Over the past several years, I have been surprised at how many Christians use words so frivolously. We use terms such as “pouring into others” or “speaking into people’s lives.” What do those phrases even mean? Today I read an email from a group of which I used to be a part where this guy was speaking about how he “marinates in worship” as if he is getting ready to be placed in an oven or on a grill. What does that even mean? Since when have we moved away from Biblical language to this way of speaking?
I think it goes back over the course of at least the last 65-75 years. This is when the Pentecostal movement really was ratcheting up in the United States and if there are a group of Christians that say things “plant a seed and you’ll prosper” it’s the Pentecostals. Now I mean no offense by any means. We Baptists have our sayings as well: some we have adopted from other denominations and some we have made up. For instance, “I shall not be moved” is generally used as a joke but these words have power and it is seen in the pews when people are unwilling to be moved even by the Lord Himself! At any rate, there is something inherently wrong with the lack of Biblical language in our churches today.
I heard a professor from a prominent Southern Baptist seminary preach a wonderful message. Unfortunately I do not even remember what he was preaching because of something that he said. He said toward the end of sermon that “we need to speak into the lives of each other.” I approached him after that chapel service and asked him what he meant by that. His answer: “Uh…I’m not really sure what that means. I’ve just heard it around the campus lately.” I retorted, “Did you mean that we need to encourage each other?” The professor, “Why, yes, that is what I meant.” I then asked him this question: “Then why not just use the Biblical language and say that we should ‘encourage’ each other?”
Now I know some will disagree with what I am saying but language in the church has changed so dramatically that we do not see our waywardness as we ought. For instance, what used to be called drunkenness is now called “alcoholism” and is considered a “disease.” It is drunkenness. What used to be called “adultery” is called “an extramarital affair.” It is adultery. What used to be called murder is now called “abortion, infanticide, euthanasia.” It is murder. What used to be called fornication is now called “premarital sex.” It is fornication. What used to be called encouragement is now called “speaking into other people’s lives.” It is encouragement. Do you see the point?
What I am getting at is that we really need to rethink how we communicate in the church and in the world. We no longer have a sense that the church is something different from the world. We see it as a business rather than a ministry. We see it at a social club rather than the Bride of Christ. We see it as spectators rather than participating followers of Jesus Christ. This is why there are problems in churches today. Words have meaning and we have lost the meaning for the sake of whatever is new and whatever we desire for it to be instead of what it is supposed to be.
Words have power. God’s Word is obviously more powerful than anything. It is by His Word that lives are changed and transformed. It is by His Word that people are saved. It is by what He has written in His book long ago that we know how to live life and how to love Him and others. Consider just how powerful God’s Word is:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NASB)
Do you see it? God’s Word is alive and active! It’s living! It’s sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the inner being of man. It’s cutting! It’s able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart of man. It’s exposing! So because this is the case, why change our language? Why not keep speaking by using the words that have power? Use words that encourage, that have grace, that have mercy, that teach, that grow us in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)?
Words have power–especially when it is God’s Word. I don’t have “pour into others” or “speak into other people’s lives” or “marinate in worship.” I need to “keep my eyes on the things that are above and not these things below” (Colossians 3:1-4). I need to “set my heart on things above” and not on things below. I need to believe–have faith–in the One who transforms my mind so that I am not conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2).
Words have power–especially when it is God’s Word!