"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


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.


  1. Hi beautiful Hester!
    This was so timely for me. Yesterday I kept praying, "Lord, guard my lips." I long to have speech that always encourages, lifts up, and honors Christ. Thank you for the power boost!

    1. Kristi,

      Thank you for your comment - I truly appreciate your feedback. I too desire to have speech that honors Christ. God bless you sister,

      Love, Hester ;)

  2. Hi Hester!

    Stopping by and following from Susan Stilwell's blog! This post is similar to my most recent... Boy oh boy you've prompted me to take inventory of the overflow of my heart (hurts that I've hung onto, unspoken apologies, open wounds I've not allowed to heal...) Laying these at the feet of Jesus, so I can be in relationship with others the way they need for me to be ~ I think I'll go do that right now!

    So glad to be buddies & looking forward to the fellowship!


    1. Hi Marisa,

      Welcome to Hester's Heart! Thank you for stopping by - don't you just love Susan! She's a jewel! Thank you for your comment and blessing us with your insight. I too look forward to the fellowship! I'll be sure to pop by your blog too.

      Love, Hester ;)

  3. Not just what we say with our words, but how we say it (tone/etc.): I needed to hear that today before I address a conflict that I need to tend to. Thanks, Hester.

    1. Thanks for your comment Kirsten - I know, my body language gets the worst of me and I'm REALLY working on it. I hope your conflict resolution went well today - God bless you sister, Love, Hester :)

  4. Love this, Hester. Especially this proverb -
    When words are many, sin is not absent...
    The more we jabber, the more likely we are to sin. OUCH

    Thank you! Enjoy the long weekend!

    1. God bless you Susan,

      Thank you for your comment. Proverbs has so much godly wisdom for us doesn't it?! ;)

      Love, Hester ;)

  5. Good Evenin' from Maine sister Hester. I always enjoy your honesty. The line that stuck out to me the most was,"God enabled me to respond with grace". I'm learning so much about how much I NEED HIM! I think for everything? Or at least for anything good, right? :) p.s. How's the barking dog been this week? ~ Love you, Amy

    1. Hello sweet Amy!

      I appreciate your feedback and am blessed by your comment tonight; thank you. Me too sister, I do NEED Him for everything! Barking dog is still doing what he does best! :(

      Love, Hester ;)

  6. OH, Hester...sometimes I think you must be living right next door peeking in my window. Your post was so timely...and extra confirmation on an area that God is trying to get my attention. It is hard to not let this sin trip me up. However--I do have a praise--This evening I almost picked up the phone to "just share"--but instead, I decided to listen to a CD. So, thankful for God's help in choosing the better choice. Blessings to you as God continues to use you...to teach us!

    1. Kim,

      You're so funny and I appreciate your honesty. I know, sometimes when my pastor preaches I think he has cameras in my home. :)

      What a testimony in your faithfulness to choose right today in not sharing - I know it's hard and we're certainly all guilty of it. But, I know when I think about it and am more aware of my tendencies it helps me to be more proactive.

      Thank you also Kim for your encouragement to me. It means a lot.

      Love you, Hester :)

  7. Hi Hester!
    Lexi and I were just talking about "talking" and how when we just speak/talk without THINKING it can often lead to all sorts of sinful scenarios (gossip, slander, etc.) It is ok to be silent! Many of us think we always need to respond and we don't. Anyway, this is what I've been discussing with my girls lately! love you my friend!

    1. Lisa, I appreciate hearing how you talk about these kinds of things with your children. They are so very blessed to have you. Thank you for your encouragement and taking the time to share with me.

      Love to you, hester ;)

  8. It's a battle, isn't it, Hester? There are days, and then there are DAYS, and on THOSE days, I almost want to duct-tape my mouth. *grin* Except that it's out of the heart the mouth speaks, so I cry out to God and ask Him to change my heart, make me more like Him.

    Thank God for His grace, His Spirit, and His forgiveness.

    Blessings to you this week, sweet friend!

    1. Julie,

      Thank you for your comment. I too, often need the Duck Tape. :) Amen to His grace and forgiveness.

      Bless you too sister,
      Hester, ;)

  9. This is just perfect! I am going to print this out as a reminder for the chilren (and myself at times) how their words are weapons.

    Thanks for a great message!
    Luv ya!

    1. Jen,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Our words are weapons indeed sister. :)

      Bless you for your encouragement Jen,
      Love you back,
      Hester, :)