Just how godly do you want to be? How much like God interests you? Your answer will determine how you read this chapter.
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Are you interested in being gentle? Jesus is gentle, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Are you interested in being wise? If so, then you will learn discernment of the Spirit. Allow Him to okay what you want to say; if you feel a “check” in your spirit, then don’t say anything. In the words of my good friend, Ricky Griffin, “Think about what you’re going to say, and then don’t say it.”
4 The gentle, soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
What is your intention? Are you interested in being a peacemaker (see Matthew 5:9)? If so, then you will guard your tongue. I substitute for the word, “perverse” (which means twisted toward evil), these words: willful, contrary, unloving, disrespectful, spiteful, angry, cruel, harsh, and ungodly. I’m sure that we can add more. In fact, send me some. I’ll add them to my list.
8 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases Him.
We could write a book expounding on this verse! Much of the Old Testament is wrapped around the Israelites’ unwillingness to give up their wicked ways, but then they would come to the temple and “worship God.” Their actions spoke much louder than their words. Ours do, too. The verse says that God detests–abhors, shuns, considers highly offensive--that kind of behavior. God is interested in a relationship with us. Our prayers and our willingness to strive to be like Him are what please Him. Are you interested in being like Him?
Let’s do one more:
26 The LORD detests (there’s that word again) the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in His sight.
Is God gracious? Has He been gracious to you? The CROSS is the answer to that question; His love and mercy and grace are, too. The in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit is God’s most gracious act toward us. He lives inside of us, walking with us wherever we go! Let’s capitalize on His graciousness and get to know the God of the universe–and of us. We can start by allowing Him to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). He will take it from there. We need to learn to allow Him to be first in our lives. He is our LORD. Allow Him to be so. Consider these phrases:
More of Him; less of me
He is First; I am Second
May we die to self and live for Christ
Abba, may we all set aside our agendas and our personal desires and take up Your agenda and Your desires. We don’t even know what they are, but we trust that You will let us know as we go along. I know that reading Your Word gives me great clues and insights. Give us the desire to know You more deeply and intimately, LORD. May we choose to be just like You–as You give us the desire and the power to do so. Today, I choose to walk in step with You, LORD Jesus. Amen.