Control Your Tongue

<strong>Control Your Tongue</strong>

We all know that it’s important to control what we say, but that doesn’t make it necessarily easy to do!  The Scriptures have quite a lot to teach us about this subject.

  • Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.  (Pro 4:24 ESV)

Crooked can mean dishonest, corrupt, twisted or unscrupulous.  Devious means sneaky, cunning, or scheming.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we can understand why neither of these would be admirable behavior for us.  The Holy Spirit would never lead us to act in such a way, particularly in light of Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:9 and 4:6; and Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25 NIV)

  • All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.  (Pro 8:8 NASB)

The psalmist is laying his heart before the Lord concerning the use of his tongue.  Let us each remember Psalm 12:6, The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. (NIV)  In imitating our Savior, we should speak pure words, full of righteousness.  Short of that, we should choose to be silent.

  • But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.   (Col 3:8 RSV)

This Bible verse (above) clearly tells us what type of behavior and conversation that we should reject.  And we are given a clear instruction of what we should communicate in Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (NIV)  Our words should encourage, comfort, and bless other people.  In this way, we become ministers of the love and presence of the Lord to other people.

  • If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is useless.  (Jam 1:26 CEV)

In the book of James, we’re reminded that controlling our tongues is a basic requirement for believers who represent the Lord Jesus and the kingdom of God. 

  • Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving.  (Eph 5:4 CEB)

Thanksgiving is always appropriate.  Having an attitude of gratitude will improve our daily lives and generate a pleasant atmosphere for those around us.  Being thankful to other people, as well as to God for His many blessings, is always appreciated.

To sum up today’s article, here is one more Bible passage:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit . . .  (1 Pet 3:10 ESV) May God give you good days and continual blessings!

The Importance of Words

The Importance of Words

The Bible is unambiguous about how important our words are.  The unique thing about words is that they affect not only the HEARERS but the SPEAKER as well.  We would do well to not only read these verses but to meditate upon them.

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.  (Pro 15:4 MSG) Words can cut and maim or they can heal and comfort.  Words can be constructive and informative, lending courage and information to the hearer.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!  (Pro 15:23 NIV) If we make positive, uplifting remarks it brings us joy and is received as a benefit by the hearer.

By his fruitful speech a man can remain satisfied, and a man’s handiwork will reward him.  (Pro 12:14 ISV) When our words bear the fruit of encouragement, peace, and joy, we will eventually earn a reputation as an encourager and a person full of faith.

Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.  (Pro 24:26 NIV) Honest words, spoken in love, carry a blessing to the spirit of the hearer.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  12 As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.  (Pro 25:11-12 MEV) Those who wish to please God and be good examples to others should speak the whole truth, utter appropriate praise, reflect wisdom, and edify the listeners; these words will always be “fitly (properly) spoken.”

Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 NASB) This verse reminds us that we should not speak any nasty or unpleasant words.  Instead, our words should edify (enlighten, improve, inform) the listeners so that those who hear will be honored, enhanced, or blessed.

As we honor God’s Word by obeying it, the Lord will show His pleasure and bless us in ways that we can’t imagine.  Spread kind, life-giving words wherever you go today.  Praise the Lord!

Guard Your Words & Emotions

Guard Your Words & Emotions

It is important for us to guard our words and our emotions.  Words are very important in life, and the Bible attests to that.  Let’s see what the Scriptures tell us.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (Jam 1:19 NIV) 

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.  (Prov 21:23 CEB)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  (Prov 10:19 ESV)

Whoever controls his temper is better than a warrior, and anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.  (Pro 16:32 ISV)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  (Col 3:8 NKJV)

We’re taught by the Word of God to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Do you notice that the only thing we should be QUICK about is listening?  Isn’t that opposite to what usually happens?

The wisdom that we can glean from God’s Word is that:

  • Restricting our words keeps us away from trouble;
  • We should control and limit our words;
  • Curtailing our lips is sensible and discreet;
  • Being able to control our own spirit is better than conquering an entire city; and
  • We should put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and all filthy language.

As we live in harmony with and obedience to the Word of God, we invite God’s blessings upon our lives.  Hallelujah!

Sweet Meditations on Scriptures

Sweet Meditations on Scriptures

It is a blessing of our salvation that we may have sweet meditations using the promises of God. 

The Bible says:  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.  (Pro 23:7a)  Our very thoughts govern our actions, according to the Bible.  So if we meditate upon Scriptures and the promises found therein, we can write God’s laws and blessings into our hearts and even into our lives!

My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord.  (Ps 104:34 KJ21)  We have the privilege to think about all of the beautiful and precious attributes that belong to our Savior and God.  And doing so will cause us to praise and worship and rejoice in the Him.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.  (Ps 19:14 KJ21)  If we would like our words to be acceptable to God, we will memorize Bible passages, because our words flow from our hearts and thoughts.  And meditating upon the promises of God will always be acceptable to God, for it is one of the purposes for which He gave us His written Word.

I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation.  (Ps 119:99 KJ21)  This Scripture communicates to us that we can be wiser than our teachers by making Bible passages our frequent meditation, and by obeying and honoring God’s Word. Why is that?  Because the wisdom of God is found within the Word of God, and He is willing and happy to share His wisdom with us.  Blessings upon you!

Thoughts & Words

Thoughts & Words

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  (Mt 5:22 NIV)

The sixth commandment from the Lord states:   You shall not murder.  (Ex 5:17 NIV)  This command also includes our thoughts and words, including emotions of unrighteous anger and damaging insults. 

Raca is an informal expression of contempt for a person’s mental ability, similar to “dope” or “witless.”  To call someone a fool is a way to show disrespect and scorn for a person’s character.  Both negative words in this verse suggest that the person being criticized should be doomed for eternity.

Our words proceed from the thoughts that we have hidden within us, as the Bible reminds us. 

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  (Lk 6:45c NIV)

Here again, we need to guide our lives by what the Lord teaches us.  But God considers critical words to be “corrupting,” and He instructs us to speak things that will encourage others and bless all who hear our conversation.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 ESV)

Another aspect of calling other people condemning names is that notion that in some way, we have judged the person or persons and have found them wanting.  How can we criticize another person who has been created in the image of God?

But God is aware of our words.  His advice is clear:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  (Mt 7:1 NIV)

I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak.  (Mt 12:36 CEB)

Don’t misunderstand me.  What I’ve been describing is all too human and something that we all fall prey to from time to time.  But this is our reminder to guard our thoughts diligently so that our words will be kind and encouraging to others.  If we can’t speak something positive, then it’s best to say nothing at all!

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (Jas 4:6 NASB)

The Lord gives us the ability [grace] to be at peace with all human beings.  He gives us the grace to forgive and to be kind. 

Let us ask the Lord for His grace for every situation and relationship in our lives.  God bless you!

Sweet, Kind Words

Sweet, Kind Words

What do you think about people who always speak kindly, and who treat others with the respect of using kind and gracious words?  Such people are rare, but we must surely admire and respect them. 

Pleasant [gracious] words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  (Pro 16:24 NKJV, definition in brackets added)

A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites fury.  (Pro 15:1 ISV)

A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!  (Pro 15:23 NASB)

Wholesome speech is a tree of life, but dishonest talk breaks the spirit.  (Pro 15:4 CEB)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  (Pro 31:26 ESV, emphasis added)

As we can see from these Bible passages, kind and pleasant words bless all those who hear them as well as those who speak them.  Good-humored, pleasing words and conversation can bring about unexpected benefits.  Here are just some of them:

  • Joy to the soul and good health for body, soul, and spirit (Pro 16:24)
  • Turning anger away (Pro 15:1)
  • Delight (Pro 15:23)
  • Lengthens our lives and enriches them (Pro 15:4)
  • Wisdom and kindness go hand-in-hand (Pro 31:26)

It is always a source of awe-inspired wonder to me that there is such a richness and depth to the teachings of the Word of God when we take time to study them and to understand them in their fullness. 

May your life be enriched, lengthened, and blessed by the kind and pleasant words that you speak to others, and which other people speak to you.  All glory to God!

The Words of Eternal Life

The Words of Eternal Life

Who has the Words of Eternal Life?  The Word tells us,

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (Joh 6:66-69, underscoring added) 

What did Peter mean when he said that Jesus had the “words of eternal life”?  He meant that everything that Jesus taught and lived by His example would lead us into eternal life. 

Jesus came to die in order to purchase our salvation.  John 3:16 reminds us that all who believe in Jesus Christ receive eternal life.  And the Lord Jesus Himself said,

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  (Joh 6:63)  Jesus’ very Words carry life!

These are deep spiritual concepts that are worth meditating upon and asking the Holy Spirit for insight into.  Here is another point of view:

“He is the way, the truth, and the life (Joh 14:6). And the aim of giving Himself as the truth to the world is freedom. You will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Free from the guilt and power of sin.  Free from deadness and blindness and judgment.” – Excerpt from John Piper teaching.

Jesus gives us freedom from “deadness,” as John Piper says above.  That’s a spiritually intense idea worth time in meditation and prayer.

Study the life and words of Jesus Christ and you will be studying the Words of Eternal Life.  God bless you.

The Beauty in this World

The Beauty in this World

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  (Ecc 3:11)  All the beauty that we see in everything is a gift from God.

Naphtali is a deer let loose; he uses beautiful words.  (Gen 49:21)  This verse compares a person to a liberated deer, and highlights the graceful and pleasant words that this person uses.  Even beautiful words (songs, poetry) are a wonderful gift from God.

And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.  (Lev 23:40, underscoring added)  This verse demonstrates that even the beauty in nature—the world around us—proceeds from God’s generous goodness.

These verses from the Bible (and my comments upon them) are used simply to endorse the concept and display it to you, that the beauty that we see, hear, taste, and touch in this world emanates from God’s love, generosity, and goodness.

Beautiful and successful relationships are also a gift from our loving God.  (Pro 13:20; 27:6, 9b)

We serve a good God who is full of lovingkindness and a desire to bless and to embrace us in beauty!   Hallelujah!

The Power of God

The Power of God

The Bible has quite a lot to say about the power of God.  Here are some selected verses.

. . . and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.  (Rom 1:4)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

. . . but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (1 Cor 1:24)

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  (1 Cor 2:4-5)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18)

I’m sure that you’ve noticed the recurring theme in these verses that Jesus is called the power of God or the verse may state that power comes through His good news.  How did Jesus access His Father’s power?  He accessed it through the Holy Spirit, for our Lord said:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  (Ac 1:8)  Jesus spoke this to His disciples, and told them that they would receive power through the Holy Spirit.

Further on in the New Testament, we read:

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5)

Each believer receives power in the same way that Jesus did, through the Holy Spirit and His presence in us.  We must learn to cooperate with the Lord and the Holy Spirit through our knowledge of the Word and through our obedience to it.  As we obediently serve Him and allow Him to lead and guide us, we will move and operate in His mighty power.

A Kiss for a Right Answer!

A Kiss for a Right Answer!

But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.  (25) He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.  (Pro 24:25-26)

This passage from the Bible has a couple of good spiritual points to make. 

  • The first recommends that we admonish those who commit evil, depraved, or heinous acts, rather than justifying or remaining neutral to what they do. Verse 24 says that that when we reprove the wicked, a blessing will come upon us.
  • The second point (v. 25 above) is shown like this in a reverse interlinear: “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.”  In short, this means that plain, direct words are preferable to deceptive or ambiguous ones.  And that when someone speaks plainly to us, we should appreciate and value them. 

The “right answer” spoken of here is an answer that is filled with the wisdom of God.  The more we are acquainted with the Bible and familiar with the voice of the Holy Spirit, the easier it will be to recognize and value a “right answer” when we hear it.

All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them.  They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.  10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold . . .  (Pro 8:8-10, emphasis added)

I believe that the purpose of these two verses is to help us to remember that ALL of the words of our lips are colossally important, both in the natural and spiritual realms.  Additionally, the Lord is giving us His advice on when to be critical of someone’s actions, as well as when to welcome and to be grateful for wise counsel or a useful and eye-opening insight.

By God’s empowering gift of grace, we’ll know when and how to apply this biblical wisdom.