The Challenge – Speech, Behavior, Love, Faith, Purity
I recently posted that I was going to be challenging myself to take a look at 5 areas of my life, and evaluate how I can better represent God in those areas. This first area hits home for me, because in the closet where I keep the rest of my skeletons, is also a body count of those that have been wounded by my tongue! Let’s just say I have been known in the past to be “armed and dangerous” with that part of my body.
You know the old childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” There has never been a more false statement. Words have the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) I know in my own personal experience that I have used words so callously; never thinking of the long-term effect it would have on another person. But our words can deeply hurt another person, and can destroy friendships and relationships over time if we are not careful. In the opposite effect, our words can encourage and build up. (Ephesians 4:29) The difference between success or failure in another person can sometimes just be a word of encouragement. I like to think of words as seeds that we are all-day, every day planting. Do we want to plant fragrant flowers, or infesting weeds? We really need to be conscious of this planting process, for just like a seed, we will not see the result until after a period of time.
Our speech is also a direct indicator of the condition of our heart.
“….For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” (Matthew 12:34)
Discouraging words, lying, manipulation and other negative speech is a red light warning that something in your heart needs to be dealt with. There may be anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, or pain that has not been dealt with in your heart and it is creeping out of your mouth. But when we are speaking words of love, encouragement and acceptance we are exemplifying the love of God. When our hearts are filled with God’s unconditional love, that love can spill out of us into another giving them a blessing that they will hold with them forever.
“Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps
himself out of trouble.” –Proverbs 21:23