Proverbs 18:21 Amplified Bible
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
I remember vividly my introduction to Sociology as a high school senior — a time during which I was allowed to take a Sociology/Anthropology course along with some other advanced, college-level courses. The impact of the Soc./Anth. course was significant. As an undergraduate student, I majored in Sociology.
One of the first sociological theories any Soc. student learns is Labeling Theory, which–in a nutshell–is “…the theory of how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labeling_theory). Note that I do not quote from Wikipedia typically, but I like the broad definition and connection to “…self-fulfilling prophecy…” presented.
Here are a few examples of labels many individuals–including those who study the Word of God—place upon themselves: “PTSD,” “neurotic,” “OCD,” “ADD,” “ADHD,” “addict,” “alcoholic,” “over-eater,” etc. If God’s Word is true—and I believe it is—each time we speak these labels upon ourselves, we give life to these very words (labels) so that they impact our lives accordingly. Again, consider Proverbs 18:21 above. We are told that we possess power to control consequences via our own words (tongue).
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe the enemy’s subtlety has influenced our understanding to some degree. That is, the Word of God tells us:
Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And [a]the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from [b]any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die!” (Genesis 3:1-4 Amplified)
First, focus on the word “subtle.” Please know that the term in this case references a level of deception that is so unassuming that many become ensnared without realizing what has occurred. Notice also that God told Adam and Eve one thing, but the serpent (Satan) told them something different—he changed the words. Here’s the bottom line: the enemy desires that you think of yourself differently than God intended so that you will—inevitably—SPEAK regarding yourself differently in comparison to what God states about you.
From the very beginning (Genesis), God has given us firm examples of who and what He made us to be. As a result, knowing who we are, we can now SPEAK regarding ourselves in the manner He designed and approved:
So, now, are you what the psychologist and/or psychiatrist calls you? Are you correct to view and/or refer to yourself based upon the labels that these individuals and/or others have associated with your name (e.g. “whore,” “slut,” “slow,” “mentally retarded,” “fat,” etc.)? Here is God’s answer (Romans 3:4 – NIV):
Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar.As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[a]
Think about the actual definitions of the labels you place upon yourself. I mean are you truly “learning disabled” (LD)? Are you truly “socially inept” or “inept” otherwise? Here’s the bigger question: Does God’s WORD describe you as such? Of course, the Word of God does not place such labels upon us. As a result, why would you place such a label upon yourself, especially knowing that you are giving life to the characteristics of that particular label within your life?
Also, think about this: Who made the determination that you were an “addict,” “inept,” etc.? Who told you to view yourself as such? There is great arrogance involved in man pointing out flaws within others; there is great arrogance in man presenting himself as the image of perfection, righteousness, and/or the overall standard by which others are to gauge themselves. This line of thinking, brothers and sisters, comes from the subtle one—the enemy!
I thank God for His WORD, which gives us power over the enemy’s subtlety. We can now renounce the labels that have impacted us negatively, as the Lord Himself tells us:
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19 – KJV)
Conquer (defeat) the spirit of the negative labels associated with you name; speak ONLY that which God states about you.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!