Did you know the average person speaks about 6,500 words in a day? (Yes, men use fewer and women use more—but that’s not my point!) One recent paper says that college students talk more than anyone else, saying nearly 16,000 words per day!

If you take the more conservative number and multiply it across a person’s average lifespan, you get somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million words spoken! An average novel holds a measly .07 million words. By the end of your life, your daily speech accounts for the equivalent of writing 2,800 novels!

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that all those words aren’t getting published. James says the tongue is restless, a dangerous evil (James 2). It’s like a serpent, waiting to strike. Based on these numbers, it has plenty of opportunities.

We should remember that what comes out of the mouth reveals what is inside the heart (Matthew 15:11). What would the novels of our lives reveal? Books of gossip, slander, anger, complaining, and hate? Or are our words “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6) or are they just useless, idle chatter?

I’m not sure I’d like to see what the volumes of the words of my life would contain. I can’t do anything about the books I’ve already written, but I can improve the next chapter. Consider these words of Proverbs 10:8, “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.”