Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Welcome to Tuesdays Together in the Word, hosted by DeeDee Warren at I Have No Greater Joy... We are a group of bloggers reading God's Word and sharing with each other a "nugget" or three of what we are learning. DeeDee has the plan posted on her sidebar. Join in with us, won't you? You don't have to begin at the beginning.

This week we read:

  • Ephesians 2-6
  • Psalm 54-55
  • Proverbs 13
Weighing Our Words

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." ~ Proverbs 13:3 (NIV)

The first time I read the Bible from cover to cover, the Holy Spirit had a running theme going with me. I saw a commonality throughout the Scriptures that the words I speak do matter and that I should pay careful attention to them. This was a Scripture I really thought about for quite a while. Our words have weight behind them and can lead to victory or ruin in our lives.

Guard My Words

What does setting a guard over my lips actually entail? The Hebrew word for guard is natsar. This is a verb that means:

1) to guard, watch, watch over, keep
a) (Qal)
1) to watch, guard, keep
2) to preserve, guard from dangers
3) to keep, observe, guard with fidelity
4) to guard, keep secret
5) to be kept close, be blockaded
6) watchman (participle)

Guarding my words involves carefully considering what I say. Wisdom, discretion and motive are things to be considered here.

I have to ask myself if what I have to say is something someone really needs to know. Some of the words that are so easy to speak are actually things that should be closely kept, guarded as a matter of confidence, perhaps because someone has asked us not to say anything or because we know that discretion dictates not telling everything we know just to be saying it.

How can we keep our words so closely to our hearts? I think the outline of biblical usage for guard as mentioned above is key. We do what it says.

Watch, keep, guard, preserve, keep close, blockade...

Rash Talk

Speaking rashly can cause a downfall in our lives more quickly than anything else. If we utter profanity, we lose our witness. If we gossip or slander someone, there's a great chance it will get back to them before we know it.

Rashly speaking hurts not only ourselves but those we love and those we have other types of relationships with.

The Hebrew word for rash is pasaq. This verb means:
1) to part, open wide
a) (Qal)
1) to open wide
2) to be talkative (of the mouth)
b) (Piel) to open wide

Is it easier to hold our tongues when our mouths are open or closed? Closed, of course. We should keep the lid on rash talk. But how?

I think it is vital to pray before we begin our day or to go into meetings, even before answering the phone or chatting with friends, whether in person or online. One prayer I pray every time I go to meet with friends is this verse:

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." ~ Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Do I always have victory in this area of my life? Let me give you a word picture for the answer.

I'm striving toward it!

Besides prayer, we need to check our self-control meter. We temper our words and lack of self-control in this area if we are struggling. Most of all, we need to purpose in our hearts that each and every one of the words we speak will glorify God and bring Him honor, not discredit Him to others who are watching and listening to the example we set.

S - self-control is so important in guarding the words we speak
P - pray about the words you say, do they honor God, do they honor others
E - expect fallbacks - we are not perfect, but we can be forgiven
A - always count to 10 before you share something or respond to something "questionable"
K - kindness goes such a long way in setting an example for others to follow
I - invite God to be your mouthpiece before you begin your day
N - notice the speech of those around you - it can rub off on you
G - grumbling mouths are a sign of grumbling hearts



Mary Moss said...

I struggle so in this area! Thank you for this wonderful post that will certainly remind me to be more careful with my words:-)


Denise said...

Beautiful words from a very beautiful heart my friend. I love you.

LAURIE said...

Laurie Ann, great post and an area that I think we all struggle one way or another. I loved that picture of the bear but instead of covering his eyes he should be covering his mouth as we need to do sometimes. Controlling my tongue is my prayer today - love, Laurie

Meredith said...

I always love to read how you break it down. Love the picture and totally relate to the struggle. You make it sound so easy to tackle....thanks for the fine post and words of encouragement!

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Great post Laurie Ann...this is such an area of struggle. Thank you for the truth and encouragement. And...I love the picture that sums it up for all of us sometimes!


DeeDee said...

Great post Laurie Ann....
and certainly one that applies...
thanks so much!

Melinda said...

Proverbs 13:3 is one of those verses that has really spoken to me in my life. I tend to have a big mouth, and I tend to not think before I open it. That was one of the first verses I memorized when I started doing memory verses and I really do believe the Lord uses it to tap me on the shoulder when I'm about to eat my foot. Oh, and I LOVE the picture of the bear!