“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
Paul had just finished talking about renewing the mind to be like Jesus, speaking truth, not being angry, and not stealing. Now he brings up how to speak.
In high schools and colleges there are speech classes to teach people how to do public speaking. They will teach how to speak clearly to get the point across to the listeners. What they do not teach is how to speak to build other people up and how to keep that speech wholesome.
It is easy to see the politicians and famous people in the spotlight when they speak, especially during election time. The speeches are often filled with slamming the other person. They like to show how the other person is bad or has failed.
Most people reading this will not be in one of those positions, yet, the speaking is pretty much the same. Everywhere a person goes it can be heard condemning remarks about a politician or the president. People are very quick to make jokes against the president or some other person.
In the workplace people will cut down their boss or other workers. They complain about their pay or working conditions. In the neighborhood, people will cut down their neighbor or state that they are lazy people because they do not mow their lawn. People often call children stupid for actions they do or the way they look. And these things are not even talking about cursing.
These are not wholesome ways to talk to or about people. Jesus said that you are to serve your neighbor–who is everyone you see or know. Serving is doing what is best for them. Helping build them up.
Clean talk is one that will not complain, curse, or cut down. This will build the person you are talking to or about up and also build those up who are hearing it.
Who have you cut down with your words in the last few days?
Who have you built up with your words in the last few days?
Seek God on how to speak in order to build others up. You are to draw people to Jesus, not condemn them to hell.
I pray today that God will show you how you speak; that God will fill you with His love for others; that your words will build others up and draw them to Jesus; and that God will use you to build others up.
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-5
Paul starts out this letter with thanksgiving to God for the grace given to the believers in Corinth. He points out that in Christ Jesus they have been enriched in every way with speech and knowledge. He is excited for the people.
Grace is often seen as unmerited favor. Salvation alone is only by God’s grace. No one deserves it and no one can earn it. This alone should be enough to make every believer shout for joy. Yet, God does not leave a believer with just salvation. He gives much more.
The two things that Paul points out is with the speech and knowledge. Speech is very important to communicate with other people. You have to know how to use the language correctly to clearly communicate the gospel message.
Think about how a 3-year-old child who is just learning to talk describes things. Often it takes a good imagination to understand what that child is saying. His speech is not developed enough to be able to clearly communicate.
Most adults believe they can communicate clearly. And to a point this is true. God, however, fills a person with His Holy Spirit and increases that ability to communicate even more.
In the same way every adult has some knowledge. With God’s Holy Spirit in a person that knowledge increases infinitely more. God can give knowledge that without Him it would be impossible to know. This can also help in communicating the gospel message more clearly to others. It will give the message that a person may need to hear at that point and time.
God did not have to give you any of this speech or knowledge. He has chosen to do so by His love and grace. You did not earn that right to have that knowledge.
Give thanks today for the speech and knowledge God has blessed you with and use it to build His kingdom. Others may have more or less, but you have what God has given you. You have absolutely what you need to do what God wants you to do for today.
I pray today that you will know the grace God has blessed you with; that you will know the speech and knowledge God has given you; that you will be led by His Holy Spirit to reach the lost; that you will tell everyone you meet about Jesus; and that you will thank God for His grace He has given you.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:9-10
Every believer has no problems with giving praise to God. Each Sunday, in church, people will sing songs of praise to God. When things go good, they will often give thanks to God. Later, however, they will curse another person.
Cursing a person has become a common place thing in our culture. Although in Biblical times it was looked at as more of a condemnation or asking God (or any god) to bring harm to someone. Often in the ancient days the curse would be stated in a long statement. Today, instead of a long phrase, short words or phrases are used to condemn a person. The words may have changed, but the meaning is still there. When a person curses someone today, he still desires some form of harm or condemnation to come upon that person. James tells us that this should not be the case.
You have to remember that every person is made in the image of God. Would you curse God? Would you curse His image? Most people will say no to these questions, yet, many will curse another person without any thought about it. When you curse a person, you are essentially also cursing God. Jesus had said as you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me.
As a believer your speech should be bringing praise to God and building other people up. It does not matter if the person is a very “bad” person, breaking all of the rules of man and God…you are just as bad in sinning against God. Remember you also are a filthy rotten sinner. The only difference is you have been saved by God’s grace and mercy. That other person also needs God’s grace and mercy. Will you condemn him or will you point Him to God? You are not God and do not have the authority to curse any person or thing. Ask God to change the words of your mouth. Learn to bless and not curse. No person or thing in this world deserves to be cursed by you if God does not curse that person or thing.
I pray that today God will place new words of blessing in your mouth; that God will change your heart to bring out only blessings; that God will reveal to you the grace and mercy He has had on you; that God will help you to be a blessing to others; and that God will strengthen you to be His witness daily in your speech.
“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.” James 3:5
The tongue is a very small part of the body that is hidden inside the mouth, yet it is extremely powerful. Notice in Genesis that it was by God’s spoken word that the world you see today was brought into existence. God’s Word is described as living and active. It is powerful. Your words also carry a lot of power.
As James states, a person’s tongue will make a great boast about something. How often do you hear of someone who boasts about his getting ready to do something great, but that event never occurs. Many people boast about what they are going to do and, yet, never do it. This tongue also is like spark. Just like a small spark can ultimately burn an entire forest down, the tongue can do a lot of damage.
You may remember the old childhood saying of “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This statement is false. If you tell a person that they are a failure and cannot do anything, they will believe it and act that way. Words can build up or tear down. Many fights and wars have been started because of words being said. Words that are a lie, grow and cause a lot of damage. Words of boasting cause envy and anger. Words of defamation tear down and destroy.
Your words should be ones that glorify God and build other people up. Who will listen to you if today you crush a person with your words and tomorrow you try to talk of love to him? People will no longer trust you. Your words are powerful and can be used to build or destroy. Jesus did not come to destroy, but to build God’s kingdom. You are to act the same way Jesus did. Speak in such a way as to build His kingdom.
I pray that today God will help you to use words to build His kingdom; that your speech will glorify God; that only the kingdom of this world will be destroyed by your words; that God will help you to control your words; and that no one will have an honest accusation against you because of your words.