Ephesians 4:29-32New International Version (NIV)
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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I am not sure if this is just a musing of my own unique brain but do you ever wonder if just one verse was obeyed in scripture by all people, how different our world would be? Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, one version says let no rotten word come out of your mouth and then not only that but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs and that it may benefit those who listen. Imagine this for a moment with me if people thought before they spoke and what they spoke was life-giving not only to the recipient but to those around them and even their own spirit for that matter. This process starts in our thoughts before they even make the sound through our lips as words. Matthew 15:11 says, ‘It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’
How are you feeding your process? Are you being intentional to renew your mind with God’s word through worship, praise, prayer, bible reading and good teachings? Or are you just allowing what the world is bringing to you to feed your thoughts? We will drift through so much of life if we are not deliberate in the things that we do. My husband and I read a marriage devotional this morning that told a story about a man who canoed out into the middle of a calm lake and then fell asleep. Even though the lake appeared calm, the ripples under the surface floated his canoe to an unknown location. He said that is often what happens in marriage if we aren’t deliberate, you can drift until you realize you are far apart. I believe this analogy fits with our relationship with God. He loves us regardless of what we do or don’t do but we will never have increased intimacy with Him if we don’t ‘paddle’ toward Him.
Obeying His word is one of the ways in which we can do this. The verses in Ephesians 4 go on to say do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God and gives a reminder of the promise that we are sealed with Him for the day of redemption. As always He gives instructions on how to do the things He said, in order not to grieve Him we need to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Notice the ALL word, not just some and again instructions in how to live this way, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Believe me, I am speaking to myself as I write these words. Most things are easier said than done but I know with Christ, nothing is impossible. The deepest, darkest hurts can be healed and released of the bitterness that have been rooted in our hearts. Although God is capable of a deliverance miracle in those places, He also likes us to grow through the process. Robert Morris said in a sermon I just saw, ‘We are all gonna taste bitterness in this life but we will all have a choice whether we will drink it.’
Examine your ‘rotten words’ and see what they consist of, where is the root of them coming from? Do you gossip to feel better about yourself? Are you swearing because your thoughts are nasty? Are you criticizing someone because of your own weaknesses? Are your expectations born out of your own resentments and therefore unattainable for the humans you love around you? Do you speak with vulgar words because not only is God far from your thoughts but so is the sanctity and holiness of His creation?
The older I become, the less I speak or in the least am slower to release the thoughts that form into words. I have seen, sown and reaped what James 3 says about the tongue being a fire and also that it can bring life or death, curses or blessings. My desire is to get healing in those places where any bitter roots have planted. The sermon I watched below brought a new perspective and showed me that my expectations of God are really rooted in not understanding who He really is.
My prayer is that these musings will at least cause you to pause next time something wants to fly out of your mouth. Will it bring life, edify the one you are speaking to? Bite that fire tongue if you need to and call on God to heal the places that release those kinds of thoughts. We have to start somewhere.