We believe in the Triune God, one God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“And God said …” (Gen. 1:3). What a phrase in Scripture! 3 little words. 3 powerful words. As counselors and providers with CFS, we all know the power of words. From the bully on the school playground to what a loved one said in a moment of frustration, words have power.
And then there are the words spoken by that one grade-school teacher who helped you recognize your God-given gifts. You might still remember what the coach said to let you know that s/he believed in you.
Human words are powerful. They possess the power to build up or tear down. We not only experience that in our own lives, but also in the lives of those who come to us for counsel and guidance. They, too, may have been damaged by the powerfully, hurtful words of others. They now need words of healing and hope.
God’s words are infinitely more powerful than ours. “God said” – and things happened. The powerful Word of God always brings something out of nothing. The powerful word of our heavenly Father did cleave the darkness; at his speaking it was done. For created light, we thank him while his ordered seasons run” (Christian Worship #280, vs. 1). The LORD God is our Almighty Creator and preserver of all life. After all, God said, and it was so.
Now, consider what powerful words the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has spoken over you. You are his chosen (Col. 3:12). You are dearly loved (Eph. 5:25). You are well-provided (Matt. 6:32-33). You are protected (Psalm 18:2). You are his child (1 John 3:1).
Our triune God guards us with his own words, his powerful words. That’s because our words are not enough. We need the righteousness of Christ who speaks the truth about us before his heavenly Father. Jesus bespeaks us righteous, forgiven, and redeemed. He calls us “brother and sister.” Our heavenly Father now names us his children because of the truthful word of Christ who declares us forgiven and loved. Jesus guards our words with his Word so that no one can speak lies against us.
The devil would love to label us “Condemned.” The world would like nothing more than to call us “Fools!” Our own sinful heart desires to name us: “Frauds!” Jesus took all those lies and labels upon himself. He became condemned to death, mocked as a fool, and labeled a fraud to free us from all of Satan’s accusations, this world’s persecutions, and our own sinful heart’s precocious manipulations. We have the privilege to share the power of the gospel with the clients and residents we serve. The words of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guard our hearts and minds and mouths by the gospel. We need this powerful word of love because our own words can be powerful, too.
The human tongue is 0.4% of the overall weight of a human body. The tongue is a physically small, yet important part of the body. A useful tool. We use it to eat and digest food. We need it for taste. It’s a natural teeth cleaner. We need it for talking. It’s useful for saying things like: “Red leather. Yellow leather.” (Repeat 3 times fast)
Spiritually, our tongue can be a sword. The tiny human tongue has a huge impact on our life and on the lives of the people around us. Words of encouragement can help someone through a difficult time. Words of anger can start a war. Words of love can give hope. Words of gossip can ruin relationships. The tongue is a powerful tool but can also be a sword. It is capable of so much evil. Beware of the tongue we wield in the scabbard of our mouths. But understand this – no matter how hard we try; we cannot control our tongues. None of us deserve to conceal-carry this weapon within our lips! Our clients and residents know the destructive power of human words as well as we do.
Even as the people of God, we all make mistakes. We let people down. We let God down. We show favoritism. We speak hateful words. We are all biased and bigoted. We don’t always love our neighbors, we lack faith, we tempted by our own evil desires, and we cannot tame our own tongues! How do we live a life that honors Christ?
We must turn to Jesus. His lips always speak integrity. His mouth always utters truth. Even when his friends would betray and deny him, Jesus never raised his voice to harm. As his own body was impaled to our cross, he spoke amazing words of grace. He begged his Father to forgive those who hated and mocked and murdered him.
Every time I wield my tongue as a sword to tear down others or run them through with witty words of scathing sarcasm and malicious humor, my Jesus, speaks to me and he says, “Put away your sword. All who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Dear Holy Spirit: grant me the power to sheath my sword-like tongue and find peace in your words of truth. And Jesus equips us with the ability to curb our desire to draw blood with our words. These fleshly swords are tempered by the sword of the Spirit, his Word. Our triune God beats our tongued-swords into a gospel-plowshares to be used in his kingdom’s service.
The Lord Almighty gives us “lips to sing his glory, tongues his mercy to proclaim, throats to shout the hope that fills us, mouths to speak his holy name” (Christian Worship #289, vs. 5). That is now the new purpose given to our words. We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with our lips to those who have been hurt or abused by human tongues. We declare him our crucified, risen, and ascended king as we serve him in our vocation as counselors and care-givers. We worship him with lips of praise and speak words of prayer as we encourage others to cast their cares on him. We have the privilege to lead those whom we serve to the powerful word of the gospel. And we are not ashamed of those powerful words (Ro. 1:16).
As we serve those whom God has entrusted into our care, we consider the privilege we have been given to share the powerful message of the gospel. What an honor that we are now gifted with the ability to share words of counsel, instruction, and encouragement with our clients and residents! The triune God has revealed his plan of salvation to us and now equips us to share that same good word with others. In a world of powerfully hurtful words, we are given the healing message of a triune-God. We are now able to declare: “And God said.”
Pastor Edward Frey
1. What kind of power are you speaking into the lives of others with your words?
2. How has the power of the gospel re-created you into the image of Christ?
Triune God: Thank you for your grace in our lives. Heavenly Father, you provide for all our needs. You comfort our fears and erase our doubts by the gospel truth of your Son, Jesus Christ. Keep us close to your Word, Holy Spirit, so that you continue to work through your gospel of forgiveness as we serve others in your kingdom of grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.