Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let the Ancient Words Impart

 Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

I know a teenager who is now a young adult. When she was in high school she was bullied by a group of mean girls. This girl was a big nerd and was constantly teased.  If you knew me in high school you might be wondering, is this “girl” really Lilly? No, I am not talking about myself here.
Her mother handled the bullying brilliantly. She listened to her daughter. When the daughter said, “They said I was fat and stupid, that I would never get a boyfriend.” The mother’s response was always the same, “I reject those words in the mighty name of Jesus.”

The Lord's Prayer

Weeks later, the girl was being bullied in the hallway. In frustration, she threw her books on the ground, pointed to the mean girls and said, “I reject that in the mighty name of Jesus!” The mean girls, totally shocked, walked away speechless.
So, what went on here? I think that on the surface the mean girls were downright surprised and that shut them up. Spiritually, however, and more deeply, I think their evil words were renounced and silenced by the power of Jesus. What does this mean for us? There is great power in the words we say. 
Jesus tells us that we have the power to bind and the power to loose, and as a result, our words of binding, casting-off, or refusing, have both earthly and eternal consequences (Mt. 18:18). Likewise, what we release or loose has eternal consequences and earthly power. Let’s consider how this effects the words we say.
All of us, at some time or another, have had terrible words spoken over us. We have been verbally abused, put-down, or insulted. It doesn’t require much to have a lasting impact. These words have enduring power over us and can often shape, if not become, our core our identities. We have been “fat, stupid, unlovable, or rejected.” Or we have been “abused, forgotten, unwanted, unworthy, or screwed-up.” I have an African American friend who was told as a child that she was “pretty for a black girl.” For years she saw herself as “less than.” She did not see herself as worthy, and she often made choices that reflected that core identity.  Then she met Jesus and he showed her that her beauty transcended every social category or construct. She handed in that old identity, one that had been shaped by a few evil words, and received her true identity as beautiful and beloved, the very apple of his eye.
Far too often we say destructive words to ourselves or to our loved ones. Even advanced Christians do this. How often have we said, “I’m such an idiot, I can never get it together. My husband never comes through for me. My wife always fails me in this way.” As Christians, these words have spiritual power, and it is comparable to calling down curses on ourselves or our loved ones.
But Jesus gives us a way out and my friend’s story shows that. We have the power to bind. Next time you hear yourself or someone around you downgraded, you can say, “I reject that in Jesus’ name.” We can trade in those hurtful words and identities to receive the truth of Christ, a truth which is powerful and lasts forever.
Words of Truth
Moreover, we can release blessing and this is truly exciting. When I was in my early twenties, I wore the words “outcast and screw-up” like a badge of honor, until someone saw me in God’s eyes and said, “You will be a holy woman of God.” There are many of us who have had the entire course of our lives changed with a word of truth. I encourage us all to look for ways to release blessings over ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. When we encounter people who have been called, “ugly, screw-up, or worthless,” we have been given the spiritual authority to speak the truth over them, calling them, “beautiful, righteous, chosen, or more than worthy.” 
The words we say have meaning. They have power. Jesus has given us his words and his truth, therefore let the ancient impart their blessing, goodness, mercy, and compassion.  Let’s be changed by God’s word, helping others to be changed too.
Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.
-          Michael W. Smith

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