"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, August 31, 2012

ANY, ANY, ANY - PART 2

Ephesians 4:29 & 31  (NIV 1984)  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."



Last week I was upset by a comment made against me and it hurt.  

really wanted to lash out and teach 'em a lesson.  Oh, you've been there too huh?   I mean, I could almost see the ALL CAPS on the tip of my tongue with exclamation points.  

In this moment, the Spirit constricted the harness so tight I thought an eyeball might pop out.  God enabled me to respond with grace.  I refused to poison the water . . . this time.  


I could have leveled this person and put them in their place, but I relinquished.  I'm so thankful I did not respond as my flesh wanted.  If I had, it would have polluted my relationship with this person.  

Last week I shared that out of the overflow of our heart the mouth speaks.  The window to our heart is through our tongue.  Every time we open our mouth we let people look into our mind and into our heart because our words reflect what is stored within.  

Part 2 of our series addresses how our words can damage and how our words can build others up. Our tongue can accomplish great things, both for good and evil.

Ephesians 4:29 & 31 reminds us, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."  

Do not let any unwholesome talk . . . not "a little," not "just this one time," not "everybody else says it," not "she deserves it," not "But, it's true."  The Word says not "any."  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  Goose egg.  Do we get the picture?  Not ANY!  

The word for "unwholesome" in Ephesians means rotten or worthless.  The word for "benefit" is actually grace.  To speak with grace means our words should bring joy, pleasure and delight to our audience.  Unwholesome words tear down, wholesome words build up.
  • Worthless words sabotage . . . Worthy words strengthen.  
  • Rotten words ruin . . . Righteous words restore.
  • Discouraging words destroy . . . Delightful words dignify.
  • Disgraceful words humiliate . . . Gracious words honor.
  • Belittling words defeat . . .  Beautiful words defend.
  • Critical words crush . . . Considerate words are careful.
  • Harsh words hurt us . . . Healing words offer hope.
Sometimes I think we don't even consider that we have issues with our mouths.  We've become calloused with our words and don't even see a problem.  Or, we are too busy noticing others' issues we neglect to diagnose our own.  

A little "sharing" here, a little profanity there, minor meddling, an off color joke to create some laughter.  Before we know it, our mouths are not seasoned with salt and we begin to resemble the world and culture we live in.

Once again, (boy I'm good at this) my ugly came out last night and I had to apologize to my husband and son.  I was stressing over back-to-school supplies.  I got a little snippy with them for playing outside while I was trying to organize dry erase markers, graph paper and subject divider folders.  

My tone, body language and facial expressions were unwarranted.  What I said did not build them up or benefit their ears.  Rather, the anger and irritation in my voice inflection and demeanor tore them down.  Their faces expressed hurt.  Immediately I was convicted.

Recognizing the weaknesses of our tongue is vital.  But we can't stop here.  We must be proactive in our pursuit of pure speech.  We open our lips everyday.  The necessity to maintain a tight reign begins when we wake up each morning.  We must choose to surrender our tongue each day, each hour, each moment, to the Lord.  Remember, disciplined speech is a mark of spiritual maturity.


Heart Work:
Before you speak, ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say kind, is it beneficial, is it edifying, is it necessary, is it true, and does it improve the silence?"  If you answer "no," keep it to yourself.

Read James chapter 3.  Reflect and write down what James teaches regarding our tongue.  What analogies does he compare it to?  Why does he consider our tongue "deadly?"

Heart Exam:
What is your biggest area of weakness with your tongue?  (critical, harsh, gossip, slander, profanity, disrespect, judgement etc.)

How difficult is it for you to not talk at all?

In view of our key verse, what would you like to change?

What can you do to make your speech valuable - both useful to others and acceptable to God?

Heart Transforming Word:
Psalm 64:3  (NIV 1984)  "They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows."

Proverbs 10:19  "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."  

Proverbs 12:18  "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."  

Proverbs 15:1  "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  

Proverbs 21:23  "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."  

Matthew 12:34, 36-37  "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. . . But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."  

Ephesians 5:4 "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."  

James 3:9  "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be."


Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen.  All rights reserved.