Tuesday, June 14, 2005

“Be an example to the believers in word (speech)…”
(1 Timothy 4:12)

Paul was saying, “Timothy you need to be an example in every utterance of your voice. The very concepts that roll off your tongue are to be etched with grace. The boundaries of the things you discuss and talk about need only leave the impression worthy of a leader. Moreover, your responses should be guarded from harshness, but rather in a manner fitting for a shepherd of God’s people.”

Scripture has much to say about our speech and what come out of our mouths.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
(Colossians 4:6 NIV)

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

“For He who would love life and see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.”
(1Peter 3:10)

Words have an enormous amount of power.

Think about some of the words that have been spoken to you over your life. Our beliefs are formed based on the repetition and the impact of words that have been spoken over us. Out of the mouth, the Bible says, flows forth the power of blessing or cursing. James says that with our mouth we bless God and then turn around and curse our neighbor.

When Scripture says that the mouth carries the power to bless or to curse, it is not merely being poetic (see Proverbs 18:21). Rather, literally, with your mouth you can bless something or you can curse something. You can release life or you can release death. You can release vitality or you can release a stench that proceeds and begins to rot.

Paul, speaks of words as if they were containers. Containers that hold something and that something goes forth and when it hits the person or thing that it is talking about it has the ability within the container to explode. The power of that explosion will either build up constructively or break down destructively.

We must understand that our words the power to bless or to curse. To be used by God, we must be purified in our speech so that we are constructive agents of change, not destructive. The foundation of this is laid in our everyday lives. This foundation isn’t laid at church. Even Jesus said, any one can love those who love you. To the Pharisees He said, it’s easy to forgive those who forgive you. This foundation is laid in our daily lives. Many are they that wish to prophesy from the platform, without the implementing discipline of the tongue on the daily basis of their “private” lives.

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious,
and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart,
this one's religion is useless.”
(James 1:26)

“5-Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6-And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
8-But no man can tame the tongue.
It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
(James 3:5-8)

He’s talking to Christians. And he tells those blessed, God praising saints that there’s a realm that even they can participate in where their very words are inspired and set on fire by hell itself.

“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
(Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

Many a blunt word has a sharp edge.Keep your words soft and sweet;
you never know when you may have to eat them.
Author Unknown

Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this fable: Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion's skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey's voice, said, "If you want to terrify me, you'll have to disguise your bray." Aesop's moral: Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

“Out of the abundance of the heart,”
Jesus said,
“the mouth speaks.”

“You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.”
(Proverbs 6:2)

A survey asked mothers to keep track of how many times they made negative, compared with positive, comments to their children. They admitted that they criticized ten times for every time they said something favorable. A three-year survey in one city's schools found that the teachers were 75% negative. The study indicated that it takes four positive statements from a teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement to a child.[1]

As much as 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive and works against us.

People who grow up in an average household hear "No" or are told what they can't do more than 148,000 times by the time they reach age 18.[2]

Result: Unintentional negative programming...
One of the characteristics that marks a spirit-filled person has to do with this part of the body called the mouth and tongue.
Sometimes spiritual maturity isn't so much demonstrated by what's said,
but by what's not said.

[1] Institute of Family Relations in Homemade, December, 1986.
[2] Shad Helmstetter in Homemade, Jan, 1987.


Jenni said...

The mouth and the heart seemed to go right right along with eachother. This really made me think, do my words really reflect what I want to say from my heart? Sometimes it's hard to control what to say when you are angry. I've hurt people while I'm mad but then realized an hour or day or so later that what I said could have ruined my relationship with that person. Words are powerful, this was good for me to hear again.

terri said...

Our speaker Sunday discussed tongues of fire. She refered to The seraphim touching Isaiah's lips with the hot coal to removed his guilt and forgive his sins. She also reminded us of Pentecost, when tongues of fire settled on everyone. And finally, she talked about the law being written on our hearts and minds and not tablets of stone. It makes me think about how my words affect me as well as how they affect those I'm speaking to. Does my speech reflect what is written on my heart? Does what I hear come out of my remind me of what God has done in my life or does it convict me of the shallowness of my walk with God?