Our hardest lesson is learning to keep our speech God-honoring. But, what do we do with what we’re feeling inside?
11 “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:11
As we prepare for pending church building projects, both physical and spiritual, we must remember that we all are brothers and sisters in Christ. We belong to His body, His Church, and we all have Him living in our hearts. The verse above is Matthew quoting Jesus. Mark records Jesus saying the same thing (Mark 7:15). James put it this way,
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 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.
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:5-6, 8
Paul was very specific on how we are to speak to each other:
29 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. Ephesians 4:29
Even when we feel justified in what we want to say, we must be obedient to this verse. Our words, our tone, our countenance (how we look), and our body language are all part of how we communicate with others. All of these components must fit into the “helpful for building other up according to their needs” part. What happens when we don’t pay attention and share something unhelpful or unbeneficial? It’s in the next verse:
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
This is not about salvation (we’re already sealed for the day of redemption), but it is about Lordship. Our goal must be to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, and be like Jesus. When is there ever a time when it’s okay to ignore this goal?
Paul didn’t just tell us what not to do. He also told us how to do it right. It’s in the next two verses:
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 5 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Today, I want us to simply ponder the underlined parts. Tomorrow, we will look at their mechanics. Have a great day in worship on this Lord’s Day.
Abba, today’s lesson was easy to say, but hard to do. What is it that is in us that makes it so hard to maintain control of our tongues? May Your Spirit guide us into all truth in this matter. My favorite phrases are “with whom you were sealed” and “as dearly loved children.” Both speak of our relationship with You. You love us and live in us! For this truth alone I will praise You all the days of my life. Amen.