The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body. — Proverbs 16:23-24 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional
Our thoughts can either get us into trouble or elevate us above our problems. Too often, however, we allow our minds to linger over and ponder the wrong kind of thoughts. In the verse above, it says the mind (or the heart) of the wise teaches his mouth. This proverb means that the thoughts on which we dwell will eventually come out in our words. If our words are good and uplifting, they encourage others and us.
Those thoughts aren’t just about others—they are also about how we reflect on ourselves, as well. One of the smartest friends I had in school confessed one day that she felt intellectually inferior. Her words shocked me, and I told her so. I learned that her father used to call her stupid when she didn’t grasp something the first time he explained it to her. Eventually, her own thoughts said to her, You aren’t intelligent enough to understand this.
That’s a good example of how our words can tear down others. But we can also uplift others with our words. When we focus on the good, we see in people and tell them, we may well be God’s messenger to them.
For example, I’ve stood in front of a crowd and spoken many times. Because I have victory, they assume I’m always in victory, and that I never have to struggle the way they do. Sometimes a person will come to me and say, “Joyce, God really used you tonight. I came here discouraged and kept asking God what I should do. Right in the middle of your teaching, I heard God speak through you.”
Those are pleasant words—as sweet as a honeycomb. Those people who speak to me are often unaware of how hard I’ve fought the enemy and struggled to free my mind from his influence. When they tell me what a blessing I’ve been to them, they often don’t sense how much their words mean to me.
Everyone needs to hear pleasant and healing words. It’s too easy to assume certain people don’t have the same struggles or severe battles that we experience. All of us struggle, and for some, it’s worse than for others. I believe that the more God wants to use us, the more forcefully Satan exerts his power against us.
We can help each other. When we sincerely speak pleasant words, healing words, we are not only diffusing our enemy’s power, but we are building up one another. We need to build up others as much as we need others to encourage us.
I can remember times when I’ve wanted to say a kind word to someone, and I would think, Oh, she knows that. She’s heard that before. Then I would say to myself, Yes, maybe she knows, and perhaps she’s heard it before, but she hasn’t heard it from me.It’s not that my words are better than anyone else’s, but it is the Holy Spirit who takes our words, anoints them, and brings healing and help to others.
What if each of us decided, I am God’s servant to bring healing words to wounded and hurting hearts? What if God chose us to strengthen and build up people by speaking soothing, kind, and thoughtful words to them? Not only do we put the devil to flight, but our friends’ joy soars, and ours does, too—¬because we’ve been used as God’s instruments of healing. I learned long ago that it takes so little to do so much good. Often, it’s only a word of encouragement, a hug, or just saying the words, “I care.”
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit of God, please remind me of the words that dwell inside me. Remind me to hold on to the good, the kind, and the uplifting thoughts, and empower me to push away those that can hurt and tear down others—and myself. I ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.