In the early 1980s, a very close relative of mine was responsible for an accident that caused the death of a young girl. As a result, they were brought up on charges that could lead to their imprisonment. My whole family was in turmoil at the time, and one tragedy led to another. I can recall telling my father that if our family member had to go to prison, I would have a nervous breakdown. I made the statement half-jokingly, but part of me really believed it. As it turned out, my relative WAS sentenced to a long prison term, and within a year's time, my mental health broke down to the point where I needed tranquilizers, antidepressants, and psychiatric care just to cope.
The Lord brought this incident to my remembrance recently to highlight the impact my words can have on my own future. I was not a committed Christian at the time, and I had no working knowledge of the Bible. No one had ever told me that my words have authority in this earthly realm, and that the words I speak over myself can have awesome consequences. Proverbs 18:21 AMP says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]." I've heard some preaching that warns that we can literally prophesy our own futures to some extent. I've also learned that some well-respected ministers of the Gospel believe that Mark 11:23 can be taken in a negative sense, as well as a positive one. In this verse, Jesus says that whoever "believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says." What if it IS true that this principle can work in a negative sense? If so, then I shouldn't wonder why I actually did have mental health problems after voicing that I expected to have them. Job 22:28 NKJV says, "You will also declare a thing and it will be established for you." Verses like these have given me a holy fear concerning the words I speak over my life and the lives of others
Sometimes I can't help wondering how I might have reacted to this same incident if it occurred after I became devoted to the Lord and His Word. I'd like to think that I might have had an attitude that said: "Yes, this will be hard to deal with at first, but God has promised to stick with me through the difficult times, and He will see me through it." I know now that when we and others speak negative things over our lives, they are not from God, but from our own fleshly attitudes or from Satan himself. And in these cases, Jeremiah 23:16 NKJV would apply--"They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord." I know this without a doubt because God says, "I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) When negative circumstances threaten to enter our lives, we don't have to expect to fall apart or to experience dark times. We don't have to anticipate being left without hope. We can cling to our God and His precious promises of supernatural assistance in our times of need. And we can confidently declare with the psalmist: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea . . ." (Psalm 46:1-2 NIV)
Prayer: Lord, give me a keen awareness and a holy fear of how my words and attitudes can impact my future. Teach me how to speak words of life and hope over my own life and those of others. When troubles threaten to overwhelm me, remind me that with You by my side, I never need to expect to fall or fail. Thank You for planning a future filled with hope and good things for me!
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