“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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
I have been stuck in these four verses for a large portion of this year. I’ve also stuck my children here with me. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” is something you’ll hear often in our home. We want our words to give life, so the only things to come out of our mouths should be words that build others up and agree with God’s Word.
Does this mean we can’t talk about our problems? I think we can, but the question is how do we talk about our problems? Are our words filled with negativity and complaining or with, “Yes, this is hard or difficult right now, but I believe God is working in this situation and He will use it for His good, and He will get the glory.” I’m also learning right now that I don’t need to “rehearse” a problem, and by that I mean share it over and over with several different people.
Does this mean we can’t participate if others want to share their problems with us? Again, I think we can, but I’m learning rather than sharing too many of my “opinions,” to focus more on listening, using my words to build up and edify, and also pray for that person with them.
Let’s go back to Ephesians 4 and check out verse 30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Did you know your words can grieve the Holy Spirit?
In our home, if someone started raising their voice, our dog, who sadly died in August, would get up and leave the room. This took quite a bit of effort for her as she neared the end of her life at 13 years old. When I first noticed this, I realized it’s a good reminder that I might need a course correction with the rudder of my tongue. I believe the Holy Spirit can provide us with a variety of visual and physical signs when we are starting to head in the wrong direction with our words. First, start to ask Him for this help, every day. Then, pay attention to what He uses to guide and teach you. I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I start to talk about something I shouldn’t be talking about. The more we ask and pay attention to these nudges and operate in partnership with the Holy Spirit, we can have a tamer tongue that blesses the Holy Spirit and brings life to those around us.
Two action steps that I have taken this year, which I believe will greatly benefit you as well, is to look up and study the many, many scriptures that pertain to the tongue. James 3 and Ephesians 4 are a great place to start. Proverbs contains loads of scriptures about the tongue. Each proverb is short and sweet. Reading one out loud in your home each day will benefit everyone. You can also make a list of each Proverb that pertains to the tongue and post it somewhere in your home where everyone will see it regularly. Even if this is a very familiar topic to you, I believe this is an area where we will always need reminders, and fresh revelation throughout our lives.
I also suggest downloading Joyce Meyers’ conference titled, “Change Your Words, Change Your Life.” Listen to her four messages on this topic at least 3-4 times in a row. Listen while you walk or exercise, listen in the car, listen while you’re doing the laundry. You will gain so much wisdom and revelation through her teaching. This is where I learned that complaining is a sin- I never knew that! “Do ALL things without complaining and disputing” Philippians 2:14. Joyce devotes an entire message to just that. Extraordinary!
That sentence continues in Philippians 2 with verse 15 that says, “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Imagine that! Our Holy Spirit empowered self control in this area along with our choosing to allow God to use our words to encourage, edify, and line up with His Word, will be like a bright beam of light in our dark world. That sure encourages and inspires me to stay on this journey.
Will I slip up? Yes, I will. Will I need to ask God and others for forgiveness when my mouth starts running away from me? Yes, I will. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy, which is new every day. Thank you for helping us to use the words that come out of our mouths to light fires of hope and encouragement, and steer powerful ships of your love and grace to all those around us.
I am a child of God, a wife to Seth, and a mother to James, Luke, and Eva. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I became a “new creation” at the age of 23 when I surrendered my life to Jesus and was delivered from a decade of depression. Read more...