Soul Etchings

By Alisa Branch
I was about nine years old when I first learned about indelible ink. I don’t remember the exact context, but I know it had something to do with the many carvings my dad (who was not a Christian!) created and hung all over our home. In his beautiful calligraphy, he had inscribed each with poetry, verse, or scripture. “Ye are of more value than many sparrows,” was one of the messages that streamed from those carvings right into my psyche during my critical formative years. The truths etched on my soul by those “life verses” have impacted my life profoundly.
I do not believe there is any “magic” in words. I do not subscribe to modern philosophies that endow words with a kind of mystical power containing an inherent authority to control life and direct its course in any absolute sense. I believe that only God has that kind of sovereignty and control. But I do believe that words can create indelible messages that touch our spirits with encouragement or discouragement, calm or strife, hope or despair. 
The God Who gave us language and the ability to communicate, knows that words are powerful.  We are told that “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). In Deuteronomy 30:19, God set out two opposing paths and urged the people of Israel to choose life instead of death; blessings instead of curses. Earlier in Deuteronomy 11: 18-21, they had been told to write God’s words of (literal and spiritual) life and of blessing, on their “hearts and minds… that your days and the days of your children may be many…”
Solomon, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, echoes the counsel to internalize “life-giving” words, “Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them…Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:21-24. And the apostle Paul tells the Colossian church to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3: 16 NKJV)
In the chaos and confusion all around us today, words often spell curses rather than blessings, death rather than life. Yet, more than ever, over all the din, God calls His people to etch the words of life and blessing on our souls, on our hearts and minds, on our foreheads, on our doorposts, on our gates and on our children’s impressionable lives.
It is by choosing life-infused words that we distinguish ourselves as, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,” and we “shine among them like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life.” (Philippians 2:15-16).
Words matter. Messages matter. Messages from songs, movies, media, and conversations – all have the power of life and death; and the power to choose is still ours. Choose life!

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