How would others describe your words? Are the things you say blessing or cursing others? Are your words wholesome and edifying or critical and destructive? Are they full of God’s grace and intended to help the hearer understand your care for them or merely spewing bitterness? If someone had to describe what comes out of your mouth in one word, would your words be described as blessing or cursing?
Ezekiel 35 & 36
How Would Others Describe Your Words?
Oh, the tongue … how much damage we can do with that little member! Especially damaging is someone who claims to be a believer, and yet makes no effort to control his or her tongue.
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (vv. 10-13).
If someone had to describe what comes out of your mouth in one word, would it be blessing or cursing? Bitter or fresh?
Ephesians 4.29 says:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from our mouths, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (NASB)
Unwholesome words are more than just vulgarity or using the Lord’s name in vain. According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word means “rotten, useless, corrupt or depraved.”
Merriam-Webster defines rotten as “decayed, bad, unpleasant or unhealthy.” Useless as “ineffectual or inept.” Unpleasant means “displeasing.” Corrupt means “tainted or morally impure” and depraved means “perverted.”
So, certainly, we need to put off any kind of speech that could be described by any of those adjectives, but it’s not enough to just quit saying things that fit those descriptions. We also need to put on speech that is, as Paul said in Ephesians 4.29, edifying and grace giving.
According to Strong’s again, edifying speech is “constructive criticism and instruction that builds a person up to be the suitable dwelling place of God.” And grace refers to the example of the Lord’s attitude toward us. It goes on to explain that “it is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor freely extended to give Himself away to people because He is always leaning toward them.”
Think about those two definitions for a minute. How does the way you talk to others (your spouse, your children, even strangers) fit those descriptions? Does everything you say demonstrate a desire to see the recipient be a more suitable dwelling place of God? Is it constructive and instructive or is it critical and destructive?
Is what you say intended to help the hearer understand your care for them? Are your words full of God’s grace?
If we are to grow and become more like Christ, if we are to reflect His light to a lost and dying world, if we are to demonstrate the superiority of a life lived in Christ to our children and others, we must do a better job of using our tongue in ways that are glorifying to God.
Today’s Other Readings:
Ezekiel 35 & 36:
A Picture of the New Covenant
Chapter 36.24-27 is a beautiful picture of the new covenant:
24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
This will be fulfilled for the Nation of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom, but we already enjoy many of these same blessings with the new birth and its new covenant.
Grace for the Humble
Verse 1, “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”
Humility is one of the characteristics that should characterize a believer. God says He resists the proud (Jas. 4.6) and that a proud look is one of the things He hates (Prov. 6.16-17), but He gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4.6).
Let’s pray that we would recognize pride in our lives and learn to humble ourselves under His mighty hand.
Verse 3, “Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice, but a companion of harlots wastes his wealth.”
What a joy it is to see your children grow up and live lives filled with God’s wisdom and grace! And what a grief it is to see them waste their lives, talents, and resources, and especially, to see them ignore the truths of God which they have been taught.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll discuss the question, “Are you “profiting” from your reading and study of the Bible?” We’ll also talk about how Satan is a fisherman who studies us so he’ll know the right bait to use to reel us in and how the Bible’s admonition about bad company applies to politics.
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Getting ready for 2018
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.