Speaking Life or Death: The Power of the Tongue | Walking Worthy: Speaking Life or Death: The Power of the Tongue

Monday, April 28, 2014

Speaking Life or Death: The Power of the Tongue

 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

“Ashlee, just keep your mouth shut.” I preached these words to myself as my blood began to boil. I was angry and I had things that I wanted to say. Things that NEEDED to be said, but I knew better than to speak in the moment. So I kept silent and began to pray. I could have spoken my mind. I could have told them exactly what I thought, but what would that profit? Would it lead them to repentance? Would it drive them to sit at the feet of Jesus. Or would it simply make their hearts hard and proud?

Watch Your Mouth
The books of James has much for us to learn about the words we allow to roll off our tongue.  James 3 tells us that the tongue is a fire and should be controlled like a horse with a bit in it’s mouth. It parallels the tongue with a small flame that can set an entire forest on fire and a fountain that cannot produce both sweet and bitter water. The words we say matter. They reveal whether or not we live submitted to Jesus (like a horse with a bit in it’s mouth). Our words expose whether our fountain springs from the fresh water of Jesus or the bitter water of the devil.

The Battle Rages on
Recently I have battled my tongue. I have battled when to say something, how to say, if I should even say it. I have watched others hurt because of words spoken by a fellow believers. In those moments I wonder as a follower of Jesus, what am I to do?

My Heart is the Issue
Often, I bite my tongue, not because a conversation doesn’t need to take place, but because my heart is not right. Many times I am driven by emotion (remember my story above?) All I wanted to do was chastise and yell. I did not desire those I wanted to speak to be led to repentance. Instead I desired to be right and to show them they were wrong. My pride swelled…”Ah Ha”, I thought, “I WAS right”. Before I speak I know I must consider my own heart. If my heart is swollen with pride and anger how can I even lead anyone to Jesus? First I must deal with the sin swelling within my heart.

Seek the Lord
I must also stop in that moment and seek the Lord before I speak. There are times God does not want me to speak. He calls me to be silent and watch Him work. Other times, He clearly affirms that I need to have a conversation with someone. The key here is surrendering my will to His will. My desire will always be to speak, but I need to stop and seek the Lord to know if it is His desire for me to speak. I must be silent, and sit at His feet, waiting for His will.

Don’t Let Fear Rule You
Sometimes I know God wants me to speak, but fear freezes the words in my mouth. I am afraid that person will get mad at me. I worry they will fight back. I wonder what they might say about me behind my back. Worrisome fear is not of the Lord and we must reject the desire to be silent because we are afraid of the outcome.

Speak with Grace & Remember the Goal - Repentance
Ephesians 4:29 tells us "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear". Before you speak ask yourself “Are my words edifying? Will they give grace to those who hear? I do not mean sugary words full of warm fuzzies. However, my words need to be seasoned with God’s grace geared toward repentance and heart change, not simply a change of action. True repentance brings about heart change that  results in life change. A heart that repents, turns away from their sin, and walks toward Jesus is the goal. So as you sit down to have that conversation, remember the goal, it’s not to be right, it’s to lead that person back to the feet of Jesus. 

Remember It's Him not Me
Even when God calls me to speak, it is His Holy Spirit who works in the heart of His people. It's not me, not my words. It's all Him. He is God, I am not. I must trust Him to move in the hearts of His people and remember it's not me.

I sat nervously, waiting for my lead into the conversation. I felt the Holy Spirit press me "Ask." As I began to ask questions (instead of accusing) I saw that God was already moving in the situation. The hard conversation I prepared for melted away and our discussion continued. I shared some words of caution and affirmed what God was already showing them. Our conversation ended with me reminding them to sit at the feet of Jesus. I walked to my car grateful for the movement of the Holy Spirit and reminded that God doesn't need me to move in the hearts of His people. Sometimes He calls me to speak and sometimes He asks me to stay silent, but He is always the one who works.

Photo Credit
post signature

1 comment:

  1. Awesome word of encouragement.
    Joy Garner