Excerpt from The Fourth Dimension, The Creative Power of the Spoken Word by Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the largest Protestant church in the world, located in Korea. (This is from the 1979 edition which is no longer in print.)
The Creative Power of the Spoken Word
There are certain steps we must follow for faith to be properly incubated and a central truth about the realm faith operates in. There is also a basic principle about the spoken word that we need to understand. So I want to speak to you about the creative power of the spoken word and the reason why the usage of it is so important.
One morning I was eating breakfast with one of Korea’s leading neurosurgeons, and he was telling me about a recent finding about various operations of the brain. He asked, “Dr. Cho, did you know that the speech center in the brain rules over all the nerves? You ministers really have power, because according to our recent findings in neurology, the speech center in the brain has total dominion over all the other nerves.”
I laughed saying, “I’ve known that for a long time.”
He asked me, “How did you know that? In the world of neurology, these are new findings.”
I replied that I had learned it from Dr. James.
“Who is this Dr. James,” he asked.
“Why, he was one of the famous doctors in Biblical times nearly 2000 years ago,” I replied. “And in his book, chapter 3 the first few verses, Dr. James clearly defines the activity and the importance of the tongue and the speech center.”
The neurosurgeon was completely amazed. “Does the Bible really teach about this?”
“Yes, the tongue is the least member of the body, but it can bridle the whole body.”
Then the neurosurgeon began to expound on their findings. He said that the speech nerve center has such power over all the body that simply speaking can give one control over his body to manipulate it in the way he wishes. He said, “if someone keeps on saying, ‘I’m going to become weak,’ then right away, all the nerves receive that message and they say, ‘oh, let’s prepare to become weak, for we have received instructions from our central communication that we should become weak.’ They then in natural sequence adjust their physical attitude to weakness. If someone says, ‘Well, I have no ability – I can’t do this job, then right away all the nerves begin to declare the same thing. ‘Yes, they respond, we received instructions from the central nervous system saying that we have no abilities. To give up striving to develop any capability we must prepare ourselves to become a part of an incapable person.’
“If someone keeps saying, ‘I’m very old, I’m so very old and so tired, I can’t do anything,’ then right away the speech central control response begins giving out orders to that effect. The nerves response – ‘yes, we are old. We are ready for the grave. Let’s be ready to disintegrate.’ If someone keeps on saying that he is old, then that person is soon going to die.”
The neurosurgeon continued saying that man should never retire. Once a man retires, he keeps repeating to himself, “I am retired.” And all the nerves start responding and become less active and ready for a quick death.
That conversation carried great meaning to me. It made an impact on my life. For I could see that one important usage of the spoken word is the creation of a successful personal life. People easily adapt to speaking in an negative way. “Boy am I poor. I don’t even have any money to give to the Lord.” When an opportunity does come for a job with a good salary, the nervous system responds. “I’m not able to be rich, because I haven’t received that reverse instruction from my nerve center yet. I’m supposed to be poor. So I can’t accept this job. I’m not supposed to have money.”
Light attracts light. And since you act as if you were a poor person, you attract poverty. This attraction, if it remains permanent, will allow you to dwell permanently in poverty. Exactly as the Bible said 2000 years ago, it is so today. Medical science has just recently discovered this principle. This one neurosurgeon said that people should keep saying to themselves, “I am young, I am able, I can do the work of a young person, no matter what my chronological age is.” The nerves of that person will become alive and receive power and strength from the nerve center.
The Bible says clearly that whosoever controls the tongue controls the whole body. What you speak, you are going to get. If you keep on saying you are poor, then all your system conditions yourself to attract poverty. You will feel at home in poverty. You would rather be poor and argue with people who aren’t.
But if you will keep on saying that you are able – that you can achieve success, then all of your body would be bridled to success. You would be ready to meet any challenge; ready to conquer it. This is the reason you should never speak in a negative way.
We have the habit of making frequent use of words that have to do with dying. Common expressions are, “it’s so warm I could die. Oh, I’ve eaten so much I could suffocate to death. Oh, I’m so happy I could die. Oh, I’m scared to death.” Koreans repeatedly use these negative words. That is the reason that throughout Korea 5000 year history we have been constantly dying, constantly at war. My generation has never seen peace in this country. I was born during World War II, and I grew up during the Korean War. And now we still live in a country on the brink of war.
Before you can be changed, you must change your language. If you do not change your language, you cannot change yourself. If you want to see your children change, you must teach them how to use proper language. If you want to see rebellious and irresponsible children change into responsible adults, you must teach them this new language.
Where can we learn this new language? From the best book of all. The Bible. From Genesis to Revelation. The Bible’s language, the Bible’s rules for the tongue.
Feed your nervous system with these words. Constructive, progressive, productive, victorious words. Keep repeating them so that you can have control of your whole body. Then you will become victorious. For you will become completely conditioned to meet your environment and circumstances and achieve complete success.
Transcription of an audible reading by Billye Brim on a radio program.