This is a side note from our last post The Voice of Contentment, as we considered the voices that we hear.
Somewhere in the past, I remember hearing or reading that God gives all people a certain number of words for each life. If this was true, many would have nothing to say in their latter years. 🙂
While this statement is not a Biblical reference, it might be something to think about.
There are Biblical references that speak of our voices and our words. There is much written in the Bible about our tongues, our lips, our mouths and the intentions of the heart in reference to the words we speak. These are all related, but let’s look basically at the words that come from the mind, the heart and the mouth when we speak to others. What is the source of what we, as God’s people, speak?
And what effect do our words have on others?
Joseph spoke to his brothers about his dreams. They “hated him for his dreams and his words.” Genesis 31:8
God gave words to Moses and Aaron to speak to the people. Exodus 10:6-7
Moses spoke the words of the ten commandments to the people. Exodus 24:3;
Moses was instructed to speak words of warning and promises. Deuteronomy 1:1
Joshua spoke to the people “the words of the Lord.” Joshua 3:9
WEIGHING OUR WORDS
When we speak, let us learn to ask four questions:
- Would the words I speak be what I would want to hear?
- Would they be a burden on the person to whom I speak?
- Are my words necessary?
- Would my words be to the glory of God?
Jesus came to speak “the words by which all men will be judged.” (John 12:48) He is the only one who has the authority to judge.
“And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” Luke 11:46
“But ‘the burden of the Lord’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God.” Jeremiah 23:36
“His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” Psalm 55:2
Words can put a burden on others, even to “torment,” as in Job’s case (Job 19:2)
The Psalmist speaks of “words of trouble and deceit” (Psalm 36:3); “words that devour” (Psalm 52:4); “words of hate (Psalm 109:3) “bitter words like arrows” (Psalm 64:3); “arrogant words” (Psalm 94:4); “false words” (2 Peter 2:3).
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2
“Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” 2 Timothy 2:14
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
MEASURING OUR WORDS
“Jesus, whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” John 3:34
“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3
“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Proverbs 10:19
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverb 17:27
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37
FILTERING OUR WORDS
If after weighing what we say, and measuring what we speak, we can know that our words will be edifying to those to whom we speak, and to build up the church as a whole by using God’s Word as a filter. If we listened and read more of His Word we would be less likely to be speaking our own words. We can be sure our words will glorify our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ if we encourage ourselves in His Word. Jerry Bridges in his book, The Discipline of Grace, says that he has to preach the gospel to himself everyday.
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6); gracious words, pure, like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 15:26; 16:24).
His words are sweet (Psalm 119:103); they give light (119:130). We stand in awe of his words (119:147); there is “hope in His words” (119:147); “words of insight and words of the wise” (Proverbs 1:2, 6) they are “holy words” (Jeremiah 23:9)
“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11
We are to hold fast His words that are hidden in our heart, that He will put in our mouth (Psalm 119:11, Proverbs 4:4; Isaiah 51:16)
What did Jesus’ disciples say about His words?
The people “marveled at the gracious words that came from His mouth” (Luke 4:22) Peter said He had “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Paul spoke of “the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness in 1 Timothy 6:3; “being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed” (1 Timothy 4:6).
What did Jesus say about His words?
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 23:35
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38
“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” John 12;48
The early church was encouraged by “the gospel, not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
1 Corinthians 1:17
“not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,”
1 Corinthians 2:4
“in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13
Do we consider our words as governed by the Spirit of Christ? Let us make our words a matter of importance for the Father’s kingdom and the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our words should be filtered through His Word and prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we speak to others of Christ, the Holy Spirit must be working in their hearts for them to understand the words we speak.
In all our conversations our words should be that which encourages and strengthens our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Let us not waste a moment of His precious time given us here, to share His glory. We can be channels and purveyors “holding forth the word of life” with words that give life, using every opportunity as builders with God of His kingdom on earth. We need not be reticent but with prayer and preparation through His Word anticipate that He will fill up our days with His goodness, His grace and love, laying up treasures in heaven as we spread the joy and contentment that is ours in Christ. We can weigh, measure and filter what our heavenly Father has given us in Christ, and with the abundance share the overflow as he continues to fill us with His fulness.
Dear Father let these prayers from the Psalmist be our prayers today and everyday.
“Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.”
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.