Words. They have tremendous power. They can direct, they can destroy or they can delight. Words have the potential for destruction or for good. The same power can cause pain, war, bombs and wounds OR they can bring light, life and healing.
How are you using words? What comes out of your mouth indicates what is inside of you. Do you have practices and filters in place to control your tongue? If you don’t, do you need to? Are you allowing Jesus to transform you from the inside out to ensure that what comes out of your mouth is holy and pleasing and life giving? The excuses often used in our culture for not being careful with words are things like “I’m just being honest” or “Can’t you take a joke?” You are responsible for your words, no matter what you say you “meant” when you said them. Are you using your words wisely?
Pastor Adam left us with the following practical advice from James Chapter 3: 1) pause, 2) ponder and 3) pray before we speak. As we ponder whether or not to speak, here is a helpful acronym to consider as a filter before speaking. Is what I am about to say:
T = true
H = helpful
I = inspiring
N = necessary
K = kind
INVITATION: Join us this week as we dig deep inside our hearts and souls and examine what internal transformation God might be inviting us to in relation to our tongue. An ancient quote from the desert fathers goes like this: “A brother asked Abba Sisois, ‘I long to guard my heart.’ The old man said to him, ‘And how can we guard the heart if our tongue leaves the door of the fortress open?’ “
MONDAY: James 3:1-2 and Luke 6:45: The James verses hold teachers to a higher standard, but also indicate we all stumble, but are able to keep our “whole body in check” if we control the tongue. The Luke verse indicates that what is in your heart comes out your mouth. Do you have any spiritual practices in your life to keep a check on your heart? As the ancient quote above implies, you need to ask yourself if you are guarding your heart and is your tongue opening your heart for attack?
TUESDAY: James 3:3-5: These verses give multiple examples of proportionately small items that have the ability to control something much larger, i.e. a rudder on a ship, a spark and a fire, our tongue and our lives and the lives of others. Take some time today and ask God to show you what HE wants you to see about your thoughts, your words and your actions. Thoughts become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become a lifestyle and a lifestyle becomes a destiny. Your small tongue actually has the power to control your destiny. Are you willing to allow God to help you tame and control your tongue? What about your thoughts? What guards and spiritual practices can you put into place to help in your thought life which often leads to the words that come out of your mouth?
WEDNESDAY: James 3:6-9: How do you feel as you read the tongue is “a world of evil” and “it corrupts the whole person and is full of deadly poison?” You are invited today to write out a prayer to Jesus surrendering control of your tongue. It is the rudder of the “ship” of your life and even possibly your destiny. How do you feel as you admit this weakness to Jesus? How can you step out in trust today in this regard?
THURSDAY: James 3:10-12. You say you are a follower of Christ. Do Christ’s words come out of you? Augustine said, “For when we ask how good a person is, we do not ask what they believe or what they hope for but what they live.” How are you living out your Christian life - - particularly regarding your words?
FRIDAY: Pastor Adam suggested the application of the following practices: 1) pause, 2) ponder and 3) pray. Pause: James 1:19. How might you remind yourself to be quick to listen this week? Ponder: Phil. 4:8. How might this verse help you as you control what goes into your heart, mind and soul? Remember, what goes in ultimately comes out. What are you feeding your heart? Pray: Psalm 19:14. Perhaps you can take this verse with you as a constant source of prayer for your days and your weeks as you seek to “pray without ceasing” (I Thes. 5:17).
SATURDAY: James 3:13-18: These verses instruct us on living well and living wisely. Is this something you long for in your life in five years? What can you do TODAY in that regard? Verse 17 from The Message states: “real wisdom; God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life.” What can you do TODAY toward a more holy life? A holy life will influence and change your heart, which will influence your tongue. You are not alone. You have the power of the Holy Spirit living in you. Perhaps the first step is simply to confess your desire and ask for help?