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The Power of Words
"By thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy words shalt thou be condemned."
Probably most of us think that there is little or no power in words, but such is very far from being the case. Words possess power and because of this, we should be very careful as to which words we use, and in what way we use them.
In ancient times and later, a curse was regarded as very powerful and destructive, bringing bad fortune and suffering to the one upon whom it was placed. On the contrary a blessing was looked upon as very powerful and constructive, bringing good fortune to the one who was a recipient of it. Not only was it believed that the curse or the blessing continued with a person for the length of this life, but it was also thought that it extended to several of the generations that followed and also that it clung to the bearer of the curse or blessing throughout the next life. Whatever power there may have been in these ancient curses and blessings must have been due principally to the power of the spoken word.
In various Scriptures. the power of the spoken word is recognized. In the Bible, creation is attributed to the utterance of a spoken word. Even the Greek logos is translated "word," as representing the Life and Creative Force of Deity. coming forth into human manifestation.
Coming to modern times we find the power of words also recognized. They are represented as belonging to two categories: (1) Positive, and (2) Negative; the positive being constructive because they represent positive and constructive thoughts; the negative being destructive because they are an expression of weak and futile thoughts.
Words appear to possess a power and vibration of their own, a power that differs according to their quality or character. Thus positive words have the ability to awaken in us feelings and powers akin to themselves.
We can easily prove this for ourselves. If, when discouraged or depressed, we repeat to ourselves the words: courage, strength, hope, faith, victory, overcoming, joy, happiness, etc., we find that there is something within us that responds to the power and vibration of the words uttered, so that we are raised above our weakness and depression to such an extent that we are able once again to face up the difficulties and problems of life. This may prove to be a turning point or crisis in our life. If we allow ourselves to become depressed and discouraged we go down and down, life becoming more and more trying and difficult as we travel downwards. If, however, we overcome our depression and discouragement, we are able to rise to higher achievement and to a stable, satisfying success.
It is hardly necessary to add that if instead of making use of positive words, we make use of such expressions as : 'I am fed up', or 'Everything is against me', or 'Everything I do ends in failure', or 'Everyone has good luck except I', or 'What is the use of trying, it is always the same result: disappointment, failure, injustice, bad treatment from others', and so on, then the results are disastrous. There is something within man that responds to these words and expressions, that clouds his sky, destroys his hope, undermines his effort, takes away his initiative, and puts him on the human scrap-heap, where he joins the derelicts, or to change the metaphor the flotsam and jetsam of life that drift hither and thither just wherever the tide an current takes them.
But, if anyone wishes to test the truth of what has been said, let him, when discouraged and depressed, repeat to himself, for a time, such negative and weakening words as the following: weakness, failure, defeat, misery, despair, etc. If he does so, and I most certainly recommend him not to, he will find his misery, wretchedness and inability to master his life's problems greatly increased, so that there seems to be no way of escape for him.
RISING FROM THE SLOUGH OF DESPAIR
So we see that if positive words are used systematically and intelligently, they enable us to rise, through their inherent power, out of the slough of failure, depression and despair to a state of mind and will that makes victory, overcoming and achievement possible.
One of the greatest difficulties with which some people are confronted is a low state of health combined with impaired vitality. They simply cannot face up to life, or they experience very great difficulty in doing so, for the reason that they feel too ill and low-spirited to deal with their affairs in a bright. cheerful and capable manner.
Opportunities pass them by, and their powers for service are hampered, because they do not feel fit enough to deal promptly and energetically with each situation as it arises. Everything is a trouble instead of a joy; also, they may be inclined to be irritable and peevish, although their real nature is benign and kindly, Because of this, people are driven from them, so that they suffer from a continual state of privation.
Such people, owing to their state of ill-health and lack of life-power, are apt to think thoughts of a corresponding character and to express such thoughts in language of a like nature. They may make such remarks as " I am not well," or ,. I am half dead with indigestion ,. or "My liver is terrible," or " I am a martyr to headache " or similar expressions, They are not aware that through the power of the spoken word they are strengthening and establishing their state of ill-health, whenever they make use of such expressions; but such is actually the case. Through the use of negative expressions of this kind they gradually build up a consciousness of sickness, disease, ill-health, lowered vitality, etc., in which they live, in much the same way that a person lives in a cottage. They are limited by the restrictions that they have placed upon themselves or they are bound by the chains of their own creation, through the power of the words which they have used to their own detriment.
Readers may perhaps jump to the conclusion that all that is necessary is to say the very opposite of the negative sentences which have been mentioned: thus, instead of saying: 'I am not well'... the sufferer should say ..'I am well'. This simple remedy, however, generally proves to be no remedy at all, because the statement is so obviously not true. Those who, when they are sick or diseased, make use of such suggestions as 'I am well', or 'I am health', generally find that their trouble becomes worse. This is due to what is called reversed suggestion. This is said to be present when the sub-conscious mind refuses to accept the suggestion of health that is forced upon it, and in consequence produces the very opposite of that which is desired. This is why auto-suggestion has been termed by some, as telling lies to oneself. It was in order to avoid reversed suggestion that Coué created his famous formula: 'Every day and in every way I become better and better'. This suggestion had to be repeated a number of times quietly and dreamily just as the patient was falling asleep, the idea being to avoid affronting the sub-conscious mind, and instead to introduce the idea of health cunningly into it, in such a subtle way as to cause the suggestion to be accepted and acted upon.
Other teachings achieve the same end by using the word 'man' in the place of the words 'I am'. The word 'man' is used in the sense of the real man, the Ideal or Pattern Man created in the likeness of God, Who is the Archetype or Prototype of humanity. Instead of using the suggestion 'I am well', or 'I am health', they declare that man (the real man or Archetype) is perfect and whole, etc. Such a statement is less likely to affront the subconscious mind, for the reason that it is not telling lies to oneself, but is a statement of Absolute Truth.
A method that is both easy and effective is simply to repeat the words which express or describe the desired condition, without using either the prefix 'I am' or 'man is'. Repeating the words Life, Health, Wholeness, Joy, Happiness, etc., has the effect of stirring up new life within so that a better state of health comes into being. It may be wondered why the words Joy and Happiness are included, as, apparently, they have nothing to do with health. This is just the point. They have everything to do with health. In order to be healthy we have to cultivate a feeling and spirit of joy and happiness.
There is no greater tonic, and no such builder-up of genuine health than the spirit of joy and gladness. These are not the product of outward circumstances, but they come from within. Joy comes from exercising a will to be happy and to rejoice.
It is like a flower; it needs cultivation, and the more it is cultivated and nourished, the more beautiful it becomes. Even repeating the word 'joy' produces corresponding vibrations within us that lift our sorrows, destroy our depression, and raise us to higher levels of thought, feeling and expression.
DIVINE POWER EXPRESSED
The power of the spoken word may seem to be a minus quantity to some, perhaps. So it always will be if they do not make use of it. The lame man at the gate of temple would never have been healed if Peter and John had not believed in the power of the spoken word. They believed that the positive words they used were but expression or utterance of Divine Power. Because of this the man who was lame from his birth and hitherto had been carried about, and who lived by begging, immediately received strength and went into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God. It will at once be said that this was no exhibition of the power of the spoken word, because Peter was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and it was through this power that he healed. It is true that Peter was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and was very conscious of the fact, but it was through the spoken word that he gave expression to the power within him. If Peter had remained dumb, the lame man would never have been healed. Perhaps there are those who might be blest through you, reader, if you too were to make use of the spoken word. So long as you think you have no power, and remain dumb, there can be no demonstration of the good which follows the spoken word.
The spoken word can be made use of in every situation of life. An alarming or unpleasant experience can be blessed by the spoken word. If it is blessed audibly with the Holy Spirit, it has to reveal its true character. Even an evil or sinful propensity or power can be blessed and made to change into the real and true power of which it is a distortion or 'mis-manifestation'. The words: 'I baptize thee with the Holy Spirit', when spoken with firmness, calmness and reverence, will always change the character of any situation, or propensity, revealing the real and true in place of that which is but a distortion or mis-direction of it.
Our Lord, when he was tempted, was able to overcome, simply by the use of the spoken word. He met each temptation with a quotation from Scripture. This was more than enough for the Tempter who had nothing whatever to say in return.
A PIT WORKER'S TESTIMONY
I recently received a letter from one who works in 'the pit' (a coal mine). It is work which is very arduous a most trying, as I can personally testify. This friend had been laid up mainly through an injury, and he went back to work too soon. He had a very severe pain in his side due to the injury and it got so bad that he did not know what to do. However, he thought he would try a statement of Truth. He therefore started repeating the 23 Psalm. When he reached 'He restoreth my soul', it was as though an electric shock went through him, and he recovered and continued his work. Two days later the experience was repeated, and again he repeated the 23rd Psalm and other texts, and this time he was completely healed. Verily is the Scripture true: 'He sent His word and healed them; and delivered them from their distresses'.
Finally, prayer is the most potent form of using the power of the spoken word. When we pray we pass behind the veil of time and sense and enter the Eternal. Then indeed do our words possess tremendous power, and we have to be very careful how we use them. Negative prayer should be avoided, for the reason that it brings negative results. Our Lord did not teach us to pray in a negative manner. He never taught us to pray for suffering, or negative ills, or for poverty or woe, but for blessing and good. He also taught us to pray for good, not in a negative or beseeching way, but in a positive manner. What is termed the Lord's Prayer is an illustration of how to make use of the creative word. In it there is total absence of whining supplication. It was a series of statements similar to the creative words of Elohim. In Genesis we read: 'And God said; Let there be light. and there was light'. The Lord's Prayer is like it. In it we are taught to pray after this fashion: 'Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead Us not into temptation. Deliver us from evil'.
These words of power, we are taught. have to be pronounced when in the Secret Place, behind the veil of time and sense, where we are in contact with Infinite Power, and when our words are quick and powerful.
We are living in times when the means of life are precarious. Great changes in our social system are pending. Today there is no security to be found in outward things. Nearly everything that we once considered firm and lasting is now crumbling away. In the midst of all the change and upset that surrounds us we need something secure. We need something that can raise us from the impermanent world of time and sense, into a higher consciousness of eternal, unchanging Reality. This we find in the power of the spoken word.
If we turn from the welter of unrest and change around us, and repeat, say, the first verse of Psalm 125 we find ourselves lifted right above the changing scenes of life into a higher region where we 'breathe the sweet ether blowing of the breath of God'. Here is the verse, and it is a positive statement of absolute Truth: -'They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever'.
It was my privilege to speak at a meeting last night. The room was filled with the best and most helpful listeners that any speaker could ever have had the good fortune to address. The minds of all people were filled with the thoughts of the great financial crisis through which our country, in common with others, was passing.
We were led to take the 125th Psalm as our reading and when the first verse was read it seemed as if a spell fell upon the meeting. Instantly we felt that we were all transported to another world in which we were raised above all the changing scenes and cares of the ordinary life as it were upon a mountain top. Yes. we felt indeed that we were on that Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but which abideth for ever. We were reminded of that famous passage in Isaiah where it says: 'They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, even as the waters cover the sea'.
THE POWER OF SCRIPTURE
This experience proved once again, if proof were needed, that there is a mighty spiritual power contained in the words of the Scripture - a power that is greater far than all the forces of disorder that are seething around us.
'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee' is for ever true. Our mind becomes stayed upon Reality - the True, the Unchanging, Unfailing Power and Love of God - to the extent that we make use of the power of the word of God, spoken and uttered with calmness and faith. To the extent that we stay our mind upon God, and to the extent that we establish it in Eternal Truth, are we freed from the change and turmoil that goes on around us. 'Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night (when fear and worry claim one); nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.'
If we were to acknowledge more than we do the power of the spoken word, especially the word of Scripture, and if we applied it in every situation of life, we would of a surety live better and more harmonious lives. It is not the Divine will, neither is it in the Divine plan that we should live lives of disorder. Our Lord's rebuke to the winds and waves when the storm arose on the lake should be a lesson to all. Jesus not only rebuked the waves and the wind, but he also rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith and unbelief. He was disappointed with them that they too did not rebuke the sea and wind, and bring about a great calm. God wants us to use the power of the spoken word to bring about conditions of harmony and peace, otherwise the great example of Jesus would not have been given us. Whenever our Lord saw disharmony he rebuked it. When he met those who were diseased or afflicted He commanded them to be made whole. Even those who were dead he raised to life by the power of His spoken word.
For two centuries this work was continued by the early Church, of healing the sick, raising the dead to life and manifesting supernatural powers by the use of the spoken word. Today, people wish they could also bring harmony into their lives and those of others. But wishing is of no use at all: it simply removes that for which we wish farther from us. The use of the spoken word. however, brings that which we desire nearer, and, if we have faith, into actuality. The life of the average man is poor, weak and depressed, and he is the victim of forces of disorder for the reason that he does not make use of the power of the spoken word: he does not rebuke the winds and the waves in the storms of his life, but, like the disciples, he becomes frightened and agitated so that his frail bark is overwhelmed.
WORDS OF ETERNAL TRUTH
The spoken word must be the word of Eternal Truth. It is because it is Eternal Truth in expression (in word form) that it is powerful. When using the spoken word we must remember that it is not our power that is being used, but that it is the power of Truth contained in the word of Truth that is being brought into action. Truth posses the power to manifest itself, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. Truth is omnipotent and needs only to be expressed in the form of the spoken word, in faith. When this is done it manifests its power in the form of order, harmony, wholeness and peace. To all who are in trouble and distress I would speak again the word of Eli unto Hannah.
'Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.'
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