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3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, 

But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. 

14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life,  

To turn one away from the snares of death.  



If you read Proverbs 13, you will see it is the proverb of contrasts. So many of these verses start with a positive. The next verse says but and then lists the contrast. We could call Proverbs 13 the proverb of buts; however, that reads much better than it sounds. 

Proverbs 13:3 is one of those contrast verses. If you guard your mouth, you guard your life. Once again, we are back to the wisdom of God, emphasizing our words. When a topic is repeated in Scripture, there is a good reason. We are the only living creatures that can choose and articulate our words. And no surprise there, we are created in the image of God. So as spiritual creations made in our Father’s image, our words are important. 

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 18:21, death and life are in the power of the tongue. And our verse for today lines up with that truth. There is much more power in our words than we have realized. The Bible says it’s a life or death matter. By choosing our words carefully, we put ourselves on a better track. 

But, and here is the contrast, if we let our words fly unchecked, it works destruction in our lives. I can see now how allowing our words to go unguarded causes problems. Over the 42 years Joy and I have been married, we were careful to guard our words in some areas. I wish I could say that we guarded every area, but we are still learning. 

One of the areas that we did guard was that we did not use the word divorce. I can think of less than three times in our life together when that word was mentioned. We had some difficult years, but something in us, had to be the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, prompted us to keep a lid on that word. 

This is where our second verse for today comes into play. The law of the wise is a fountain of life to turn us away from the snares of death. Learning to guard our words is the wisdom of God. And His word is the law of the wise. There is nothing or no one wiser than Him. So, the law of the wise helped Joy and I keep our marriage alive by never expressing hate, lack of love, or desire to divorce. Consistently saying things such as “I hate you,” or “I never loved you,” or “I don’t want to be with you” are hurtful words that inject death into a relationship. Words of “I love you,” “You are God’s gift to me,” and “if I had to choose again, I would choose you” are life-giving words. Words do matter. 

On a related note, be careful regarding the words you speak about yourself. I have had a few birthdays, but I do not talk old and declining. I know I will not be down here forever, but there is no need to speed up the aging process with negative words. Calling ourselves stupid, dull, losing my mind, or falling apart is not helping. And this is not what God’s law of wisdom says about us. In Christ, we are loved, forgiven, blessed, chosen, helped, and strengthened. Those are much better words. 

Since death and life are in the power of the tongue, when it comes to our relationships and ourselves, choose life!