by Gwen Smith
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
Friend to Friend
Yesterday we began to talk about living a set-apart life. We looked at our e-lives, the time we spend on computers, and were challenged to establish healthy boundaries to protect and strengthen our faiths. It was noted that God is the source of all holiness. In order to live a set-apart life, we must spend time with Him and then be fueled by His Holy Spirit. Today, we are going to consider how we can be set-apart (holy) with our words.
My ten year old son, Hunter, recently came to me with a humble confession. He said that, "because he hasn't been spending much time with God lately, he has been grumpier and grumpier." He quietly admitted that he has been mean to his siblings and has said some unkind things. With amazing insight, he connected the amount of time that he spent with God and in God's Word with his behaviors ... recognizing that there was a direct correlation in his life.
Boy, could I relate to that! Tears welled up in my eyes as we spoke about this. I told Hunter that I experience the exact same thing in my life. That when I don't carve out time in my day to spend with the Lord, I often say things I shouldn't. For that matter, even when I do read my Bible and pray, I still say and do sinful things.
There was a time in my life when I really struggled with profanity. My tongue was a loose cannon. My church friends would never have known, but when I was angry, profanity was often present ... even if only under my breath. God has delivered me from that ugly habit, but it took over ten years of prayer. In those ten years, I failed repeatedly and struggled to believe that God could change my ways. It was a long-term process for me to be purified in my language, and I can assure you that it is only by the grace and strength of God that I can stub my toe now without needing to wash my mouth out with soap.
The Bible has so much to say on this topic! Here are just a few examples:
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1:19-20, NIV)
"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness." (Proverbs 31:26, NLT)
"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." (Proverbs 13:3, NIV)
This is hard stuff. Living set-apart with our words is simply beyond us, but be encouraged, because all things are possible with God. We need to constantly fall before the Lord and ask Him to filter our words through the Holy Spirit. It's important that we keep short accounts with God. When we do, He equips us to disarm the loose cannon of our tongues.
At the end my conversation with Hunter, I told my son that one of the most amazing things about our Heavenly Father is the mercy that He greets us with when we come before Him to confess our behavior. I said to him, and I say to you, God loves us so perfectly, that every time we turn to Him with a repentant heart, He offers us His grace. Go in His grace and live a set-apart life in the power of His Spirit today.
Holy Father, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14, NLT)
I ask this in Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
· Meditate on Hebrews 4:14,16:
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
· Now, grab your journal and throw yourself into this devotion. What are your greatest areas of temptation and weakness regarding your words? Confess those to God and ask Him to grant you the mercy and strength to help you live a set-apart life.
· Read Ephesians 4.