Let’s be honest. Almost all of us love to talk. Some of us love it more than others! We want people to listen to us. We want to share our ideas! Or our complaints. We want people to return our calls, read our texts, like our Facebook posts and retweet our tweets. We feel like we have something to say. Something to contribute. Maybe we do. But let’s stop and consider what God has to say about all of our talking…
Most of what He has to say comes as words of warning about just how dangerous our tongues can be.
Check out this little nugget:
James 3:6- “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell”
Wow! Ok. The tongue seems kinda dangerous.
How about this little old testament verse set in the context of speaking to God:
Ecclesiastes 5:2- “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.”
Ok. Got it. We should shut up.
There are lots more places we can look but I don’t have the time and space here. I am trying to let my words be few.
Why do you think there are so many warnings in the bible about how we are to use our speech?
Proverbs 18:21- “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eats its fruit”
It’s because the bible says that our words can be a matter of life and death.
Our speech can destroy people. We can cut our finger and it hurts. But we can put a band aid on it and assuming it doesn’t leave a scar to remind us we will have forgotten all about it months- if not days- later. But one word. One simple word can be spoken to us and it can cut our heart. It can crush our spirit and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
Or- our speech can give life to people. We can share the good news of the Gospel with someone- and truly save their life. We can uplift someone, encourage them and make them feel valued and appreciated. Our lips can be vehicles of grace to those who are broken and hurting.
Our words matter and we should be diligent in paying attention to the words coming out of us.
Why? Because the words coming out of us reveals the state of the heart within us.
Matthew 12:34- “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”
Matthew 15:18- “But what comes out of a mouth proceeds from the heart and defiles a person”
Those were the words of Jesus. There is a computer programming term for this.
What is inside of you will rise to the surface and eventually escape through your pie hole. That’s an unsettling thought.
Throughout scripture we are commanded to control our speech. We are also told that it is an impossible thing for us to do. On our own.
Our only hope in controlling our speech first comes by our hearts being transformed by the regenerating power of God’s Holy Spirit. We need a heart transplant. The cold, dead heart we were born with must be replaced with one of living flesh by the master cardiologist.
Yet even after this miraculous work of transformation is done our sanctification is not complete…we still must rely on the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination and guidance as we regularly dwell on God’s Word. We must sit and listen to Him speak. We must abide in the vine. God becomes our life support. In turn, our hearts are then continually conformed into the image of Christ day by day.
Colossians 3:16- “Let the word God dwell in you richly…”
So here is my simple word of advice to those of us who struggle with talk-itis:
1- Speak Words of Repentance
Come to Christ to experience true heart change that will lead to behavior change. Confess your weakness in this area to Him and ask Him to transform your heart. It is guaranteed that when God transforms your heart…your speech will change.
Romans 10:10- “For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
2. Listen to God Speak
As you abide in Christ day by day, feast on the words from God’s mouth. The more you are around His words…the more they will dwell in your heart. And we know what happens then.
3. Speak Words of Grace
Take the time to slow down and think about your words. Measure them carefully when you can. Are your words bringing encouragement and spiritual life to others? If you have so richly received the grace of God surely you will want to extend that grace outward to others. Let your words be few and let them be seasoned with grace and edifying to the body of Christ.
May your prayer continue to be:
Psalm 19:14- “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer”