The Power of Words, Part 1
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
— Philippians 4:8-9
How can we be life-givers instead of life-takers when we open our mouths to speak? When you are in the presence of a hurting person, do you join their vitriolic or fearful words with similar statements? -Or - Instead of seeing prayer as one more task, do you see how God wants us to enjoy prayer as a pathway to His heart and freedom from worry? Take your time to slowly absorb each question. Let each statement become a slat in the gate that guards your lips. Before you speak, ask these questions:
- Are my words true?
- Are my words noble?
- Are my words right?
- Are my words pure?
- Are my words lovely?
- Are my words admirable?
- Are my words excellent or praiseworthy?
We all know someone who prides herself on “speaking her mind.” Sadly, this person often leaves a trail of life-taking hurt. Even more sad, is this person typically has a lot of wisdom that could encourage others, but no one can hear past the prideful, arrogant, “telling it like it is” life-taking words. If you are accustomed to speaking whatever comes to mind without any filters, Paul’s questions should stop you in your tracks. But this passage is not just for the person who “speaks her mind” without any filters. What about the gossip?
Inspirational speaker and author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free, Steve Maraboli, asks this question:
“How would your life be different if… you walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day… you speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” I fear some of us would have nothing to talk about if we could not gossip. Paul outlines a way to guard our speech that results in a priceless gift.
The Apostle Paul’s answer to Mr. Maraboli’s question is in Today’s Treasure. When we walk away from gossip because we desire to be a reflection of our Savior, a priceless gift comes from such discipline: the peace of God. Just as an out of control tongue destroys the speaker, asking the questions in Today’s Treasure , in response to the grace we experience in Jesus, leads to peace in the heart of the speaker. As peace grows in your heart, it will flow over into the lives of those you are encouraging. That’s life-giving.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Before you get out of bed, think about these questions in the context of the tasks before you. Think about the people who will cross your path and how you will practice the disciplines of this passage. If you have had no filters on your speech, if you believe you should just say whatever you think, this assignment will be one of the hardest for you to take on. Ask the Lord to nudge you every time you are ready to speak before thinking. Ask Him to give you an opportunity today for your words to be life-giving rather than life-taking.
Lord, You said it through James, my tongue can be a raging fire. I desperately need You to put a guard on my mouth, a filter on my lips. Your Word outlines the discipline I need. Show me practical ways to practice asking the questions in Today’s Treasure, before I speak.