More Than a Conversation: Discovering the Power in Life-Giving Words

One of the things I enjoy about Mark Batterson’s writing is his ability to help me think about “ordinary” things in new ways. Such as words. I have always been a “word person,” yet I still have a lot to understand about how powerful words can be. They truly have the power of life and death in them—whether they are on a page, on a screen, or spoken to a neighbor, a child, or a stranger. Here Mark challenges us to ask, What will the transcript of my life tell about whether I lived a life of blessing or curse? It’s a grace to welcome Mark to the farm’s front porch today….

guest post by Mark Batterson

During a fragile time in my teenage years, I was given the gift of life-giving words.

I was kneeling at an altar when a missionary put a hand on my shoulder and started praying over me.

Then his prayer turned prophetic: “God is going to use you in a great way.”

It was only one sentence, but I’ve held on to those words through thick and thin. And I’ve tried to flip that blessing by speaking life-giving words to others.

One of the most powerful blessings you can bestow on another person is well-timed words.

Remember the woman who broke open her alabaster jar of perfume and anointed Jesus? Remember the way the Pharisees and the disciples criticized her?

Jesus counteracted their criticism with the gift of life-giving words: “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:9).

Can you imagine the way those words buoyed her spirit the rest of her life?

Those are the kinds of words you have tattooed on your body or inscribed on your tombstone! Jesus blessed her with prophetic words, and they were fulfilled one more time with your reading of them just now.

As children of God and followers of Christ, we assume the mantle of the Old Testament priests who administered the blessing. We are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)!

It’s our job to declare God’s praises and pronounce God’s blessings.

Blessing and cursing are not compartmentalized biblical concepts. They are two very different ways of life, two very different ways of treating people.

If the transcript of your life were read aloud, what would your words reveal?

How do you talk about people when they aren’t present?

Do you berate them or brag about them behind their backs?

How do you talk to people when they’re present? Do you put them down, or do you look them in the eye and compliment them to their faces?

I have a three-inch-thick file that is filled with kind notes and thoughtful letters that I’ve received from readers of my books and from people I have the privilege of pastoring. Why do I keep them? Because every word of encouragement is a keepsake!

Every word of encouragement breathes new life into me.

In light of the power of words in our lives, does it come as any surprise that the Enemy of our souls is called the Father of Lies and the Accuser of the Brethren?

He speaks lies that can suck the life out of us.

How do we overcome his lies and his accusations? According to the writer of Revelation, we overcome them “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony” (Revelation 12:10–11).

At first glance, one of those things is not like the other! I would not put my testimony on par with the precious blood of Christ, but it’s one key to overcoming the Enemy.

Your testimony of God’s work in your life has the power to set other people free!

That’s how powerful your words can be.

How? Well, if God did it for you, He can do it for them. And if God did it before, He can do it again.

A number of years ago, I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. When we got to Dead Woman’s Pass, I had a throbbing headache caused by oxygen deprivation.

At that elevation, the atmosphere has 37 percent less oxygen.

Fortunately, our guide pulled out a can of pure oxygen. As I inhaled, the headache went away.

Life-giving words are pure oxygen.

The right words at the right time can change everything.

They can even change a life.


Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers CoffeehouseThe Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center.  Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle MakerChase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.

Mark’s latest book, Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It., calls us to give and receive God ultimate blessings: God with us, God for us, and God in us. Mark Batterson believes the key to radically increasing your faith, joy, and abundance can be found in these three words: Flip the blessing.

His discovery started with a simple experiment. Whenever Batterson received a blessing, he would give a similar blessing away. If someone paid him a compliment or gave him a gift or went out of their way to help him, he would return the favor by doing something similar for someone else.

In a day and age where the idea of blessing has been reduced to a hashtag (#blessed), Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook for their partnership in today’s devotion ]