In Proverbs 18:21 we read: The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. The word Power here is ‘yad’ (Strong’s #3027). Translated almost exclusively “hand,” as “into your hand,” indicating power, means, resource, and direction. The graphic aspect of the Hebrew language pictures the tongue with a hand! The tongue can, as it were, “grab hold” (as in this verse) of life and death. The words you and I use have the power to grasp or release matters of life and death. The phrase, “its fruit” (Prov. 18:21) indicates that the spoken word is also likened unto seed. Words planted by the power of speech become fruit-bearing plants, yielding either death or life, depending on what has been spoken.
Proverbs 16:24 reveals what God’s wisdom (His Word) has taught our hearts: those truths and promises that are to influence our speech—to transmit that learning to our lips. The Word in our hearts is to teach or control our speech and conduct. The “sweetness” and “health” such speech promotes are desirable, whether in our human relationships or in the release of divine grace in our daily living. It leads the believer to an overcoming, victorious life, through a consistent acknowledgment of the power and might of God with both mouth and manner.
- The Word is spoken of as seed (Matt. 13:18–23).
- The Word is also referred to as a “sword” (Eph. 6:17).
- The Word is also used in connection with washing and water (Eph. 5:26).
One of the great teachings of Jesus in which He refers to the power of language is found in Mark 11:23–26. Dr. Roy Hicks, Sr.’s, writes on Mark 11:22–24, titled, Jesus on “Faith’s Confession.” “From Jesus’ own lips we receive the most direct and practical instruction concerning our exercise of faith. Consider three points: (1) It is to be ‘in God.’ Faith that speaks is first faith that seeks. The Almighty One is the source and grounds of our faith and being. Faith only flows to Him because of the faithfulness that flows from Him. (2) Faith is not a trick performed with our lips, but a spoken expression that springs from the conviction of our hearts. The idea that faith’s confession is a ‘formula’ for getting things from God is unbiblical. But the fact that the faith that is in our hearts is to be spoken, and thereby becomes active and effective toward specific results, is taught here by the Lord Jesus. (3) Jesus’ words ‘whatever things’ apply this principle to every aspect of our lives. The only restrictions are a) that our faith be ‘in God’ our living Father and in alignment with His will and Word; and (b) that we ‘believe’—not doubting in our hearts. Thus, ‘speaking to the mountain’ is not a vain or superstitious exercise or indulgence in humanistic mind-science, but instead becomes an applied release of God’s creative word of promise.”
Because you are serious about your faith, and seek to learn the language of faith, you will want to pay special attention to the connection between speech that moves a mountain and faith that sends away sin. Just as we’ve seen, Jesus spoke of faith’s language in both ways!
In Mark 11:25, the one who has just been instructed on how to speak to mountainous obstacles is also taught in the ways of forgiveness. To forgive, aphiemi (Strong’s #863; af-ee-ay-mee) “to send away.” It is probably not a coincidence that the word Jesus used to describe “moving the mountain” is the Greek for forgiving sin! It is clear that you cannot send mountains away if you are unwilling to send away sins!
Holding a grudge is refusing to forgive, or “send away” the sin or action someone committed against you. The one who harbors a grudge will not be able to “move the mountain.” You and I cannot properly address the obstacles in our path if we are maintaining obstacles (mountains of unforgiveness) in other people’s paths. Forgive because you are forgiven. And in forgiving, you will discover even greater dimensions of God’s forgiveness toward you. And your faith will be ready and active for mountain-moving situations.