Posts Tagged ‘speech’

The Power of Speech

June 29th, 2016

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! (Psalm141:3)

Our words have the power to wow people, to say something precious, beautiful, and uplifting.

Our words also have the power to wound people, to say something painful, hurtful, and destroying.

The psalmist prayed that God would prevent him from saying those things that he would regret later. We may regret our words because they would come back to harm us. We can say things in anger that can create enemies, and none of us needs more enemies.

But a more important matter is that we may say things that can work against the purposes of God. We may hurt people when we should have been blessing them. We may discourage them when we should have been encouraging them.

It is especially true that we may use our words to bring shame to the name of Christ. Or we may not speak up when we should. Christ said:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-38)

The image of the psalm is our bodies as a castle or a walled city, and our lips are the gates that allow thoughts to come out into the open. No matter how precious and considerate our thoughts are they are expressed through our words. We may harbor love as well as anger in our hearts, but neither of these would be known without speaking.

This also applies to God in worship. Solomon wrote:

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

With God also our words should be the reflection of thought and considerate of his purpose and will for our lives.

So be careful with your speech. Use your words to lift people up, to bless and encourage, and to give a witness to Christ.

Daily Devotions , , ,

Good Wounds

November 27th, 2012

The wounds of a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Proverbs 27:6

We may trust Christ in all circumstances. Beyond Him, every other human being is subject to moral weakness and is unreliable. David even went so far as to write, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psa. 27:10), and though none of us want to imagine that our very parents could turn their back on us or their face against us, we would have to admit that stranger things have happened in life. Our Light and our Salvation is the Lord, and no other!

Yet God does give us friends on earth and this proverb teaches a very important point about the nature of friendship: flattery is not its true test. True friends can be honest with each other and even if their words are wounding, the intention is good. If they are spoken in love and with insight they should be heeded.

The Lord uses people in our lives, and He uses us in the lives of others. Haddon Robinson in his book Biblical Preaching, made the observation of the importance of the preacher himself in the sermon. We pray sincerely, “Hide my pastor behind the cross!” and certainly it is our goal in preaching for people to see Jesus and not us. Yet Robinson accurately points out the limitations of such a prayer, that the preacher becomes part of his message and the message will be processed through his own psyche and experience and faith.

But this also says something about every believer. Our words are never more profound than God’s. Our opinions are never equal to God’s opinion. But if we walk with Him in knowledge of His Word and in fellowship with His Spirit and His people, God does give us insight and graceful advice to share with others. A judgmental and critical spirit seeks to put others down, and lift up ourselves, and normally can be spotted by others. A quarrelsome, critical, negative, and prideful spirit is not of God (Matt. 7:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; James 3:13-16).

But genuine love does have a confrontational element to it, that we say graciously what the other needs to hear. By “speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is. Christ” (Eph. 4:15). Not setting ourselves above the other, and approaching the matter in utter humility of heart (Gal 6:1-6). If God has put a brother or a sister on your heart, pray first for them, and then if God gives you the opportunity to share a word of wisdom, do it graciously, humbly, and in love, watching yourself that you are not tempted.

This also applies to others who speak to us. We are not called to stand on our own. We need the help and encouragement, as well as the insight and advice, from others around us. We are not just the composite of our past; our very present also influences our effectiveness. A believer in Christ should open his heart to hear from his friends in Christ, to listen to wisdom and their guidance.

The ultimate test is always the Word of God, but others have a place in helping us to understand how to apply it to our lives.

Evening Devotionals , , , , , , ,