We usually take Scriptural statements about the power of the tongue as a warning—and so we should, considering the damage we can do. Yet we’re to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Eph. 5:19a, NIV). Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan’s attempts to twist it in the desert. “The sword of the Spirit...is the Word of God.” (Eph. 6:17, NIV)
We have a wealth of Scripture at our disposal to speak into others’ lives—and into our own. “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12, NIV)
I don’t know if it’s any more powerful spoken aloud, or if our minds just believe it easier that way. I do know that reciting passages from the Psalms, declaring them resolutely in the face of despair, has strengthened me when I was overwhelmed.
When anxiety was gaining ground, I needed to be lovingly reminded that: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:2b-4 NLT) I knew the truth, but I needed to hear it to anchor myself in its power.
Often we don’t speak Scripture to one another because we don’t want to come across as pious, trite or hypocritical. Certainly we need to speak from a place of humility and empathy, as the Holy Spirit nudges us. There are times to be silent and cry with a hurting believer. But there are times for a well-placed word of encouragement, and what better word than from the Word?
Scripture is not a tool that we use as we see fit. (This separates Christians from those who simply decide what they want and then try to speak it into being.) But if we spend time daily with the Lord in worship and prayer, reading and absorbing His Word, we will find sections that stand out to us—words to speak to Him in prayer, to ourselves for strength, or to others in love for their encouragement and edification.
© Janet Sketchley, 2009
For devotionals, reviews and conversation, stop by Janet Sketchley's blog, God with Us: Finding Joy.