A Few Choice Words

Here is a verse that I have been meditating on the last few days:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes fail to control what comes out of my mouth. It is so hard to let God have control of our speech. Jesus reminds us that what comes out of our mouth is a reflection of what is in our heart. He stated, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile a man.” (Matthew 15:18) If you, like me, struggle with this read on. Here are a few choice words on the subject.

A man joined a unique monastery in which for the first ten years he could only speak two words. For the next ten years he could only speak two words, and so on. After his first ten years he said, “Hard bed.” After his next ten years he said, “Bad food.” After ten more years he said, “I quit.” In response the head monk said, “I figured as much. You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”

The Apostle Paul gives us some great advice in his letter to the church at Ephesus. He writes, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, 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. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:29-30) Paul challenges the Christians at Ephesus that their relationship with Christ should even change the way they speak. As Christians who have experienced God’s grace, we must speak differently than the world. If we aren’t careful our speech will be unwholesome. This literally means “rotten”, like spoiled, rancid food. This goes beyond speech that is considered profanity or vulgar; it includes all bickering, negativity and complaining.

In Ephesians 4:29 Paul gives us three characteristics of the speech that should accompany our new nature in Christ. First, Christ-like speech should edify or build up. Do our words tear down a person in any way? If so, they are not words that bring glory to Jesus. Second, Christ-like speech should be appropriate. This means saying the right word at the right time. The wise Solomon stated, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23) Lastly, Christ-like speech should impart grace to the hearers. God shows us grace. It is amazing. However, grace needs to be more than something we only receive; we should also be givers of grace, especially in our speech to one another.

Paul then gives us a particularly good reason for letting our speech be Christ-like. He teaches that not doing so grieves the Holy Spirit of God. The word “grieve” is a very personal. God is saddened and disappointed when His people fail to live up to their new nature. Did you catch the few choice words on the subject of Christ-like speech? Paul reminds us that our speech should build-up, be timely, and impart grace.  It is a pleasure to serve alongside each of you.

PraiSing Him,

Jeff Hagans

Minister of Music

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