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
I’m aware that the NIV says “faith in the son of God.” But when you study this out, it becomes very clear that it is talking about the very faith of God that He placed in you when you were born again. In fact, you can’t even be born again by your own faith. Romans 10:17 say that faith comes by the Word, and 1 Peter 1:23 says you are born again by the Word of God.
If you can’t even believe for salvation with our human faith, how could we possible use it for other things like healing or prosperity? It’s super important that you understand this. If you don’t know this, you will always be looking to others to pray for you. You’ll always think that they have more faith than you do, and because of that, God will act on your behalf when they pray. That’s wrong, and it’s the reason many Christians are looking to man instead of God for their answers.
Romans 12:3 says,
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (underline mine).
Think of it like using a ladle to dish up soup. If you used the same ladle every time—and God did—every person will get the same amount of soup. It’s the measure of soup. You have the measure of faith. No born-again believer has more faith than any other; some just do a better job of appropriating what they have been given.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And verse 3 says, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
This scripture is not symbolic; God actually created everything with words. He spoke creation into existence, and the substance of His faith manifested into what we can now see. The Word of God has unlimited power. Each word is like a little capsule filled with faith waiting for us believers to release it in our hearts and speak it with our mouths.
Everything we see was created by words, and it is the very Word of God that holds the universe together (Heb. 1:3). Therefore, everything we see will respond to faith-filled words. They have to respond because words are the parent force.
Proverbs 23:7 says that as you think in your heart, so are you, and Luke 6:45 says that what you speak comes from the abundance of your heart. In other words, the way that you think controls the way that you talk. And if you understand that your words have power, then you understand why you can be hung by your tongue.
The only reason every one of us isn’t dead from the many idle words we have spoken is because we haven’t believed every word with our hearts. Thank God that our words have to be mixed with faith and that we have to believe them from our hearts. But this should help us see a powerful truth. If we believe we are going to be sick or if we believe that we will always be poor, and then confess that with our mouths, we will get what we believe.
On the other hand, what happens when we take the faith-filled words of God and plant them in our hearts where they can take root and grow? Everything changes—no longer are we just saying “I believe that I’m healed” or “I am prosperous,” but we believe it and the faith of God is then released through those words.
Proverbs 18:21 reads,
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
It not only says life but death as well. It’s sad to say, but most of the words being communicated today are negative words—words that do not bring about abundant life but cause more problems.
In most of what I teach, I talk about the words that we speak. But it has been thirty-plus years since I have taught on this as a standalone subject, and I am sure we no longer have tapes of those messages. So, last year on my trip to Europe, I taught a new series called The Power of Faith-Filled Words. It’s a powerful series that will completely change your attitude about the words you speak. More importantly, if you will get it in your heart, you will learn that words can change your life now as well as your future.