By Alex Anderson, Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church
Words and thoughts are spiritual. They are not material. The material world can be measured; the spiritual cannot. This is my simple definition of spiritual versus material. Also when I say spiritual, I’m not necessarily referring to God or morality. I’m referring to that part of every human’s life that cannot be measured.
If a pregnant lady goes to see her doctor for a checkup and asks him if her child will be a boy or girl he can, through science, give her the answer. However if the soon–to-be mom were to ask the doctor if her child would grow up to have many friends and be an honest person, he could not. The doctor has no scientific method of measuring friendliness or honesty in an unborn person.
Why not, you say? Great question. The answer is because “friendship” and “honesty” are spiritual aspects of a human’s life, not material aspects.
Speaking words, which is simply saying what we think, is a spiritual aspect of our human existence. And our words have creative power. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, God said that He created man in His own image. Judeo-Christians have typically understood this to mean that like God, each person is a unique being, as is evidenced by each person having his or her own unique set of fingerprints.
Also like God, each person, in a limited way, has the power to create…with words. If you stroll through the first few chapter of Genesis you see this phrase a lot: “and God said.” Usually following that phrase, creative things happened. As human beings, we have similar abilities to create.
We actually create in three ways using our words and thoughts.
One way we show ourselves to be spiritual beings is by the words we use to describe our lives. If you follow the chain of words people speak, they usually express the quality of their life. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Boy, that sucks” or “My life sucks”? If you know the person who speaks those words very well, then you will usually see that there is a trace of truth in their life that reflects that comment. It may be in their finances, their relationships or in their health, but if you look closely, you will usually find it.
I learned this concept of Biblical creation through our thoughts and words when I was in my twenties. However, I was well into my thirties before I saw the fruit of the changes I had made. I started by writing out Biblical promises and putting them on my car dash, my bathroom mirror, and a place I have spent way too much time, my refrigerator. I observed that the words I would say to myself were the words that described my life at the time.
You believe what you say to yourself more than what others say to you.
A second place in life that I have seen the creative power of words is in the lives of my children. My wife and I not only created them physically, but spiritually as well. As I have listened to and seen the fruit of their words as they created their own lives, I realized many of their words have been our words, some times to our joy and some times to our pain.
The words you speak to and about others do not fall to the ground like crumbs from the dinner table. They become seeds that may sprout up and grow unseen in the hidden places of the human heart. Those words emerge through the lips one day, creating anything from a divorce to music that brings joy to millions.
The last place that words and thoughts create is in our bodies. I’m not a doctor, nor do I have the room in this article to share all the stories of the lives I have observed for over thirty years. Stories of people who, for the most part, used their words economically and with great selection, and not only lived healthy but some even overcame very serious health issues. I don’t believe their success was just because of good genes. I believe your thoughts, of which words are only an expression, can affect your body.
In the June 21, 2002 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Sharon Begley wrote an article entitled, “So Much for Destiny: Even Thoughts Can Turn Genes ‘On’ and ‘Off.’” The article states that according to psychologist David Moore of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, thoughts can cause the release of hormones that can bind to DNA. These released hormones apparently can turn genes “on” or “off”. This was evident when a male researcher was isolated for an extended amount of time. Apparently his beard grew very quickly the few days before he returned to his family as his testosterone levels increased in anticipation of spending time with his wife.
So be careful—your body can hear what you say. Thoughts and words are powerfully creative. Use them wisely, but use them. Be intentional about those you influence. Encourage them and speak of their futures and yours with words that bring life and not death.
To your spiritual health,
Alex E. Anderson
Author of the book, Dangerous Prayers