June 27, 2024


Proverbs 18:20-21 - From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.


Proverbs 18:20-21 teaches us about the power of our words and how they impact both ourselves and others. The passage states that a person's words can satisfy their own needs, like food satisfies the stomach. This means that the words we speak can either nourish and strengthen us, or leave us feeling empty and malnourished spiritually. Even more significantly, the proverb declares that 'death and life are in the power of the tongue.' Our words have the ability to bring life - to encourage, build up, speak truth, and point people to God. But they also have the potential to bring death - to tear down, discourage, deceive and lead people astray from God. This proverb issues both a promise and a warning. The promise is that those who steward their words well and use them to bring life will enjoy the positive fruits and rewards of their good words. But it also serves as a sober warning that we are accountable for the impact of our words, and destructive words have consequences. Ultimately, this proverb calls us to carefully consider the weight and power of the words we speak, and to use our speech in a way that brings glory to God and builds up others.


The truth that our words have the power of life and death is especially relevant when it comes to friendship. The words we speak to our friends can either strengthen the relationship and help them grow, or damage the friendship and tear the other person down. As Christians, we are called to use our words to encourage, exhort, and speak the truth in love to one another (Ephesians 4:15,29). Friendships built on this kind of edifying communication honor God and benefit everyone involved. But friendships where cutting remarks, gossip, insults and lies are carelessly thrown around breed hurt and dysfunction. Even as jokes, sarcasm and teasing can undermine trust and introduce a toxic dynamic when used excessively. We must remember that once our words leave our mouths, we can't take them back. The damage can remain long after we have moved on. On the flip side, a well-timed word of encouragement or godly counsel from a friend can make all the difference when we are struggling. Friends who consistently affirm, lovingly correct, and point us back to God's truth are invaluable and a true gift from the Lord. As we think about our own friendships, we should ask ourselves: Are my words building up my friends and our relationship? Am I speaking the truth in love? Are my friends encouraged and drawn closer to the Lord through our conversations? Or am I carelessly tearing down, speaking falsehoods, or failing to say the hard but necessary things? We are wise to regularly invite the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and tongues, and to empower us to be life-giving in our speech. While perfection may elude us, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, our words should increasingly reflect His character. Let's commit to using our words to bless, strengthen, and encourage the friends God has placed in our lives. In doing so, we will enjoy the sweet fruit of godly friendships.


Gracious God, thank You for the gift of friendship and for the people You have placed in my life. I recognize the power that my words have to either build up or tear down these relationships. Please forgive me for the times I have carelessly used my tongue in a destructive way. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and careful to use my words to encourage and speak the truth in love. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You (Psalm 19:14). Give me wisdom to know when to speak and when to refrain. Let my conversations with friends be full of grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). Help me to be a friend who points others to You both in my actions and in my speech. May my friendships bring glory to Your name and bless everyone involved. Thank You for Your grace that covers my many failures, and for the power of the Holy Spirit to transform my heart and tongue. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Here is a poetic caption for the image: Tongues that nourish or destroy - Weigh your words with care, my friend. Speak life that lifts the soul, And watch your friendship ascend.

Here is a poetic caption for the image:

Tongues that nourish or destroy -
Weigh your words with care, my friend.
Speak life that lifts the soul,
And watch your friendship ascend.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.