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Use your most powerful muscle to help, not hurt

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“Look at these veins!” I seem to be hearing that a lot from my teenage son these days.

I got the same comments from his brother years ago, as he began lifting weights and buffing up. Now, it’s the younger sibling’s turn — and “buff,” he is becoming. He’s dead-lifting and doing pushups and ab workouts and bench-pressing — the list goes on and on.

So, what’s all this exertion getting him? Muscles, and lots of them. My “seemingly-too-little-to-be-that-big” son has muscles that bulge and show through even the loosest of his shirts. He’s a powerhouse, and that’s a great thing.

Yet this morning as we were talking about the Word of God, I was reminded that my son has an even greater power than his ever-growing physical strength and stamina. As a matter of fact, all believers have it, except the power and strength that we have doesn’t come from a muscle that is frequently seen, unless you are 4 years old and irritated at your older sibling.

Can you guess what I’m referring to?

OK, time’s up. I’ll give you the answer. The most powerful muscle we have within this earthly body that affects us and those around us is our tongue.

Yep, I said it, wrote it and wholeheartedly believe it!

Look at this. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Did you get that? You and I have the amazingly crazy power to speak “life” into our very being and everyone else we come in contact with in an ordinary day. Similarly — and scarily — we can speak “death” into our lives and the lives of those around us, as well.

What does that look like or what has it looked like in the past? Well, I think we all can remember a hurtful remark or injurious comment that changed how we viewed ourselves, even if but for a moment. Possibly, you can remember the exact place and time those painful words were said, and they haunt you to this day.

They were just words, nothing more. Yet, that’s all they had to be,because the power of death — the power to change someone’s mind about themselves and who they become or what they do or do not do — rests upon that thick, flesh-colored muscle sitting deep inside the mouth.

Contrary to that, maybe you can remember someone speaking “life” into you — encouraging you so much that your life changed, but for the better.

The comforting words redirected your life’s trajectory, canceling out the words of death spoken at an earlier time. That’s because, again, the power to change someone’s mind about themselves and who they become or what they do or do not do rests upon that thick, flesh-colored muscle sitting deep inside the mouth.

Hopefully, loaded with this knowledge of how truly powerful our words are, we will choose to “speak life” today. We must challenge ourselves not to allow distasteful, hurtful, condemning words to pour forth from that powerhouse. Instead, we must speak words of encouragement, hope, peace and joy into the lives of those around us.

I can promise you one thing — they will be glad you did.

Prayer: “Father, may I use my tongue today only to uplift and encourage those around me. Help me choose to speak ‘life,’ instead of choosing to go the easy route and speak ‘death.’ Thank You for always speaking words of life and love over me. May I model Your example. I love You, Lord.”

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and sbmkax@earthlink.net.

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