Too Many Words — St. Peter's Fireside | Vancouver, B.C. 

by Julia Sterne
November 16, 2017
5 min read

There is something inherently ironic in this blog. I hope you enjoy the joke to the extent that I am.

Words words words. We use a lot of words these days. It used to be we relied on them for face to face interactions, work orders, the occasional pen pal or possibly in a work of prose. Weight was given to words, as well as cost, as in telegrams keeping communications short and succinct. And before that, words were sacred pathways set to pass down history, law or even prophecy. Without printing presses, without common literacy, words were scarce in comparison to modern worlds.

Today, it seems words are an ever-present reality. Through libraries with innumerous books, companies publishing a bestseller every week, journals in all fields of academia, magazines, radio broadcasts, television programming, advertising in every inch of free space, words are everywhere. And even more present through our computers and phones, email and the internet’s world wide web of endless information and social media outlets, all using words, words words.

This is pretty fun for me, a woman actually writing a blog at this moment. I can use my voice anytime, anywhere, and usually at least one person reads it and even “likes” it. A thousand years ago this would never have been an option. Being a chatty Cathy with a specifically Southern schooling for the gift of gab, I am up to my eyeballs in words daily.

But this is not always the blessing it may seem. Words have lost some of their meaning, purpose and punch for me. I have also lost some of the integrity in my words. I do not always consider what I say. I do not always weigh their impact for possible harm. I do not even say what I mean sometimes. Speaking so much, voicing so much of our lives, brings quite a conundrum to the discipline of our character in communication.

This is why his words are so precious to me. His words are God’s words. His speech is God’s speech. Through him, we hear the Father. Through him, we hear the very voice of God.

Let me see if I can transition to my starting point (a particularly verbose introduction hopefully adds to the humour). In the book of John, Jesus is offering praise to God, acknowledging his authority but also revealing his own integrity: “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

If we take this literally, which every word lover might appreciate, Jesus only spoke words God had given him to speak. This is a mind-blowing concept. Talk about discipline. I was raised “if you haven’t got anything nice to say don’t say nothing at all.” That took discipline. I didn’t make the cut. I have stuck my foot in my mouth too many times to count.

But Jesus was considerate in his speech. No twittering without the blessing of the Almighty. He was faithful to his King, humble and obedient. No gossip, cursing or wasting of words. No fluff pieces. No click-bait.

But more than the discipline, deeper, was his connection to his Father. They are united, one spirit, moment by moment in communion and communication. Listening to his Father, doing as he says. Speaking to us so we might know the Father better. A pure representation of what God says about all things, including us. Jesus was concerned for us. He spoke for our benefit. God reaching out to us was made possible by his diligence of tongue.

This is why his words are so precious to me. His words are God’s words. His speech is God’s speech. Through him, we hear the Father. Through him, we hear the very voice of God.

What is convicting is that I can only think of a few instances where I have listened for the voice of God and spoken what he has asked me to speak. How many words have poured past my lips in vain? BAZILLIONS! Is there silence or space in our world to hear his voice? Words have consumed so much of our time and place, but can they even say anything worth saying? Do they bring anything of value or substance to our lives?

Jesus’ words are God’s words. And these words are daily bread, living water, a wellspring for life, a shield, a refuge, salve for the wounds, encouragement, empowerment, living and active, able to cut to our quick, a light in the dark, a path, faithful promises, hope endured, salvation and eternal life. Dang.

A friend of mine’s, an atheist, words shook me to the core, “I don’t get Christians. They have a Bible and they say it’s God’s word, but then they don’t even read it. If someone handed me a book and said ‘every word in here is from your God’ then I would consume it, study it, and never put it down.” He was absolutely right.

But what he misunderstood is that it is not just about the book. The Word of God is the bible, a supernatural revelation of who God is and how he relates to us, but it also Jesus. He only spoke what his Father spoke. A pure expression of God, his very being, made available to us, for us to grasp and cling to for all of eternity.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Are we listening?

about the author
Julia is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at New Story Counselling, and is a member of St. Peter's Fireside. She is the wife of Alastair, the mother of Ansley and Maggie, and one of the kindest people you'll ever meet. If you're feeling up for it, you can follow her on Facebook or Pinterest.

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