An unmistakeable element of the Christian life is sacrifice. Christ certainly set the mark high for us as He laid down His life even when the world hated Him (Romans 5). Many Christians sacrifice in many ways by giving of their: money, effort, love & time. As we give over so many of these things to God, He will take them and use them for an eternal good.
I have been praying and seeking God’s guidance recently as to what else I need to give over control to God. I smugly thought in my own life that there was no corner left unturned where I hadn’t given God full control. In that moment, God reminded me I had become very selfish over one thing: my words.
I had become incredibly selfish with my words. Technically, as a pastor, I provide for my family through my words. I try to be the funny guy through my words. I wanted people to think I was intelligent through the words I used. I was building my own kingdom through my words. I had fallen in the trap of sacrificing my words to God when I preached, but rarely anywhere else. I was trying to build two kingdoms, the kingdom of God & the kingdom of self, and I was failing miserably at both. It was time to give my words over to God, which is something easier said than done.
James 3 warns of the danger and venom that is house in such a tiny little body part and that control such a tiny thing is nearly impossible. Our words leave a massive imprint in people lives, but what kind of imprint are they leaving? Our words are always leaving some imprint because they take a neutral slant. Our words will either seek to build our kingdom, which is aimed at our name & our good, or our words will seek to build God’s kingdom, which seek to proclaim His name and His good. Yet, using our words for God’s glory is far more difficult than making a snap decision to say nice things and being polite to people. The means behind having God-honoring speech extends far beyond the tongue itself. As Jesus says,
“ The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” ~ Luke 6:45
An issue with words is really an issue with the heart. Problem with the fruit of our lives often lies within the root of our hearts. So what do I do? Here are a few things from Scripture:
Jesus hammers this point home in John 15. We will never bear fruit unless we are being fully fed and we are spiritually fed by abiding in Christ. We rest in His righteousness. His strength. His encouragement. His words. We’re fruitful by what He’s done, not what we’ve done. As we rest on all that He has done and continually pursue Him and obeying what is set in front of us. As we abide in Him, we are less like to talk about ourselves and more likely to talk about His character and His gospel.
2) Fill your heart with the Word of God
The psalmist plainly states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” We can guard our words by filtering them through His Word. His Word is beneficial for all things in our life and the pursuit of godliness. By filling my heart with God’s truth, I guard my heart from anger and envy and therefore keeping my mouth from being an overflowing spout from bitter heart.
3) Season your words with grace
We are the vessels of God’s grace. As such, we are called to pour out that grace into the world. We should be ever seeking to have our words bring glory to our Father. Whether that be in encouraging a brother, praying over a friend, sharing the gospel, offering up praise to Him, giving sound advice or speaking the truth in love; we have to approach our words with a measure of grace. May we speak with grace that many others may know His grace.
If only by a small sacrifice of our words, God’s name may be proclaimed throughout the world. As the war rages within our hearts, may we ever be gracious with the blessing of our words.