We are powerful women because God has made us that way. While this reality was intended to be a blessing, all too often it becomes a curse.
Sadly, so many of us: a) are not walking in the power we were made to carry and release, and b) are at the same time unaware of the reality that to neglect the power we’ve been destined to walk in is, by default, to yield to and wield the very power we were created to destroy. Without even trying, we can become weapons that spread destructive fire, rather than wield weapons that fight it with protective fire.
God’s Word has been likened to a fire (Jeremiah 20:9; 23:29). This is the kind of fire we were made to burn with – to carry within us and to release. It’s the right kind of fire, the kind that we should desire to be consumed by. This fire extinguishes the fires of hell which are sent to destroy and devastate. It also releases a power which enforces Heaven’s protective and redemptive agenda over humanity.
God’s Word has also been likened to a weapon – a sword (Ephesians 6:17). As we read, meditate on and live by the Scriptures, we become equipped to wield a weapon which releases a life-giving fire that spreads the flame God’s presence wherever we go. This sword establishes and enforces life-giving power, rather than enforcing death and devastation.
Under God’s created order, women were designed to burn with the fire of His Word, and thus to wield the weapon of spiritual warfare – the sword of the Spirit – at every enemy in her path. This, God promised, would bring forth life and peace (Romans 8:6). In God’s plan, the fires we start were meant to be holy fires that destroy evil and restore the goodness of God’s intentions for humanity.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, does this describe your lifestyle? Are you kindling the kind of fire that’s safe for people to warm their hands beside? Do people who encounter your fire walk away with a story like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s, who met Jesus in their fire, and didn’t even walk away smelling like smoke? Does the fire you carry and release welcome people into wonder and awe over Jesus, and leave them with a hunger to know Him for themselves?
Or have you picked up a different sword and, under its influence, become someone who releases the force of another kind of fire?
James 3:5-6 tells us that “…the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (NLT)
Proverbs 12:18 says: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (NIV)
Proverbs 25: 18 further clarifies the power of the tongue as a weapon when it says: “Lying about and slandering people are as bad as hitting them with a club or wounding them with an arrow, or stabbing them with a sword.” (The Passion Translation)
The Bible has much to say about such a small part of the body, and we are wise to pay attention. If we think that our words matter little, we make the grave mistake of picking up and empowering the wrong sword.
Last year, I went to a conference and joined a throng of people in worship as the evening opened. It was a particularly harrowing season of my life, and I was struggling deeply, though I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. As I’ve learned to do, I was just doing my best to fight through, trusting God with the details.
As I laid myself down before God that night in worship, a woman came beside me and began to pray for me. I had never met this woman before, so she knew nothing about me. I was at a church I had never been to before, in a crowd of people where I knew no one but God. So when this woman began to pray for me with details she had no way of knowing, I knew God was speaking through her. Interestingly, as she prayed for me, she prayed for God’s healing over my wounds.
I will be the first to tell you that I’ve had many wounds. I am not ashamed of my wounds, because they are the places where I’ve encountered Jesus in the most incredible ways. But I will also tell you that Jesus has healed most, if not all, of my wounds. At that particular point in my life, I wasn’t aware of any new wounds that needed to be healed, so her prayer piqued my curiosity. I waited and listened, and soon enough, her prayer revealed the source of the wounds: slander. She began to describe to me what she saw in the spirit: stab wounds all over my back.
I knew that what she spoke was truth, because I was walking through a season of conflict at the time. And while I wasn’t aware of anything specific that anyone was saying about me (because God had given me the wisdom and the grace to detach myself from unhealthy alliances), I was 100% certain that what I didn’t know was vicious. God had kept me from the up-close, hand-to-hand conflict of the warfare, and so I thought I was okay. But that woman’s prayers revealed the nature of the undefined struggle I was experiencing. Whether I was conscious of it or not, the wounds of other people’s tongues had made their mark.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, do you understand the power of your tongue to either bring life or destroy? It is so easy to think that, because people don’t hear, it doesn’t do any harm when we talk about them. But this is a lie. God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that words spoken from a tongue not operating in grace still wound.
I am reminded of a story I heard a woman tell once. She said she had heard a man speak, and when he spoke, God’s presence invaded the room with power. Miracles of incredible magnitude were witnessed, and she was in awe. After the meeting was over, she went up to the man and asked him what his secret was. She was a Godly woman, so she knew this was how it was supposed to be. This was the kind of power God said we should see when His Word is spoken. Unfortunately, she knew all too well that it didn’t always happen that way, and she wanted to know how this man was walking in the promise and power of God.
His answer stunned her, and has left an eternal mark on me, as well. He told her his secret was that, whenever he wanted to say something negative, he shut his mouth.
It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? The secret to releasing power when you open your mouth is shutting your mouth! The key which that man had discovered has everything to do with timing. He had learned to shut his mouth when the wrong kind of power fought for release – cutting it off before it could do any damage. And he had harnessed the God-given power of bringing life by learning to open his mouth only when the Word of God was present to release its power.
If you doubt the truth of this principle, listen to what else Scripture says in confirmation:
“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (BSB)
“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)
“Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, a conflict ceases.” Proverbs 26:20 (NLT)
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” Psalm 34:13 (NIV)
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, I don’t think you need much convincing when it comes to the reality that we all need growth in this area. The Bible is clear that a woman can either build or destroy her own home (Proverbs 14:1). Much of this begins with our tongues, and that power, that fire, extends beyond the walls of our home and into every sphere of relationship and influence we have.
We can’t rightly justify the sin of our tongues by the wrongs that others do. Rather, as powerful women of breakthrough, we must learn to guard the door of our lips and take our concerns and conflicts before the Lord only, until we are able to speak with grace and the kind of power that will build, rather than destroy.
I challenge and encourage you to begin today weighing your words before they are released. If they are born out of your flesh, cut them off. Learn to press in deeper for words born of the Spirit, or to shut your mouth and surrender that sword until God places His sword in your hand and teaches you how to wield it in love.
Imagine what a world of women armed with and trained to rightly wield the sword of the Spirit could release? I long to see that in our day, and I believe Heaven is calling it forth. Will you be one of those women, with me?! And would you share this with another woman or group of women you know, inviting them into a journey of accountability in the use of your tongues? If we are to rise together, we must learn to fight together!