VICTORY OVER THE TONGUE (continued)
We are meditating on scriptural principles to control your mouth. Here are five additional principles:
Separate yourself from those who cannot control their tongues:
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. (Proverbs 14:7)
You become like the people you hang out with. That is why the Bible warns:
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
You learn the ways of those you associate with, including emulating their speech patterns.
Learn the power of peaceful words:
The Bible confirms that "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).
Recognize your tongue is a weapon:
Your tongue is a weapon you can use to overcome the enemy instead of being defeated by him:
VICTORY OVER THE TONGUE (continued)
We are meditating on scriptural principles to control the words coming out of your mouth. Here are two additional principles:
Realize your words reflect on the Gospel:
As long as you believe your tongue is not important, you will not gain control of it. You must realize that your conversation reflects on the Gospel of Jesus:
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ... (Philippians 1:27)
Because of this, you should set a good example by your conversation:
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1Timothy 4:12)
What comes out of your mouth is heard by the heathen:
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among
VICTORY OVER THE TONGUE
The tongue is a powerful force, but through the power of the Holy Spirit and the application of principles from God's Word it can be controlled. During the next few days we will meditate on scriptural principles to control your mouth. Here are the first three:
Get your heart right with God:
The first step in gaining victory over the tongue is to get your heart right with God because...
... those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; These are the things which defile a man...
Your mouth will speak what is in your heart. If your heart is not right, your
Israel's words led to unbelief and fear, and unbelief and fear led to rebellion. Such is the power of the tongue that prevented God's people from entering into their Promised Land.
God had told Israel to take possession of their land, but instead of going forward they rebelled and turned back. Before them was the land God promised. It belonged to them. It was a rich, fertile land with green valleys. It was a land where God promised to bless and multiply them above the nations of the earth and give them health and prosperity. Yet, because of their unbelief, they turned back.
-They refused to hear the voice of God.
-They rejected His Word.
-They refused to act in faith on what He had promised. -They refused to obey.
The people declared:
WORDS THAT HINDER DESTINY
The Bible is specific about the words that hinder your destiny.
Lying is one of the deadliest sins of the tongue against which you must set a guard. Among the things that God especially hates is a lying tongue:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19, NIV)
When you speak words of truth, you speak life. When you speak lies, you speak death. When you make promises to others or to God and fail to keep them, you are lying. If you realize you have failed to be honest or if you have made a promise to someone and have not fulfilled it, acknowledge it.
WORDS KEPT THEM OUT
The Bible records the specific words that kept Israel out of their Promised Land:
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. (Numbers 14:1-4)
Did you see it? The people "murmured against Moses and Aaron". Murmuring is an outward expression of unbelief. When you murmur against your circumstances or against your spiritual leaders, you are actually murmuring against God. It reveals a lack of trust in God’s goodness, His love, His provision, and the leadership He has set over your life.
WHAT NOT TO SPEAK
We are meditating on the types of speech that the Bible warns against. Here are some additional words that believers should not speak.
He that backbiteth not with his tongue... (Psalms 15:3)
Words of discord:
...he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:19)
A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. (Proverbs 18:6)
Words of strife:
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalms 31:20)
Devouring and deceitful words:
Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. (Psalms 52:4)
Froward and perverse words:
WHAT NOT TO SPEAK
We are meditating on the types of speech that the Bible warns against. Believers should not speak.
They speak vanity every one with his neighbor.. (Psalms 12:2)
...with their mouth they speak proudly. (Psalms 17:10)
And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (Colossians 2:4)
(Enticing words sound wise and plausible, but are not.)
How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves. (Psalms 94:4)
Words which take God's name in vain:
WHAT NOT TO SPEAK
For the next few days we will meditate on the types of speech that the Bible warns against. We are to refrain from speaking...
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge; but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. (Proverbs 15:14)
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit,
It is one thing to fall into a trap set by Satan--as he has many devious methods to ensnare you. It is quite another to snare yourself by your own mouth!
-You can snare yourself with your own words:
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth; thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)
-Your words can separate you from God:
Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psalms 12:4)
-Your words can create a breach--an opening--in your spirit:
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)
-Your lips affect your soul:
A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)
-Your uncontrolled tongue leads to trouble:
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)
-Your tongue affects your whole body:
CHANGING YOUR COURSE
You can change the entire course of your life by bringing your tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you are living in discouragement, failure, or defeat in any area of your life, you can change this by correcting your speech--by restraining your tongue from negative words and by speaking words of life, blessing, and faith.
God requires you to discipline your tongue and bring it under the control of the Holy Spirit. This does not happen automatically. You are commanded: “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Psalm 34:13, AMP). King Solomon warned: “Do not allow your mouth to cause your body to sin” (Ecclesiastes 5:6, AMP). The Apostle Peter said: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech”
(1 Peter 3:10, NIV).
Like King David,
TREASURES OF YOUR HEART
The heart communicates with the brain and the rest of the body in three ways that have been documented by scientific evidence: Neurologically (through transmissions of nerve impulses), biochemically (through hormones and neurotransmitters), and biophysically (through pressure waves). In addition, growing scientific evidence suggests that the heart may communicate with the brain and body through electromagnetic fields. Through these biological communication systems, the heart has a significant influence on the function of your brain and your bodily systems.
The heart and mind are intricately related, and that is why the Bible says what is in a man’s heart determines his actions and the words coming out of his mouth. If an individual’s heart is filled with negative thoughts--hatred, anger,
THE UNTAMABLE TONGUE
Although the tongue is a little member of your body, it is very powerful:
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
WORDS OF DEATH OR LIFE
Disobedience kept Israel from advancing into their promised land. Another big barrier to claiming their inheritance was the words that came out of their mouths. During the coming days we are going to deal with one of the most powerful forces in the world, one that determines the entire course of your life:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge it shall eat the fruit of it (for death or life). (Proverbs 18:21, AMP)
Your words determine your destiny! You are either speaking forth... -Blessing or cursing.
-Power or weakness.
-Faith or unbelief.
-Victory or defeat.
-Abundance or lack.
-Life or death.
-Words that will advance or hinder your destiny.
Israel failed to enter into the rest God had secured for them. Paul warned the believers, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11, NIV).
The only way to fulfill the destiny God has planned for you is by obedience. You must shut out every voice that would tempt you to disobey God. You must set your heart and mind to obey Him, regardless of the cost.
The Israelites refused to listen to the voice of God, but chose instead to listen to negative reports. They began to grumble and murmur against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2-3, NIV).
Their grumbling was directed at Moses and Aaron,
ENTERING INTO REST
Just as Satan spoke through the spies to keep Israel from their divine destiny, he will speak to you through other people–perhaps even your closest friends and loved ones–to attempt to discourage you from fulfilling your vision. They may say things like...
-It can’t be done.
-Are you sure God told you to do that? -This situation is hopeless.
-You might as well give up.
Listening to such voices will cause you to rebel and reject the voice of God, just as the children of Israel did.
After all God had done for Israel–the miracles He had performed in delivering them out of the hands of the Egyptians, guiding them, feeding and providing for them during their journey–it is hard to understand why they listened to the negative reports instead of believing God's promises.
We wonder how Israel could possibly doubt God,
AGREEING WITH GOD
Israel was defeated because they rejected the voice of God and followed their own carnal thinking. Instead of going forward to take possession of the land as God had commanded, they listened to negative reports which created doubt and resulted in disobedience. They chose their will above God’s will. They rejected Him as the supreme authority of their lives. They actually wanted to return to slavery in Egypt rather than obey God and advance at His command.
Moses and Aaron recognized the ramifications of their rebellion and fell on their faces in fear before God. Joshua and Caleb, in great anguish, tore their clothes and pleaded with them not to rebel. But the children of Israel refused to listen. Once they made the choice to go their own way, nothing anyone could say or do could alter their decision.
The people were actually ready to stone Caleb and Joshua! They wanted to ease their consciences by silencing those who represented God’s will and spoke His Word.
TO WHOM WILL YOU LISTEN?
Moses sent twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel, to spy out the Promised Land. After exploring for forty days, the men returned. The entire congregation was anxiously waiting to hear what these twelve leaders had to say.
The spies told Moses, “We came to the land to which you sent us; surely it flows with milk and honey; this is its fruit” (Numbers 13:27, AMP). Can you imagine the excitement among the congregation as these twelve men showed them the fruit they had brought from the land? Just as God promised, the soil was rich and fertile. They brought back pomegranates, figs, and a single cluster of grapes that was so large it took two men to carry it on a pole between them. At long last, their waiting was over.
MAKING A CHOICE
Approximately sixteen months after God delivered Israel out of Egyptian bondage, He brought them to the border of the Promised Land. From where they were camped, the Israelites could see the beautiful hills, fields, and pastures of the land which God had promised them as an inheritance.
Can you imagine the excitement that filled the hearts and minds of the people of Israel as they gazed toward the land of Canaan? Behind them were the years of slavery in Egypt–the pain and sorrow, the cruel taskmasters, the bondage, anguish, discouragement, and defeat. Their difficult desert journey was over.
Before them was the land of promise with all of the blessings of the covenant--prosperity, provision, protection, and peace. The land belonged to them legally because of the mandate from God, but having the promise was not the same as possessing it.
POSITIONED FOR VICTORY
The nation of Israel was at the greatest point of their spiritual destiny. The decision they would make that day would determine their future and the fate of the entire nation.
God had brought Israel to the border of the land. He had promised as an inheritance and commanded them to take possession of it. He had delivered them out of Egyptian bondage through great miracles, signs, and wonders. He opened up the Red Sea and they marched across on dry land (Exodus 14:21-22). He miraculously led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). He fed them manna from heaven (Exodus 16:4,15). He caused water to gush forth from a rock (Exodus 17:5-6). He gave them a great victory over the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9-13).
The Great I Am–God Almighty–had manifested Himself on Mount Sinai in flaming fire and billowing smoke.
THE CROSSROADS OF DESTINY
In January and February, we traced Israel's journey of destiny from its inception through the lives of the fathers of their faith--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We also walked in the footsteps of Joseph who saved the world from a great famine and Moses who delivered God's people from slavery.
This month, we find Israel at a crossroads of spiritual destiny. They are standing at the border of their Promised Land, their God-given destiny. Sadly, they do not advance into the land to secure it. Instead, they turn back into the wilderness where they wander around for forty long years. With the exception of Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, all of that generation dies, and a new generation is raised up and prepared to inherit God's promises.
The people of God were on the threshold of their destiny, but they did not enter in. Why was this so? For the next few months we will study reasons why Israel failed to claim their Promised Land.
A MIXED MULTITUDE
When Israel left Egypt, the Bible notes that a "mixed multitude" went with them (Exodus 12:38). This mixed multitude was not of Israeli descent. Most likely, they were residents who wereunhappy with the government of Egypt. This group may have also included captives from foreign conquests who availed themselves of the opportunity to escape when Israel departed. Perhaps the plagues that had come upon Egypt may have motivated some of these people to join the exodus from the country.
It didn't take long before this "mixed multitude" caused problems for Israel. When they received only manna to eat--despite the fact this provision was a miracle sent from God--they "fell to lusting", complaining against God. It didn't take long for the Israelites to be influenced by them and join in their murmuring. The people recalled what they called "the good things of Egypt"--the fish, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (Numbers 11:4). Really? Somehow fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic don't seem to make up for living in slavery.
So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (Exodus 15:22-24)
One of the greatest needs when traveling through a wilderness is water, and in this account, the Israelites faced a major problem: They had none. The waters they came to were bitter and unfit to drink. So how did the Israelites deal with this challenge? Instead of looking to God to meet their need, they began to murmur against Moses and demanded, "What are we going to drink?"
You, too, will encounter "bitter waters" along your journey in life. The term "bitter waters" can be used to represent the difficulties that come into your life through others around you, the circumstances of life, Satanic attack, your ministry, or perhaps your own transgressions.
NOWHERE TO GO
Amazing miracles occurred to enable Israel to be freed from Egyptian bondage. Ten dramatic plagues were sent by God to supernaturally deliver them. They were on their way to their Promised Land. They were excited and rejoicing. Four hundred years of bondage, but now they were free!
But it didn't take long for the Israelites to encounter a major problem. After their departure from Egypt, Pharaoh once again changed his mind about letting them go. He amassed a great army and pursued them to bring them back, along with all of the wealth they had taken with them from Egypt. Now, Israel stood before a great expanse of water, the Red Sea. Behind them was the enemy, ahead of them was an insurmountable obstacle.
Put this truth deep in your spirit: When you begin to move towards your destiny, you will encounter major challenges. Do you really think Satan is going to sit back and let you accomplish great things for God without trying to hinder you? You will not reach lost men and women, you will not affect cities and nations for God without opposition from the enemy.