When was the last time you ran for your life or stayed hidden in a dark cave with a limited food and water supply? The Psalms record the words and thoughts of David as he struggled and fought against his enemies. From Scripture, we know that David spent many years fighting idolatrous, heathen people who oppressed the Israelites. Scripture records David’s crying out to God to deliver him from the attack of his enemies. He prayed for victory over his enemies and described the joy he felt as they were defeated.
I had often read passages such as Psalm 59:2 from The Amplified Bible (“Deliver me from and lift me above those who work evil, and save me from the bloodthirsty men”) and felt a sense of gratitude because I had no real enemies. At least I didn’t have the life-threatening kind of enemies that David had. I live in a middle-class, American neighborhood. There’s a Super Wal-Mart down the street from my house, and I have every modern convenience at my fingertips. Not a day of my life has been spent in hiding, fearing for my life. In fact, I can say that my life has been free from violent attacks.
As physical beings in a material world, we place a greater emphasis on things we can see, hear, or touch. However, one of the greatest enemies we face in life is unseen. Although we cannot perceive this enemy through our physical senses, it is just as real as any physical enemy we may encounter. The enemy is negative words.
This enemy can subtly lurk in the shadows, whispering and hissing words of doubt and fear. “You’re not smart enough to get that promotion at work.” “Things will never change.” “You will always struggle financially.” Such words may come from the mouth of a family member or friend. Or they may come from an invisible source deep within our souls, echoing words based on past circumstances, which tell us defeat is inevitable.
Whatever the source, negative words can keep us from being all God created us to be. Just as David’s physical enemies threatened to defeat him, negative words can defeat us. They can keep us from allowing God’s glory to shine forth in our lives. Only when we recognize the destructive power of negative words and begin to actively block, uproot, and cast them down will we begin to see our lives flourish as God intended.
Why must we stand against negative words in our lives? Why not just ignore them? To live overcoming lives and flourish for God’s glory, we must recognize God’s Word as final truth. It must stand no matter what others say and no matter how we feel. No matter what our circumstances are, God’s Word is the final authority in every situation. Deuteronomy 32:47 says that God’s Word “is not an empty and worthless trifle for you; it is your very life” (The Amplified Bible).
I made a commitment to Jesus Christ as a very young child. I have never wandered away from that commitment; I have always sought to please the Lord. Although I have followed the Lord, not all of my years have been years of victory. I have walked in defeat more often than I care to admit. I have always read and had a love for God’s Word, but I am learning to live as if my very life depends on the counsel of the Word of God in my life (Psalm 33:11). I am learning the power of putting God’s Word in my heart and speaking it over the enemies that arise.
I remember the day that God opened my eyes to the truth about negative words. I had been reading in the Book of Psalms and the Book of James about the power of the tongue. Not long afterward, a well-meaning friend said some things to me that were negative. This dear friend in no way meant to harm me. She was just calling it as she saw it. I immediately felt uncomfortable in my spirit. I knew that what she had said was wrong, even though it seemed to be the truth according to the circumstances. I nicely told her what I believed. Although the situation looked one way, I knew that God’s promise to me was my final authority. She is a believer and quickly agreed with my assessment of the situation.
We must resist negative words spoken from our own mouths or the mouths of others. I don’t always verbalize my resistance against negative words. We live in a world with bad news and negative viewpoints on every hand. If I verbalized my resistance against every negative word spoken, then I would alienate many well-meaning friends and family members. But I make it a regular practice to take a stand in my mind and in my heart against those negative words. I do not accept words that do not agree with God’s Word. I can walk in love and accept the person who is speaking yet not accept negative words.
In fact, in my prayer time, I often take a survey of recent conversations and acknowledge to God: “I confess the doubts and negative thoughts that I have toward my health, finances, children, etc. I know that II Corinthians 10:5 says not to allow any thoughts to exalt themselves above the truth of Your Word. You are my source of Life that can come against any doubt and negative thought or attitude that would attempt to weaken my faith in You and in Your promises. I stand firm and believe that You will provide strength and health and everything I need. I know that my children are a blessing from the Lord, and ‘the generation of the upright will be blessed’” (Psalm 112:2, NIV).
If my faith needs building in a certain area, then I go to God’s Word and meditate on what it says about my situation until my faith is strengthened, my heart is at peace, and I can trust His promises.
God told Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success” (Joshua 1:8, Amplified Bible). In the preceding verses God told Joshua that He would be with him just as He had been with Moses. God desired to bless Joshua in all his endeavors. God’s instructions to Joshua were simple: Keep My word, observe and obey it, and you will be blessed in all that you do.
You may find it easy to believe that God wanted to bless Joshua with wisdom and success, since he was the leader of the nation of Israel. Yet you may find it difficult to believe that He also desires that for you. If we don’t know God’s Word and believe that His promises apply to us, then our lives will be filled with defeat. Will we go to heaven? Yes, but we don’t want to barely get by in this life; we want to experience victories and live overcoming lives. God has made abundant provision in His Word for everything we will encounter.
We often settle for far less than God has planned for us. If you and I don’t know what God’s Word says about how we should live and the provision God has made for us to live lives that are whole and blessed, then we won’t resist when bad things come our way.
When negative circumstances come, many people say, “Well that’s the way life is; you have to take the good with the bad.” To someone who doesn’t know God’s Word, that statement sounds reasonable. We know that life is not all good. Jesus said, “‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33, NIV).
Psalm 91 is a promise of deliverance for those who dwell under the shadow of Almighty God. We must spend time becoming acquainted with Him and His ways by reading and meditating on His Word. Psalm 51:16 says, “‘I have put my word in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand’” (NIV). We will have the power to stand against any enemy that comes our way, including negative words, when we have a ready word from God’s Word in our heart and in our mouth.
God’s promises and plans for us are greater than we could ever think or imagine. When we know the power of His Word, dare to believe it, obey it, and live our lives by it, we have the promise of a blessed way and “good success” (Joshua 1:8, The Amplified Bible).