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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Flip Side: Wise Speech

Don't you wish there was an occasional no talking rule.
Like when you get yourself into a situation and you've said something horrible; you could go back, rewind, and somewhere...maybe in your head...a buzzer would go off, and instantly the no talking rule would go into effect. This would prevent us from saying terrible, humiliating, insensitive, or hurtful things.
Unfortunately, this would still not work for me. I know sign language. I would start signing.
The rest of us women, we'd start playing a killer game of charades. Sometimes we just can't seem to stop ourselves.
Proverbs 16:28 says a truly wise person uses few words. Ouch.
But there's good news. Even though there are times we need to stop talking, we also can learn to put on wise speech.
We don't have to become mimes!!! Yay! Those people are so annoying and scary!

Take Off/Put On
When we take something off, we need to put something on to replace it. You will see this pattern in the New Testament a lot now if you look for it. It will say 'stop doing this, and INSTEAD, start doing more of this!' Voila!
This verse illustrates it best, and I'll tell you how we teach it in Her Hands.
Rom 13:12
Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes . Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.

Heather always tells the girls, when you take off a sin or sin pattern, your dirty, nasty clothes, you will stand there, naked, cold, unsure of what to do.
You can only stand there like that for so long. So then we just do what we know to do. We put back on the dirty clothes.
In reality, there are beautiful, clean, shining clothes for us to put on in their place. We just have to learn how to do that.

No Running!
We've been hitting the pool hard now that summer has arrived! It's so great!
My kids have to learn the rules of the pool though.
Rule #1 for the public pool. No running.
I realized in the last few weeks, when I tell my 1 and 3 year old "No Running!" They don't really get it.
Kids run wherever they go. They run to their room. They run to the bathroom.
This is their regular form of travel. To get from point A to B, they run.
I don't think they even realize they do it. So when I'm telling my energetic boys "No Running!" they look at me like "How do you expect me to get there?"
So I've started telling them "Walk Slowly!" And I'm trying to practice walking slowly with them at the pool. Treston hasn't quite caught on yet, but by August I'm certain he will.
Instead of yelling out to them what not to do and explaining the dangers of running while slippery wet(completely lost on them, of course) I'm telling them what TO do.
I think that computes in their brains a little better.
We know what NOT to do, but what do we do?

Why are we doing this in the first place?
Ps 15:1-3
Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives
and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to slander others
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.

Are we doing this so that we can eliminate those embarrassing moments when we say moronic things? Or to make ourselves better Christians?
No. We want to walk more intimately with the Father.
I want to enter His presence daily and worship in intimacy with Him.
When habitual sin is stuck on me, I feel distant from Him.
I want to walk in holiness.
In the Old Testament, when someone entered the Temple's sanctuary unpure,
they were killed on the spot! (Numbers 18:7)
We need to confess this sin to God, and let His Spirit do it's powerful work in us to change us and make us look more like Him!
I want to speak the truth in love, like this verse says, refusing to slander others, harm them, or speak evil of them.
I want to be what Ephesians 4:29 tells us to be, building others up according to their needs with my words, always encouraging them.
Do you know anyone like this?
I can think of a few people, and they've always amazed me.
But we do this not to be admired by others, but out of REVERENCE for Christ.

The Search for Wisdom
We want wise speech, so where do we start?
There's so many good verses, not to mention the book of Proverbs as a whole.
I'll give a few of these to get us started.
Reverence for the Lord is the fountain of true wisdom. The rewards of wisdom come to all who obey him. Psalm 111:10
Reverence could be defined as a feeling of profound awe and respect because of God's holiness. God arouses a feeling of reverence in those who worship and serve Him!
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2
Pride is the enemy of wisdom!!!
Job talks about the value of wisdom in Job 28:12-28 "...The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to shun evil is understanding."
The fear of the Lord is mentioned in conjunction with wisdom over and over and over.
Read Proverbs 2:1-11 in how to attain wisdom.
So we've got a jumping off point, and as always, int points to our hearts, not our actions.
-Fear of the Lord
Prov 28:26

26 Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe.
Sometimes I just need God to save me from my own, man-made, worldly wisdom.
It's not wisdom at all unless it comes from the Lord.
It is amazing to me to read the Word and realize His wisdom is so freely given to us!
1 Cor. 2 talks about God's secret wisdom, that once was hidden, but is not revealed to us by his Spirit.
True wisdom comes from God's Spirit! Time and age won't garuntee it. But we can have the mind of Christ, as talked about in 1 Cor. 2!
And I just LOVE Ephesians 1!
Eph 1:6-8
7 He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

And Colossians 2...
Col 2:2-3
2 My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have full confidence because they have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. NLT
ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Him!

As always, James says it plainly.
James 1:5
5 If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask him, and he will gladly tell you.

James 3:17
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.

I could go on, because there's so much good stuff to tell us what wisdom is.
I want to put on wisdom, in my heart, searching for it desperately at all times, so THAT is what comes out of my mouth.
I want to eliminate my idle words.
I'm not going to lie. I feel incredibly distant from that goal.
But God promises to grant us wisdom, and understand, if we will ask Him for it.
I'm asking.


Jeanie said...

It is helpful for me to see your struggle and thoughts on speech. I too love to talk and have regretted many words that have come out of my mouth. I loved your comment about having to think it before we speak it. That was convicting.

I have often felt that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. God gives us gifts to use for His glory. He develops us in specific areas for His purposes. And we use those gifts and skills for Him and then turn around and use them for our own purposes.

This is an area where I am praying for wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit. I purposefully go into conversations with the intention of listening and only speaking what I am lead to speak. God blesses those conversations. But as usual, I then take over and rely on my own understanding and disaster strikes.

Jennifer Bacak said...

Thanks Jeanie.
To be honest, when praying through this this morning, I was more overwhelmed than anything with all the work God has left to do in me.
I'm so grateful for what He's already done!!!
But I want to see Him do so much more, and the mere thought of inclination of doing it on my own is crippling.
I'm so glad we serve a faithful God!
Jeanie, your comment about using our speech for good and then for evil is exactly what James wrote about when he talks about taming the tongue. That's an excellent passage I didn't mention yet.
I wonder if more of my readers beside Jeanie and I are struggling with this?

Emily said...

I want you to be my visitor too! I'll make you scones, or anything else you want, and Adam will make cuban pancakes! It will be so fun. By the way, today it is "cool". I'm gonna have to put on a light jacket before going on my walk. You know you want to get out of the humidity and come visit! The four kids...well,we'll just laugh along with them. We have a pretty big coutch so we can make them beds on the coutch...or jUstus can sleep with me:).

I think it is a marvelous idea:).

By the way, I struggle with speech too. I can't even control my voice level at your house and the kids are napping! But really, that is so huge about thinking before speaking or in many cases, not speaking at all. God has a lot of work to do on me!


bekah said...

First of all, thank you for this post.

Of course I struggle with this. I would be LYING to you if I didn't.

When I first became a believer I knew that EVERYTHING I thought came out of my mouth. Everything. It was REALLY embarassing. Thankfully the Holy Spirit came to live in me and gave me eyes to see that I was hurting others and myself.
So the Lord has since been training me to tame my thoughts. This is where the true problem lies. We cannot hide what is in our hearts (Mt.18).

My other problem is how I say things. Sometimes the truth NEEDS to be said, but it can be imparted with either Grace or Derision. So often the heart is good, but the considering others as better than myself part is lost in translation.

I feel like this is life-long training. We must always strive to speak sweetly with more endurance and use more Grace as the days go by.

J said...

thanks for this post, jenn!

so good to read solid biblical encouragement that gets to the heart of the matter!

glad i read it :)