July 28, 2014
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
Friend to Friend
In my last devotion, we began to talk about how to live a set-apart life. We looked at our e-lives, the time we spend on computers, tablets, and smart phones, and were challenged to establish healthy boundaries to protect and strengthen our faith. God is the source of all holiness and in order to live set-apart lives, we must spend time with Him and be fueled by His Holy Spirit. Today, we are going to look at how we can be set-apart (holy) with our words.
When my son, Hunter, was ten-years old, he came to me one night with a humble confession. He said that because he hasn’t been spending much time with God lately, he has been grumpier and grumpier. He quietly admitted that he had been mean to his siblings and had said some unkind things. With amazing insight, he connected the amount of time that he spent with God and in God’s Word with his behaviors ... recognizing that there was a direct correlation in his life.
Boy, can I relate to that! Tears welled up in my eyes as we spoke about this. I told Hunter that I experience the exact same thing in my life. That when I don’t carve out time in my day to spend with the Lord, I often say things I shouldn’t. For that matter, even when I do read my Bible and pray, I still say and do sinful things.
There was a time in my life when I really struggled with profanity. My tongue was a loose cannon. My church friends would never have known, but when I was angry, profanity was often present ... even if only under my breath or in my mind. God has delivered me from that ugly habit, but it took over ten years of prayer. In those ten years, I failed repeatedly and struggled to believe that God could change my ways. It was a long-term process for me to be purified in my language, and I can assure you that it is only by the grace and strength of God that I can stub my toe now without needing to wash my mouth out with soap.
The Bible has so much to say on this topic! Here are just a few examples:
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19-20, NIV)
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (Proverbs 31:26, NLT)
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3, NIV)
This is not easy-peasy stuff. Living set-apart with our words is simply beyond us… but be encouraged today, friend, because all things are possible with God! One of the most powerful ways we can make progress in this area is to keep short accounts with God. When we pray and ask the Lord to filter our words through the Holy Spirit, He disarms the loose cannon of our tongues.
At the end my conversation with Hunter, I told my son that one of the most amazing things about our Heavenly Father is the mercy that He greets us with when we come before Him to confess our messy behavior. I said to him, and I say to you, God loves us so perfectly, that every time we turn to Him with a repentant heart, He offers us His grace. Go in His grace and live a set-apart life in the power of His Spirit today.
Holy Father, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)
I ask this in Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
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