Over the past year and a half, our family faced the unimaginable with my young, seemingly healthy husband’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments. As we walked through the initial diagnosis and following months of treatment, we not only had to shoulder all that meant for my husband and me physically and emotionally, we had to lead and empower our four young children to be brave in the face of so much fear.
This time in our lives has been a stark reminder of how much our words matter. All that we stood for as followers of Christ was on the line as our children would watch us and listen to us trust God and encourage them to do the same. From the beginning, we encouraged them that God could heal and we could rely on Him to give us the strength we needed to get through this. We prayed countless times, read Scriptures, shared how God was working in our lives often and spoke bold words of how faithful our God was. They listened to us live out our faith.
One of the hardest places to be brave is when your future and very life is on the line. We had to do that and we had to teach our children to do the same. In the middle of our suffering, we found a real gift as we let God shape our hearts and the hearts of our children. We had the opportunity with our words to point them over and over again to a God who loves us, is true to His Word and faithful.
Words. are. powerful.
God calls us to use our words carefully because we are His image-bearers. When we are tired, weak, overwhelmed, afraid and in desperate times it. is. hard. But we MUST remember the words we give our children today will show them who we believe God is and travel with them through tomorrow.
Words are powerful. Words have the ability to strengthen us or bring us down. Our words can be used as “weapons of good”. In the Bible, we see that before Jesus was to go into the desert and do battle with the devil, the Son of God would hear the words of His Father spoken over him.
A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him.” Matt.3:17
There is great significance in this one verse of the Bible. Before Jesus entered his public ministry that would include rejection, ridicule, insult, criticism, and eventually a cross, he had the words of His Father publicly spoken over him and about him. Words that were a great reminder of not only who He was, but whose He was. Of course, Jesus was faced with pressure after pressure to “give in” and doubt the goodness of God, but he had heard those words spoken. “This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him.” No matter what was to come He could stand secure in His place as the Son of God. He could trust that God knew Him and would take care of Him.
I don’t know what you are facing right now. I don’t know what your children are facing right now. But as you consider how to use your words to strengthen your children, here are three ways words can be used as “weapons of good” today to make us brave for tomorrow.
3 Ways Words Can Be Used as Weapons of Good
- Use your words to PREPARE. What is it that you want to teach your children? Think about what you want your children to know.
The New Testament records for us that Timothy had a mom that taught him the Bible from a very early age (2 Timothy 3:14-15). Her words were used and meant to prepare young Timothy to enter the world grounded in God’s Word. One of the best ways a parent can prepare their child is by teaching them the truth and promises of the Bible. When we teach them ahead of the trials that will inevitably come, they are prepared to face their trials with truth.
- Use your words to PRODUCE. What is the mission you want to build into your children? Think about what you want your children to do.
The gospel of Luke records that Jesus “was filled with joy” when the disciples came back doing what he had taught them to do. We can use our words to help cultivate and produce in our children a real and genuine love for the world. As we talk about not only what we face, but what others face, they can learn compassion for those around them and across the world.
- Use your words to PROTECT. What identity do you want your children to have? Think about who you want your children to be.
Behavior flows out of being. This is why the Bible advises us to “guard our hearts.” Jesus heard words of love, affirmation, and confidence. He was a son, wrapped in the affection of His Father. Before he did anything, he knew who he was. Our children need to find who they are in light of what God says about them and what we speak over them.
Today, our children listen to us give glory to God as my husband’s cancer is in remission. Our words are powerful and are still working. I pray that the words we speak would be the overflow of hearts, changed by Him, to change them.
Ruth Schwenk, @ruthschwenkofficial
Ruth Schwenk is the founder of the popular blog, TheBetterMom.com, and along with her pastor/author husband, Patrick, RootlikeFaith.com, and FortheFamily.org. She is the trusted author of several books with Harper Collins Christian, including Settle My Soul, Pressing Pause, For Better or For Kids and The Better Mom Book and Devotional. Ruth is a Michigan football superfan, a self-proclaimed “foodie,” and lover of all things HGTV. But her greatest joy is her family. She lives with her husband, four children, two pesky hamsters and their loyal Labrador retriever in the beautiful, college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.