How to Confuse the Devil
- March 17, 2021
- Chris Lawson
There are two great lies we are told as children.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
“I’m rubber and you’re glue – whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”
Not only are these utterly false, but if you aren’t careful, these words will not only break you and stick to you, but they will define you for a lifetime.
There are 800,000 words in the English language. But not really. 300,000 are technical or scientific words that most normal humans never use. And no one readily uses half a million words either. In fact, the average person only knows about 10,000 words, and your common vocabulary (words you use weekly) includes only 5,000.
Ancient Hebrew (the language of the OT) includes only 8,674 words.
In the Greek New Testament, there are 5,437 different words. But there are only 319 words that occur 50 times or more. These 319 words account for 79.92% of the total word count; almost four out of five.
Words matter. The words we choose to use really matter.
Justin Taylor says, “We think words, hear words, speak words, sing words, write words, and read words—all the time. Every day. What do words have to do with Christianity? Almost everything.”
He continues, “At every stage in redemptive history – from the time before time, to God’s creation, to man’s fall, to Christ’s redemption, and to the coming consummation – God is there and he is not silent.”
Words matter to God. Words matter in Scripture. And words must matter to the follower of Jesus.
The problem is that words in our culture have lost much of their meaning. In fact, we spend much of our time cursing those around us with our words.
Speaking kindly, with blessing instead of curse, is entirely counter cultural.
If you choose to use your words as a tool of kindness and love, you know what happens? You confuse the Devil!
He expects us to use our words to curse. He knows that a word fitly spoken has power. Words can change everything. It’s not magic. It’s supernatural.
Here are three quick principles to help you break this bad habit!
In Psalm 73, the writer, probably Solomon, was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked. We read:
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end. (Psalm 73:14–17)
What he wanted to do would have caused irreparable damage to a generation of Israelites! Those are huge stakes! By pausing he saw God’s goodness and changed the way he responded. He was reminded that his enemies were the bearers of God’s image.
I wish I had space to explain the precision of the OT Bible scribes – the lengths they would go to insure the accuracy of the Bible. As example, before writing the word “Jehovah,” they would wipe the pen and wash their entire bodies – each time!
Words matter and time should be given to their precision. This has been lost
The amount of information in our world is doubling every 15 months. The pace of information and social media have caused words to lose much of their meaning. It’s too much to consume, too much to process, too quickly passing by to contemplate their implications.
In fact, we have trained our brains to not care about words anymore at all.
Cal Newport, in his book Digital Minimalism, says it best: “The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your ‘likes’ is the new smoking.”
To break the habit, we must get in the habit of rehearsing (saying it to ourselves first to see if it is of virtue) first.
The Bible teaches us these principles: You have the power of life and death. You have the power to bless or to curse. You have the power to shape your future and someone else’s. It’s all in the power of your words. You were created to have a river of life flowing out of you.
Do these three things and use your words for good not evil. You will certainly surprise the Devil!
NOTE: The root of this blog is from Chris Lawson’s recent sermon, “A Word Fitly Spoken.” It can be accessed by visiting www.ReynoldaChurch.org/watch.