Words can be a powerful thing. They can take imagination to all sorts of places, from the mundane to the exotic and back again. Nations have relied on them in times of peace as well as war. Creation itself began with the words of God.
Words can be constructive and/or destructive, depending what is said and when it is said. They can be most destructive when one is least thoughtful about their use. They can also be some of the most comforting things to another human being.
With such power, comes great responsibility. (I’m sure that’s must’ve been said in something more ancient than Spiderman!) We must be careful how we use our words, that they may comfort and edify those around us. Even the slighest wrong word can be the fly in the ointment. The writer of Ecclesiastes points out it is not just our words which need to change. Our thoughts must also be under control, for as Jesus points out later on, the mouth is the overflow of the heart. We need to tackle the cause and not just the effect.
We must be wise in our thinking, and for that to happen we need a change of heart. This is not something we can achieve alone, but only through trusting in the Word incarnate and what he achieved on the cross. Once we are trusting in Jesus Christ, his Spirit will dwell within our hearts, slowly changing us to be like Christ, slowly becoming wiser.
Then, when are hearts are being dealt with, the nature of our speech will change accordingly.
As we go through the Christian life, we encounter battles. Unlike Joshua, our battles are not usually those of flesh and blood, but spiritual.
The methods are very similar though. For the world is out to cause the Christian to stumble. Just as the kings who Joshua dealt with had worked together to plot Joshua’s downfall, the world may plot against the Christian. Behind all of these will be Satan who is stronger than any Christian on their own.
This is not to say the Christian is merely fighting external forces, but he will also encounter inward battles. Old and new sins, sins of habit and sins we are particularly vurnerable to, will battle within us.
Just as Joshua fought for God, if we are on God’s side, we can rely on him to strengthen us and enable us by his Spirit working within us. With the help of the Spirit, we can overcome sin and glorify God. It may not be easy, but it is achievable with his help.