• Feb. 3, 2006
  • #6200

Joni shares why there is so much focus in the Bible on the things that come out of our mouths.

You think you have it tough-- consider the story of Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16. There they were handcuffed to a scourging pole and given a whipping. Talk about police brutality! Their bodies were bruised and lacerated and then, piling humiliation upon humiliation, they were placed in stocks. Acts says, they were put in the inner cell... a wet stinky dungeon tucked far away from the light of day. Paul must have been faint. Silas must have been sick to his stomach. Every bone must have ached and their sores must have oozed. 

Yet, deep in the dark dungeon, they do an incredible thing. At midnight, at the darkest and lonely hour, they're caught praying and singing praises to God. And they just weren't humming along lightly or mumbling their prayers in between moans and groans. No, in spite of the thick walls and heavy doors, the Bible says that the other prisoners actually heard them. 

In a curious way, it was simply their words, wasn't it, which won the battle against Satan that mad midnight hour? As it says in Psalm 106:47, "O Lord, gather us to triumph in Thy praise." To whine or grumble, fret or murmur, complain or lament would have been to invite defeat. And who would have blamed Paul if he had sputtered a nasty remark or two. But the record shows he didn't. He didn't succumb in defeat with thoughtless, ill-tempered words. No, he triumphed in a victory of praise. What a witness to the other prisoners. What a testimony to the jailer. And what forever and ever glory to God. 

Words. Do we really understand their power? Can any of us really grasp the mighty force behind the things we say? Do we stop and think before we speak, considering the potency of the phrases we utter? No wonder the Bible gives so much attention to the things which come out of our mouth, like words. Little wonder the tongue is given the once over in the book of James. How can we bless at one time and curse at another? I know I shudder to think of all the times during the course of one day, I mutter a complaint or manipulate with a precisely timed phrase or two. 

Friend, victory is found in praise and the Lord will cause us to triumph in His praise over any and every situation. No matter how much your kids bug you, no matter how often you feel stepped on by others, no matter what the circumstances at home or the office... victory is possible when we hold our spiteful tongue and we win the battle with words of praise. If Paul and Silas could do that in a jail, you can do it, too, at home or at the office. 

Previously aired as program #5391 as 12/30/02

© Joni and Friends

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