Today I read...
"Our words can create harmony or discord, happiness or discouragement, a positive or negative self image in another. What we say can have a tremendous effect for either good or evil, so we must be careful."
I am saddened only because I realize that I'm not very careful with my words. It is not even on my radar to relying on the Holy Spirit to guide my tongue. My day goes by so fast that I just go about life and say whatever I feel and don't think twice about it. I even spout off at the mouth to my kids. I think I said something like this yesterday to my youngest, "You are really getting on my last nerve right now and if you don't get as far away from me as you possible, I am going to end up hurting you." Please tell me I am not the only mom out there that is careless with her words. I don't want to be so insensitive, it just overcomes me sometimes. I truly want to learn to "Speak the words of Christ."
How do we speak the words of Christ? In his book Bill Bright gives the 3M test.
1. What is my motive? (Ephians 4:15 says we should be motivated by love.)
2. What is my message? (Zechariah 8:16 says we should speak the truth and be honest) Relying on the Holy Spirit to not to rush God's timing.
3. What is my manner? (Luke 4:22 says that Jesus spoke with gracious words.)
Dr. Bright also gives five guidelines that the Bible provides for controlling our tongue.
Stifle the impulse to speak hastily or foolishly. (Proverbs 15:28)
Pray about what to say, especially in difficult situations.(Phillippians 4:6)
Encourage, exhort, and edify others in love. (Proverbs 16:23,24)
Avoid foolish, boastful, obscene, hurtful, or false speech. (Ephesians 4:29,31; 5:4)
Keep your ears open and be quicker to listen than to talk.(Proverbs 18:13)
The one that I struggle with the most is "avoiding foolish, boastful, obscene, hurtful or false speech." Mainly foolish and obscene. There are so many times that I will be talking with my friends and I can allow the conversation to go a little too far on the joking side, all in good fun...but not edifying for sure. Silly, yes! But worth the laugh? Okay maybe sometimes but there is a line. I pray that the Lord would show me where to draw the line and then help me to stay as far back from it as I can. :) In Ephesians 5:4, Paul writes that "there must be not filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather give thanks."
If we still are not sure how to speak with the words of Christ, here is one last test Dr. Bright give.
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build good will and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
May we be about God's Word today. Basking in His glory and soaking it up like a sponge. Then, may we apply God's word to our lives and learn to "speak with the words of Christ" today!
Not perfect but being perfected,