Our wills tend to lean in a selfish and sinful direction. His Spirit desires to teach us His way. Separating our minds from our tongues is a great place to start.
3 “The [gentle] soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse [spiteful, flippant, arrogant, sarcastic, harsh, cruel, unloving, disrespectful, etc] tongue crushes the spirit.
I once thought that “the offensive way” in me was against Christ and what He would find in my heart. Then, it dawned on me that “the offensive way” may very well be toward others. This verse comes to mind:
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for [to] one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for [to] me.’ Matthew 25:40.
What was Jesus talking about? He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” These are actions taken for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and, might I add, for our POTENTIAL brothers and sisters in Christ, which covers just about everybody. How we treat others shows how much like Christ we are–or are not.
There is another aspect to “the offensive way” that we need to consider, and it is what we say. Consider what Jesus had to say about what we say,
“I tell you that men will have to answer at the day of judgment* for every careless word they utter—for it is your words that will acquit you, and your words that will condemn you.” J.B. Phillips
We know from Proverbs 12:18 that “The words of the reckless pierce [reckless words] like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Have we considered that when we pierce another’s soul, we pierce our own, as well? Jesus went on to say in Mark 7:20-23 that our mouths reveal what is in our hearts:
“Whatever comes out of a man, that is what makes a man ‘common’ or unclean. For it is from inside, from men’s hearts and minds, that evil thoughts arise—lust, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, arrogance and folly! All these evil things come from inside a man and make him unclean!”
James said, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:6
In order to control our mouths, we must first allow Christ to transform our minds. It begins with a desire to be like Christ and continues by learning how to hear and respond to the Spirit’s promptings. Where do we learn this kind of information? FROM GOD’S WORD. What kinds of things do we learn in His Word?
- God is love. 1 John 4:8 and 16
- God loved everyone in the world so much that He gave us His life for us through Jesus Christ. John 3:16
- It is NOT God’s desire that any should perish, but that they would come to Him to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
- God has wonderful, even incomprehensible things in store for us! 1 Corinthians 2:9
- We are overcomers because we are (re)born of God. 1 John 5:4-5
We could go on and on. Are these verses marked in your Bible? DO IT! Highlight them; underline them; write notes about them; string them together with other Scriptures; journal about them; pray them to God in thanksgiving and praise; share them with others. The more we know, the more creative we can become in sharing the Good News about Christ.
Abba, I thank You and praise You for loving me and for calling me to be one of Your children. Your Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am Your child (Romans 8:16). O, to be an overcomer of sin in my life! Thank You that in You and through You I already have the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57)! Move us and teach us, LORD, and fill us with Your power, Your love, Your joy, Your peace, and Your energy even as You direct our lives. Amen.
*Day of Judgment– We are creating the gift that we will lay at Jesus’ feet on the Day of Judgment. That gift will be the gold, silver, and precious gems of our obedience while in this life (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). I believe that the Great Day of Judgment will be a day of sentencing for the lost and a day of ceremony for the saved. Let’s make sure that we have the best gift we can offer to our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.