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Monday, June 02, 2008

The Words of My Mouth

In my "Cleaning House" post, I mentioned that I still needed to grow in the area of glorifying God with my speech, so JUST IN CASE anyone else needs this as well, I'm going to write my study on this here on the blog.
This is all directed to me! God has done great things in my life in this area in the past, but I need to keep growing! I want him to keep changing me!
A verse we quote daily in our house is Ephesians 4:29.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Is this convicting for anyone else? Everything I say...EVERYTHING...should benefit those who listen. It should build others up. I say this to my kids constantly, but it needs to be the rule for me as well. Our words should build each other up. Does that mean we never say the hard things? No! Speaking truth in love can certainly build someone up. Giving them truth from the Word when needed can build them up. But we should be fortifying others with our speech.
Let me hit you with another whammy!

Ps 19:14
4 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Anyone wish it just said words there?
Even if we could rein in our tongues...that's not enough! We need to cleanse our thoughts. Jesus came to tell us actions are not enough. Our hearts are what matters.
If we commit adultery in our heart, we have committed adultery. If we hate our brother, we are guilty of murder in our heart. (Matt. 5)
So what we think and allow ourselves to meditate on is EQUALLY important.

Need a filter?
I used to think I needed a filter. You know, something would come out of my mouth that, at some point, I wish hadn't (this used to happen to me A LOT!) and I would literally say "If only I had a filter between my brain and my mouth."
I could give you at least 5 humiliating stories off the top of my head of me saying the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. They would amuse you, but it was not a good thing.
If only I'd filtered that first! If I could have purchased one on the internet, I would have payed good money for it.
When I said I needed a filter, what I meant was, it was okay to think those things, as long as I didn't say them outloud. Or if I said them outloud, I should have just said them to someone else that I trusted with my malicious talk.
I was wrong.
In general, we women talk too much. I've heard it said that we say like 10,000 words a day while men say like 4,000. I believe it.
We like to talk. But this gets us in trouble. Our sinful inclination is often gossip and speech that does NOT build up and fortify.
Where does this come from?
Our heart.
People know us from our words. We represent Christ with every word that comes out of our mouth.
I can't get this right without asking him to purify my HEART.
Ugly words come from ugliness in our heart.
Instead of filtering the impurities from what I say, I need to filter them from my heart.
Matt 15:18-20
18 But evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.

Luke 6:45
45 A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

This is pretty plain, isn't it? Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
In Matthew 15, he jumps from evil words and thoughts to murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and theft! Whoa! We were just talking about unholy thoughts! What happenned? All of these sins are born in our thoughts. They can start with a seed of impure thoughts, and they grow and flourish, take root in us, and become more than we ever thought they would.
We must examine our hearts!!!

What's the root?
Nothing comes out of our mouths that hasn't already been meditated on in our minds.
We've said it in our inner monologue.
What are we allowing ourselves to meditate on?
Do we allow ourselves to harbor anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness, brewing on it until we erupt?

Eph 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

What's the root sin?
So often for me it's pride. That's at the root of most of my sin.
Sometimes it is just self-satisfying to say and think things. It's gratifying to my self-absorbed way of thinking. I can make myself look good and others look bad.
I can feel a little justified when I've been wronged.
Sometimes it's really funny! I might want to say it purely for the entertainment value.
But it's not fortifying. It's not building anyone up...except me. (So I think.)
But Jesus was very plain in telling us how seriously God takes this.
Here's another whammy. Brace yourself. It's a big one.

Matt 12:36-37
36 And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned."

Idle words. I think I have a lot of those. A high percentage of my 10,000 daily, I'm sure.
But how could we be justified or condemned based on our words?
Because they reflect our hearts. What is in our hearts has a direct and swift expressway to our mouths.
Sometimes, there's not much traffic to slow them down.
They're in the HOV lane, flying at high speed, and we allow it.
We've got some construction work to do.

Backdoor slander

Prov 10:11
11 The words of the godly lead to life; evil people cover up their harmful intentions.

WARNING: We are good at finding backwards ways of saying what we want to without it seeming malicious. Wow! We're tricky!
You know, how sometimes "prayer requests" are shared for the purpose of sharing information, not really with the intent of anyone praying about it?
Also, an old church lady way to do this is to start a statement: "Bless her heart..."
You know? We have a way of wrapping harmful speech up in a pretty package and trying to make it seem okay.
I hate that I'm this crafty with my sin! But it's true.
We all do it. We need to recognize sin, even when wrapped up with a bow on it.
What's inside is still ugly.

Take Off/ Put On
Anyone feeling crappy about themselves now?
Don't! There's hope for us all.
God tells us what sin to strip off, but He also tells us what to put on in it's place.
Isn't His Word good?
So as we ask Him to cleanse our thoughts, we first ask the Holy Spirit (if we know Christ, He lives in us!) to help us recognize sinful thoughts. We replace them with the thoughts of the Spirit.
Rom 8:5-7
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.

We take captive those thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) We lasso them with a giant rope and throw them in the trash. We discipline our minds as soon as we learn to recognize it.
This takes practice. When I first started doing this, I would start to say things and stop often. I still do.
I don't stutter. That's me hearing the Holy Spirit.
And sometimes I choose to sin and just keep talking or thinking. I'm not done with this yet!
At first, we may just need to learn to be quiet.
I have prayed this verse so often.
Ps 141:3
Take control of what I say, O LORD,
and keep my lips sealed.

We can ask the Holy Spirit to stand guard over our hearts and minds. He will!
The more you do this, the quicker you learn to hear Him tell you to shut it down or shut up.
But we simultaneously learn to put on wise speech.
My next post will be about that.
In Proverbs 31, it says that "when she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instruction."
I want that to me ME!!!!
So that' what I'll go over next.
Comment if God is speaking to you and changing you as well.
Let's encourage each other.


Liz said...

thanks for sharing this jenn!
i needed this reminder to focus on being controlled by the Spirit (and that it is a discipline to do so..meaning i have to work on it- its not just going to happen easily).

Ana said...

wow, jenn...this is so good! i printed this out to study for myself...this is something i thought all women eventually grew out of, but i am coming to find out that isn't the case! we have to be deliberate!

Jennifer L. said...

Thank you so much for the above two posts on speech. I certainly need these reminders several times a day and LOVE the scripture references. Do you have any advice on what to do with friends and gossip?

Marcus and Meg Asby said...

How do you train your kids hearts in this? When they say things that are ugly, what do you say to address their thoughts? Share, oh wise one. :)