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Words--What Power?

“‘In the beginning was the Word (Logos),’ hearkens back to memories of God speaking the universe into being, God calling Abraham to leave his homeland, or Isaac uttering a blessing over Jacob instead of Esau. As these examples indicate, words had great meaning in the Jewish world. Once a word was spoken, the event was happening. Words couldn’t be taken back.”1

Few have this view of words today. There was a time when a man’s word was as good as a signed contract. In those days, the idea of words not able to be taken back was understood. Today, it seems like words have little power—often because there is little meaning behind them. Yet I have no trouble understanding the power of words that affirm or reject—especially when directed at me. Far too easily, they make my day or ruin my week.

What power do my words have? Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea and it would. I can’t imagine my words ever having such power, yet God told Moses to speak to a certain rock and command water to come from it. Moses disobeyed, but God obviously had the expectation that Moses’ words could accomplish this task. Peter’s words had power when he told the lame man at the gate to get up and walk. Paul spoke and Elymas’ eyes became blind.

Jesus told his disciples, "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18 NIV) How was this binding and loosening accomplished if not through words?

So what is the power of words? Can I say anything and expect it to happen? That hasn’t been my experience. Besides, what if the person beside me says the opposite? Whose words have power at that moment?

Jesus is the Word and he has all power and authority,2 which he has chosen to share with his followers,3 so we know we aren’t powerless. At the same time, our words are not magic so whatever we say comes to pass.

Somewhere there is a balance. Where that balance is, I don’t know. I do know I must pay attention to my words—both as a Christian and a writer. There may be more power in what I say than I realize.

Lord, I want all my words to glorify and honour you. Please remove all power from any words I speak or write that might diminish who you are.

In what ways have you seen the power of words—positive or negative, yours or someone else’s?

  1. Learning from Jesus: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renovaré. p.16
  2. Matthew 28:18, 19
  3. Luke 10:17-19


gilley said…
I have a framed piece of art in my office. the background is row after row of words. Ten words stand out. "Words are meant to help, to heal and to prosper" Do our words have power? Jesus said the most important command is to love one another. May our words reflect his command.
I like that! Thanks for sharing. And it gives me an idea. :D

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About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

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Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …