“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
That’s a scripture verse we know so well, but may fall into the trap of interpreting in one way:
“Don’t use your tongue to speak negative or derogatory words to someone or yourself. Such words can kill both spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. Your confession is your possession.”
Those statements are correct. However, there’s more to how your tongue can dump death on your head.
Exactly what happened to a king once upon a time.
The Speech That Led to Death
And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten up of worms, and gave up the ghost. (Acts 12: 21-23)
What a speech! A speech that led to his death at the spot. The Speech of death.
The Bible didn’t give us details of the oration, but you can imagine how audacious and ostentatious it must have sounded… How he must have made the minds and heads of the people to swell with his words. So much so that they applauded and screamed with one voice, “It is the voice of a god, and not of man!”
He’d probably bragged about his achievements, his wealth, his power, his inventions, his wisdom, and every other noble thing he planned to do through the excellency of his power. And maybe, how nothing and no one – not even God, like was said about the Titanic ship – could sink his ship.
He gave not God the glory. That was the bottom line of his speech of death.
What Do You Glory In?
Pride goeth before a fall, says the Scriptures.
When you decide to glory in yourself – your beauty, wealth, knowledge, accomplishments — even Bible exposition and gifts of acumen — you walk in Herod’s shoes. You’re subtly saying, “I did it all by myself.”
No grace factor. No God’s favour.
God says “you can do nothing without Me”. Nothing. Not even waking up the next morning. Or putting on your thinking cap to map out the next ground-breaking ideas and inventions.
If God withholds breath from you, it’s goodbye to everything.
But the nature of man is prone to glory in him/herself.
As A. W. Tozer said,
“The glory of God always comes at the sacrifice of self.”
For God to have the glory, you must first die to self. That death happens when you kneel in repentance at the foot of the cross.
He Won’t Share His Glory
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42: 8)
God is the creator of the universe, with the whole world in His hands. And He said He won’t share His glory with anyone or anything. He deserves to be honoured and reverenced at all times and in everything.
You honour Him when you acknowledge your dependence on Him. He is glorified when you worship Him for the blessings you have, and trust Him for grace to conquer more territories and possess greater blessings.
They that honour Him will be honoured, and they that dishonour Him will be lightly esteemed (1 Samuel 2:30).
Like the psalmist said, Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psalm 29: 2)
Did you get a promotion? Ascribe glory to God.
Did you buy a new car? Worship God for the provision.
You passed that professional exam? “Thank You, Jesus.”
You presented an award-winning paper? “God did it for me.”
Working on a promising project? “Hitherto has the Lord helped me, and will help me to the end!”
Won a scholarship? “It is all by God’s grace.”
Your marriage swims in love and joy? “We can’t talk about our love story without God.”
Your single life has been fruitful all the way? Say, “The Lover of my soul has been my helper.”
And even when you feel some things aren’t as straight as you desire, still give glory to God. He is ever faithful!
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10: 31)
Don’t let the cheers of the crowd make your head to swell. As they cheer on, send the message back to them, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”