There is an indescribable quality about words, even when they are printed, but more so when they are spoken. Words are chariots in which the quality of the heart and mind ride forth to other souls.
The dominant heart-quality of a person will possess and accompany his words with absolute precision. If the spirit of a man is superficial, or narrow, or timeserving, or selfish, or trifling, these qualities will pervade his words, in spite of all the seriousness or sanctity he may try to put into them.
If, on the other hand, his heart is large and filled with the broad, tender love of Jesus and compassion for others, then the simplest expressions, which may seem commonplace, will be freighted with these qualities. All words are loaded with the quality of the soul out of which they proceed.
It is eternally impossible for God to utter one word that is not loaded with divinity; it is equally impossible for the devil to utter one word which does not, in some way, contain a lie.
Words are like eyes. Some eyes are inquisitive; others are pleading; others are brave; others are searching; others are mild and tender; and still others are low and mean. There is an invisible stream of soul-quality that flows out from people’s eyes, and there is no way in the world to change the quality of that stream except by changing the eye, and the only way to change the eye is to change the immortal spirit that looks out through the eye.
This same thing is true of words. Our words are the eyeballs of the heart, in which others see the quality of our minds.
The apostle Paul speaks of our words being seasoned with salt (see Col. 4:6), and Jesus tells us that we must “have salt in [our]selves” (Mark 9:50, KJV). Salt is a type of the indwelling Christ; and it is when we are salted through and through with the blessed Holy Spirit that our words will be seasoned with the real Christ-life.
Our words cannot be loaded with the Holy Spirit after they leave our lips. If God is in them, they must proceed out of a Holy Spirit element in us. The drops of blood or the tears that you may shed all contain salt; but that salt is in the stomach and the heart before it is in the blood-drops or the teardrops.
In like manner, if our words have a savor of life and power in them, they must get that quality from the inner depths of our spirits before they drop from our lips or our pens. Jesus teaches that our words reveal our heart-character and says: “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
There are several characteristics that can be attributed to “loaded” words:
1. Words spoken or written by the Holy Spirit will be loaded with light. There will be a transparency and straightforward simplicity in them like that of clear glass. They will not be spoken for ostentation, or for sound, or in guile, or with double meaning. Words spoken for such purposes are opaque rather than clear.
Many a sermon is so preached, and many a religious book so written, that instead of revealing the truth to the simplest understanding, it obscures it. The only proper end of words is to make a thought easily and perfectly intelligible, and when the Holy Spirit inspires them, they are like balls of clear glass, in which the very core of the thought can be known.
2. Words loaded with the Spirit have an inexpressible warmth and magnetism in them. They seem to quiver with a heavenly electricity; they vitalize the mind; they penetrate the understanding; there is a love-quality in them, like the pungent, penetrating heat of sweet spices and aromatic oils. A piece of cedarwood or sandalwood will give forth a sweet, pungent odor for hundreds of years; and so there is a hot, burning flavor in the words which have come from minds aflame with divine love.
It often happens that persons devoid of the interior flame of the Holy Spirit try to put a pathos or an unction into their prayers or sermons or conversations; but in spite of all their efforts, their words are insipid, milk and water, chilly and powerless, because they come not from an interior furnace but from a painted fire, which dazzles the eye and freezes the hearer.
The Holy Spirit alone can put into our words that burning, warming sensation that kindles other souls into fervor. Notice, when some person speaks in a religious meeting under the melting, burning love of Jesus, how their words strike the mind like a warm south wind in early spring; notice how the congregation listens to catch every word; how the fiery stream of speech will evoke a pleasant smile, or a flowing tear, or awaken conviction, or a sense of joy; every mind in the congregation that loves the truth will be wide awake; there is a warmth in the expression of the people’s eyes, and if you could see into their intellects, it would resemble a flower garden blossoming into bright and glowing thoughts, and their affections melted into sweetness.
Those burning words are being shot like red-hot bullets from a divine magazine of a fire-baptized heart. In comparison with such words, all human eloquence is like cold moonbeams on a frozen sea.
3. Holy Spirit-loaded words have a divine fitness in them with regard to time and place and matter. God often arranges to have His Spirit-led children speak words in a particular set of circumstances, or at a particular time, and in a particular tone of voice that were not premeditated by the speaker and that accomplish vast and everlasting results. The people they are directed to will later say, “You spoke a certain word to me years ago, under such and such circumstances, that made a great change in my life.”
Take the case of a young lady physician who has packed her trunk to leave a certain camp meeting. She is invited to lead a young people’s meeting. An evangelist standing by, in an unpremeditated way, simply says: “Sister, the Lord wants you here; go, unpack your trunk, and lead that meeting.” The words are loaded; they pierce the heart. The young lady leads the meeting, and from that time on becomes a holiness evangelist.
A certain man is holding a meeting in North Georgia. A brother steps up and says: “I met you 10 years ago in Augusta. When I was seeking sanctification and walking in the street, I asked you several questions. You simply answered me: ‘Brother, just leave yourself in the hands of Jesus, and He will answer all your questions.’ Your words were loaded, and in a few moments I was in spiritual liberty.”
There are millions of instances in which words have been spoken under the guidance of the Holy Spirit just in the nick of time to accomplish great results.
4. Loaded words are durable; they have in them the element of immortality. Commonplace words glide away from us by the million; but certain words, appropriate to our needs and charged with the Spirit, bury themselves in our memories and remain fresh with us throughout life.
If we want our prayers, or sermons, or testimonies, or written words, to abide in everlasting fruitfulness, they must be in the order of divine will and under the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Some persons try purposely to speak wise and appropriate and powerful words. But all such is a failure.
You can’t speak loaded words by trying to; it is only by having the very fountains of our being so melted and filled and united with the Holy Spirit that, without any premeditation, every stray shot and even our ordinary conversation will be just as full of holy gravity and fiery truth as our prayers and sermons. The power must be generic and continually flowing through us from the indwelling Christ.
A trifling preacher during the week cannot speak fiery and weighty words on Sunday. Let us in secret prayer bathe ourselves so long in the bright and warm presence of Jesus that when we go forth we shall unconsciously carry in our manners and words that imitable quality of life and durability which can come alone from the Eternal One.
If in the past our words have been lacking in the divine aroma of grace, let us go to the fountain and, by persevering prayer, get in such abiding relation with the real source of all holiness as to make our very words conductors of heavenly electricity. Our infinite, loving God will gladly utilize any little humble one on this earth as a channel of holy fire, if he will utterly yield himself up to His will and the current of the Holy Spirit.
George Douglas Watson (1848-1923) was a holiness evangelist for the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He authored of several books, including Bridehood Saints and Soul Food, from which this excerpt was taken.