Choose Life, Choose Words

Posted 28 June 2012

You don't have to sit around anymore wishing God would do something to help you. You don't have to waste another minute wondering if it's His will for you to put up with some cursed condition in your body, your family or your finances.

No, as far as God is concerned, the issue is settled. In a scripture that reveals His will not only for you but for all mankind for all time, He said: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore [YOU!] choose life,that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

In other words, if you want a blessed life, today is your day. God has already made the way. He set up a BLESSING system for you that cannot be changed. He fixed it so no one else can interfere and stop it from working on your behalf.

He also explained in extremely simple terms how you can activate it. All you have to do is choose life! Exactly what does it mean to choose life?

First and foremost, it means choosing Jesus. He's the One who secured God's BLESSING for us and sealed it with His own blood forever. He's the One who has given us His righteousness and qualified us to enjoy God's goodness in every area of life. He's the One who has delivered us from the power of darkness, death and the curse, and translated us into the kingdom of God.

Notice, I said we've already been translated into God's kingdom. That sometimes confuses people because they equate that kingdom with heaven. But they're not the same thing. Heaven is a place we'll go to in the future. But as believers, we're in the kingdom of God right now.

You see, God's kingdom is not a place. It is literally the King's domain (king-dom),the realm of His dominion. It's a divine system of government.

Wherever that system of government is exercised, THE BLESSING always manifests. That's actually how you got born again. You put the principles of God's divine government into operation. You chose life by believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth The LORD Jesus (Romans 10:9). As a result, THE BLESSING of God regenerated your spirit and you were saved.

The same thing happened to me and every other born-again Christian. But here's the problem. Many believers stop right there. Once they receive the BLESSING of the new birth they leave everything else up to God. Instead of continuing to activate His principles, they cry and pray and beg Him to do something about the messes in their lives. When their prayers seem to go unanswered, they decide it just wasn't His will.

Gloria and I know what that's like. We did it ourselves for five long years after we were born again. But then things changed. We found out what the Bible says and realized we could enjoy all THE BLESSING we want if we'd just keep choosing life.

Say the Same Thing

Here's something else we discovered: Choosing life means choosing words!

As Proverbs 18:20-21 says, "A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

If you look up the Hebrew word translated power in that verse, you'll find it can also be translated hand. So it's scriptural to say that death and life are in the hand of the tongue. Although that sounds a little strange, it makes sense if you think about it.

Even in English, we use the word hand to denote power. If I told you I was putting a certain job in your hands, you'd know exactly what I meant. You'd understand that I'm turning it over to you because I'm confident you have the power or ability to get it done.

In the same way, life and death are in our tongue's hand because our words have the power to connect us to those things. When we speak negative words or words that align with the curse (such as "I'm broke," "I'm sick," or "I'm a failure"), we activate the death cycle in our lives. When we speak God's WORD about ourselves, we activate the life cycle of THE BLESSING.

"But Brother Copeland, I just don't see how my words can make that much difference!"

So what? The Holy Bible says they do. All you have to do is accept it, apply it and enjoy the results.

I learned that from flying airplanes. After more than 50 years as a pilot, there's still a lot I don't understand about jet engines. But that doesn't keep me from flying wherever I want to go at 600 miles an hour. Never once have I climbed into the cockpit and said, "I refuse to take off in this thing until I completely understand how it works." No, I just start the engines and say, "Let's go!"

I did the same thing with the power of words. Once I saw in The Book what they can do, I started putting them to work in my life. At first, I didn't understand the process at all. I had no idea how speaking God's WORD could change my situation. But I did it anyway. Sure enough, it got me out from under a mountain of debt in less than a year—and I've enjoyed a debt-free lifestyle ever since.

These days I have a better grasp of why words work like they do. After four decades of studying the subject I've come to understand, for instance, that God and His WORD are one. They cannot be separated. As John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was  with God, and the Word was God."

I've learned from the Scriptures that everything in this universe was created by words. The heavens and the earth, the plants and animals, the race of man—all came from what God said. This planet is a word-governed system.

I realize most people don't believe that. But it doesn't matter whether they believe it or not—it's the truth. It's already been settled, set and fixed by God. Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, we all live under the authority of words. The only choice we have is which words we're going to live under—words of life, or words of death.

Put a Bridle on It

"Oh, come on!" someone might say. "Surely, you're not telling me that everything in our lives can be traced back to words."

Yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you. But don't take it from me. Take it from James, the
half brother of Jesus. In his New Testament epistle, he drove home the point beyond question. After growing up watching Jesus use words the way God intended, he said:

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 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. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:2-8).

Our words might seem small to us but, according to James, they're behind everything that happens. They set on fire the entire course of life. They're like the little match that burns down the whole farmhouse. They're like the little rudder that wrecks a massive ship.

I thought about that recently when I saw a news story about a cruise ship that ended up on the rocks, not because some big storm drove it off course, or because of a major mechanical malfunction, but simply because the rudder got turned the wrong way.

Think of it! That rudder actually got people killed. It destroyed lives. Of course, the rudder didn't do the job on its own. It just responded to the hand of the immature captain at the wheel of the ship. He didn't exercise proper control over the steering gear.

Although it's easy for us to criticize that captain, we've all done essentially the same thing. We've wrecked entire areas of our lives by failing to control our tongues.

Some believers justify such failures with the scriptural-sounding excuse, "No man can tame the tongue!" But that's not really what the Bible says. On the contrary, James 1:26 says, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."

Clearly, it's possible to tame or bridle the tongue. Otherwise God wouldn't waste paper and ink by putting that verse in the Bible. But the taming can't be done with the kind of natural skill and intelligence that's used to tame a horse,a dog or a cat. When it comes to bridling the tongue, human ability isn't enough to get the job done.

That's because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Whatever a person thinks about and imagines ends up in his heart, and since a person who isn't born again can't control his imagination, he can't control his mouth. He'll say what's on the inside of him without even realizing what he's doing.

I can verif y that from experience. When I first married Gloria, before I got saved, I had a terrible mouth. Cussing came as easily to me as breathing. My great-grand father's nick- name was Cussin' Owens and I decided as a kid to be just like him. I spent years working at it. So, by the time Gloria came into the picture I swore without even thinking.

One night after we'd been out together, she said, "I'm not going out in public with you anymore!"

"Why not?"

"You have the worst mouth! You embarrass me.

"I stood there for a minute, trying to figure out what she meant. "What the h--- did I say?" I asked.

"See there! You did it again!"

"What?" I said. I wasn't even aware that I'd cussed. I didn't even hear it.

This is the power words have over the mind! So if we had to control them with our own natural strength,we'd be in trouble. But we don't. As born-again believers, we can bring our tongues into submission with "the weapons of our warfare [which] are not carnal [or natural], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Because we have the divine power available to us to choose our thoughts, we can choose our words; and by choosing our words, we can choose life.

"But Brother Copeland, I'm not used to making those choices. How do I get started?"

This is step No. 1: Make a firm, uncompromising decision to put God's WORD first place in your life. Determine to make it your final authority and refuse to speak contrary to it. Treat God's WORD as truth and everything that contradicts it as a lie. Then do what James instructed and "lie not against the truth" (James 3:14).

It's simple, really.
But it's not easy.

After all, most of us have spent years contradicting God's WORD. I look back now at how Gloria and I talked when we first learned about these things, and our conversation was almost totally negative because the whole natural world is that way. It's always going downhill toward death.

To go the other way—toward life—takes commitment. We have to fill our minds and our hearts with God's WORD until it overflows from our mouths. We have to keep The WORD in front of our eyes and in our ears every day. If we don't, the world will pull us back into its downward flow. We'll wind up saying things we never intended. All the while, the devil will be telling us our words are no big deal. He'll be working to convince us that a little negative talk won't make much difference. But it will and he knows it.

The power of life and death is in the tongue. That's why Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." Ungodly, unbelieving words will corrupt your faith. They'll corrupt your health. They'll corrupt all life around you. The forces of darkness will use them to stop you from walking in THE BLESSING Jesus bought for you on the cross.

So don't give them any place.

Instead, choose THE BLESSING by choosing words of faith.

Start choosing life—TODAY!