A good word is mighty. It brightens despair, powers through difficulties, and inspires action. But at its most powerful, a good word changes things. In fact, it does more than just change things, it transforms things. We sometimes conflate those two terms, thinking they mean the same thing. They don’t. My wife has an old, tan colored Toyota van. I’ve never liked the color, and frankly, don’t really like the van. I could repaint it a different color. Perhaps a deep metallic blue with a wide stripe down the right hood and roof would make it more palatable. Of course, if I do that, I’ll change the van, but only in a very small way. It won’t be as ugly to look at, but it’ll still be the same less than desirable, unmanly, bland, Toyota Hoseymobile. However, if I paint it that fabulous blue, put in a V8 engine with twin turbos, give it new tires, tint the windows, give it a new steering and suspension system, make it a 4 wheel drive, and deck it out with exterior lighting, I will have transformed it into a new and different van!
Words are transformational like that. Last year, I met a man who was very distraught. He had some goals for his life, and he wasn’t meeting those goals. Ultimately, he wanted to move from a rural community to a larger city where he would have access to many services, as well as be exposed to many opportunities. Somehow, he developed the idea that if he didn’t complete a piece of paperwork within the next couple of week’s he’d lose his opportunity to move. In his head, he had to solve a problem with an apparent two week deadline on the day he was talking to me. His body was tense, his mood was tense, his brain was tense, and he was unable to make decisions appropriately for anything he was doing. I simply looked at him and said, “you know you don’t have to figure this out today.” I said it quietly, and kindly, then walked away. All his tension melted. His entire behavior and demeanor transformed in a matter of moments. He approached me few days later, and thanked me for giving him that good news. He’d never thought about it before.
Paul tells us about this dynamic clearly in Romans 1:16. It is there that he tells us that the gospel – that is, the good news – has the power of God to transform us, and save us from our sins. God’s amazing word has unmatched power for those who believe it! It doesn’t just change us, it transforms us.