“Stop using your tongue as a shovel to bury yourself and start using it as a sword against the enemy. Speak life, not death.” — Harold Vaughan
“I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say.” — Calvin Coolidge
“We know metals by their tinkling and men by their talking.” — Thomas Brooks
“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Num. 13:30).
Caleb was the minority voice, while the ten spies spoke discouraging words of unbelief to the children of Israel. They talked about walls, giants, and opposition in the land of promise. But Caleb verbalized his confidence in God: “We are well able to overcome it.” Unfortunately, the people of God believed those negative words from the spies, which proved fatal. Over the next 40 years, those ten spies and all the adult Israelites perished in the wilderness. Only Caleb and Joshua set foot in the Promised Land.
Words have tremendous power. God spoke the universe into existence through words. Jesus cursed the fig tree, and it withered immediately. Both life and death are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). James tells us that the tongue is like the rudder of a large ship. Though it’s quite small, this rudder gives direction to the whole vessel. Your life tends to follow your words, and your tongue sets the course for your life.
You must be careful about who you listen to, as well as what you say yourself. There comes a point when you must stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. David practiced self-talk. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Ps. 42:5). He was preaching to his own heart when he asked himself why he was depressed. He went further and told himself to hope in God because God was the lifter of his head. There are times in life when no one but you will tell you what you need to hear. My wife and I were on vacation, but I was far down in that pit I mentioned earlier in the book. When she left the room, I locked the door and stood in front of the bathroom mirror and preached to myself. If you think my preaching to others is strong, you should have heard what I said to me! Though I cannot recollect the precise words, it went something like this: “What are you doing? Stop moping, mourning, and moaning. God’s mercies are fresh every morning. Get up! Get up! In Jesus’ name — get up!” I needed a course correction, and nobody was speaking truth into my life — so I did it myself.
Now if you think only crazy people speak to themselves, you need to take a long look at David, the man after God’s own heart. Once David was greatly distressed when people were talking about stoning him. Who would not be discouraged? Scripture tells us that “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). Sometimes you need to set yourself straight. I am not talking about cursing yourself, but speaking truth. Learn to rehearse the promises of God to your own heart. Verbalize your faith in God —”I am well able to take the land!” Speak faith. Speak life. Dare to believe the promises of God about empowerment. Confess the victory scriptures out loud. Personalize them and make them your own.
Set your mind on things above, and not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2). Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand, and He is interceding for you. Begin to bless the Lord for all His benefits. Then pray the Word of God. This is especially helpful when you are unable to string sentences together in your own words. Move beyond what you feel and what you see. Disregard your emotions, take up the Bible, and pray it as you read it. Tell the LORD you believe Him. Use your tongue like a rudder to guide you out of your “Dead Sea.” Thank Him for lifting you up. Begin to praise him loudly for His goodness.
- Are you confident in God’s power to overcome any and all obstacles in your life?
- Are you listening to yourself or talking to yourself?
- Have you begun praising God loudly for all His goodness?
Taken from “Extraordinary Strength in Adversity” by Harold Vaughan. CLICK HERE for more information on the book.