I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I love the way I feel afterward, but I hate doing it. If only I was 4″ taller and could maintain a supermodel’s figure without lifting a finger (except to raise dark chocolate to my mouth)!
Most days, I walk/jog or work out to a video. One of my DVD instructors stresses working our smaller muscles because they’re connected to the larger ones. Today’s target, the tongue, is like that: it’s a relatively tiny muscle that’s connected to a larger one – the heart.
Target TEN: Speaking life-giving words.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness (26).
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on my daughter’s face the last time I angrily spewed genuinely cruel words in frustration. Shocked and wounded, without uttering a word, her teary eyes begged: “How could you say that to me?” I hate to even recall the memory! I NEVER want to repeat such a careless indulgence again. I won’t even waste space telling the story of when I mouthed off “Heil Hitler!” to my husband. Not good!
As much as I’d like to bury these memories, God used them to rock my world to the point of holding my tongue, no matter what, and to expose the truth of Matthew 12:34: no outside reason can excuse the inside source of our words, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Somehow, a dart seems ridiculously puny for today’s target, especially when scripture tells us, “No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). We might want to aim a dual-tube, pump-action shotgun at this one: one chamber for holding our tongues, and the other for intentionally speaking words of life.
I love the instruction of Ephesians 4:29-32:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
As aspiring Proverbs 31 women, our tongues need to cling to the roofs of our mouths (Psalms 137:6) as a conscious choice to “keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit” (Psalms 34:13). At first, we may literally have to force ourselves, and that’s okay. We’re not achieving perfection to please an unreasonable task master; we’re surrendering in absolute trust to a loving Savior whose wisdom directs us to what’s best for us and others.
As He sanctifies and transforms us, we can intentionally line our words up with His word, opening our mouths with wisdom as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work within us. “The Lord gives wisdom” (Proverbs 2:6); His Spirit dwells in us, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). It would stand to reason, then, that the words we speak because God’s Spirit is within us would produce the same fruit.
Do you see the connection? Our words reflect what’s in our hearts. If it’s the Holy Spirit, our words of wisdom will produce good fruit.
Now watch this. The Greek meaning for corrupt in Ephesians 4:29 refers to something that’s no longer fit for use; it’s rotten or putrefied. Like bad fruit!
Let no bad fruit leave your mouth! Rather, let the law of kindness be on our tongues. Let the words we speak be directed by or in the custom or manner of goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, but also reproach. Our words need to follow God’s word, which 2 Timothy 3:16-17 explains is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). Not only will we reap what we sow; we will eat the produce of our words.
Sometimes the instant gratification of saying what we’re thinking tempts with the force of gravity. We have something witty, sarcastic, or pointed that will either make us feel better, give us an edge, or perhaps deliver a point. It’s not worth whatever pleasure or advantage it might bring in the moment or the opportunity it gives Satan to repeat our defeating words on the MP3 of the hearer’s mind.
The old sing-song, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? It’s a lie! Words hurt, and while we can and should ask forgiveness when we speak words of death, it doesn’t change the fact that we can’t ever take them back.
Lord, “there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether” (Psalms 139:4). By Your grace and Spirit, Lord, let wisdom and the law of kindness be on our tongues as we become more wholly Yours today.
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