Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water ...” (Genesis 1:6)
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place ...” (Genesis 1:9)
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night ...” (Genesis 1:14)
Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth ...” (Genesis 1:20)
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind ...” Genesis 1:24)
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image ...” (Genesis 1:26)
Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed ...” (Genesis 1:29)

In the Bible’s brief account of God’s creation of the physical world, there is enormous emphasis on the power of speech and the words speech uses. In the creative acts of God, your attention is directed to two declarations: (1) the creation of the physical happened because God spoke; (2) people were made in the image of God.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the power of speech. Through speech people are encouraged, lifted to the heights, challenged to make great sacrifices, and moved to give life itself for a cause. Because of speech, great battles have been fought, the underdog has achieved the impossible, dreams become visions, movements become governments, and governments become empires. Because of speech, people live and people die. Because of speech, literally the direction of lives is changed.

We have words and phrases that acknowledge the power of speech. We acknowledge wordsmiths exist. These are the people who can create concepts and direct thoughts by the use of words. A quality wordsmith can stir our emotions and penetrate our thinking. We acknowledge spin doctors exist. They specialize in transforming undesirable words into worthwhile thoughts. (Surely, both can abuse as well as use words.)

Most of what exists in your life began with words. This is so true that you likely have a great appreciation for someone who can say or write things well. For anyone—man or woman—who can use words to inspire us or to make us think, we have profound respect. Who is your favorite author? Why? To whom do you listen (always) when he or she speaks? Why? To whom will you never read or listen? Why?

If God made things happen by speaking, and we each were made in God’s image, do you realize the power found in your speech, in the words you use? Do you realize the power your words have to challenge a life to rise to its finest efforts or to dismantle a life so that it crumbles?

If we as Christians represent the God who is so powerful that He said and it existed, always be aware of what you say and the words you use. One of the powers you have because you are in God’s image is found in your speech. In that understanding, those who seek to reflect God are quite careful about what they say.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person (Colossians 4:6).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 31 January 2008

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