Note to reader: The following is the result of further study, research and reflection after reading a portion of The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, a book written upon the influence of the movie Courageous, which hit theaters nation-wide in September/October of 2011.
For out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
I recently completed the fifth resolution, which speaks of blessing others with our time, concern and full attention. I also read James 3:1-12 this morning and God has dutifully Gibbs’ed me on the back of the head. I’m getting it…slowly, but surely, I’m getting it. Finally.
Note: For those of you who don’t watch NCIS and do not have any inkling as to who Gibbs is, watch an episode and once you see the dynamics in his relationship with Tony Denozo, you’ll completely understand. Guaranteed.
Now, back to James. According to him, the tongue is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person behind the matter. And the misuse of it is the easiest way to sin. Chapter 3 goes on to explain that the genuineness of a person’s faith will inevitably be demonstrated by his speech.
True believers will possess a sanctified tongue, yet they must maintain it. We must learn to control it for three reasons: it’s potential to condemn, its power to control and its propensity to corrupt.
Jesus also refers to our speech in Matthew 12:33-37 – read it here. Jesus states that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (same as the scripture above). We must remember that we will one day give account of, not only the things we did with our time, but what we said. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:37)
Nowhere is the relationship between faith and works more evident than in a person’s speech.
He who speaks with an ill tongue about his neighbor has an ill heart; rest assured of that. Let us engage in our Christian career with the full assurances that we will have a great deal to forgive in other people, but there will be a great deal more to be forgiven in ourselves. Let us count on having to exercise gentleness, and needing its exercise from others. Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – C.H. Spurgeon
Wisdom also comes in knowing what to say and not saying it. How many times a day do we constantly wan to be proven right? How many times do we seemingly put someone else in their place? There is a time and place for that, and it is not always in the moment. How many times in my life have I wished to be the wise woman at the head of the table or near the outskirts of the room, not saying anything until the moment is right? How many times have I wished I had the grace of my grandmother?!!
I know now that this comes with time. It’s called life and God uses its circumstances to mold us into His likeness, so that we can carry out His good and perfect Will in His time.
We shouldn’t be boastful of our own knowledge. We should speak with humility and wisdom, knowing when to speak. The book of Proverbs teaches us to be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Did you know that the greatest gift you can even give anyone is the gift of your own time? If you set aside your agenda, needs and wants to give one person your undivided attention for 15 minutes (or more), that time will mean more to them than anything in the world. It’s greater than any object you can give or any amount of money you can hand over. The time means they matter, whether it be to you or to someone else.
We are in that position every day – the opportunity to envelop ourselves in someone else’s conversation, to suppress the clamor of our own thoughts and schedule, to focus our full attention on other people, giving them an offering of the rarest kind. The gift of ourselves. The gift of our time…the gift of listening. – Shirer, pg 114.
Jesus knew the power of this blessing. He was a pro at it. He made a habit of setting aside time for the most insignificant people in His day. Take the woman at the well for instance. Not only was she a woman, but she was a Samaritan woman. Men didn’t speak to women in public (not even their own wives), must less communicate with a group of people seen as less than Jewish. Jesus chose on many occasions to stop, to wait, to listen, to given attention to before speaking Himself, even when the other person was misinformed or even spouting blasphemy. He listened to the disciples indignantly boast that they would never deny or desert him (Matthew 26:31-35). He heard the call of a blind man over the roar of human need on a crowded street near Jericho (Luke 18:35-43). Scripture is full of examples like these.
Listening is one of the most significant ways God blesses us. Therefore, it is one of the most significant ways we bless others.
We must also watch over our hearts, for from it, flows the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). This will ensure that we do not allow our hearts to become polluted by anything that will hinder our mission of being conformed into the likeness of Christ. The more we soak in His Word and His truth, the more we can expect to have a deep reservoir filled with all the treasures needed to temper our conversations with wisdom, kindness, and humility.
We must guard our hearts so that do not become hardened (Proverbs 28:14), deceptive (Psalm 12:2), prideful (Proverbs 21:4), or unclean (Psalm 51:10). We must seek to have a heart that is always sensitive to the prodding of God’s Spirit (Romans 8:5), single-mindedly devoted to Him (Psalm 86:11), drenched in humility (Proverbs 22:4) and pure before God (Matthew 5:8).
A person whose heart is full of gratitude and humility, who is certain of God’s love for them, and who genuinely prizes the worth of those around them will release a steady stream of graciousness that will refresh others through their conversation.
Have you ever truly experienced that?