PROVERBS 25:28-A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
Christians are never without excuse if we lack self-controlled lives, in all areas of our lives, but especially in our speech. Yes, I know that is a tall order, but it is one we may obey because Christ in us ensures the power of self-control in us. So, alack of self-control is not a matter of inability. It is the matter of learning to appropriate the power of the Spirit of God to live self-controlled. After all, what is the last fruit listed in the cluster of the Fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?(Galatians 5:22-23). And when it comes to an area of the greatest importance to exercise self-control, our speech is high on the list because a tongue out of control will cause severe damage in relationships, maybe even irreparable damage.
When it comes to our speech, there is never a time Christians should lack self-control. In any conversation, we should never be known to use words that cut, hurt, and lack the qualities found in the speech our Lord used–gracious words (Luke 4:22). Yes, Jesus spoke hard and convicting words at times, but never hurtful and harming words. Few things damage our testimony for the Lord quicker than a loose tongue putting forth impulsive, emotionally charged, not Spirit-controlled, words. To allow our speech to be argumentative, defensive, selfish, and graceless is to betray our profession of faith in the Lord Jesus.
The Apostle Paul gives clear instruction on the quality of our speech-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).And if we are to obey this command, we need to adopt the following prayer from David and make it a regular part of our lives . . .“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer”(Psalm 19:14).
First, we pray for the Lord’s help to control our tongues–let the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight. This is both a confession we need help and a desperate plea for help. And that is right for James tells us “No one may tame the tongue” (James 3:8). We learn “tongue-control” by seeking the Lord for help because left to ourselves, it is not happening.
Next David asks, “Let the meditation of my heart be accepted before the Lord. ”This becomes equally important for Jesus tells us “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).What is in our hearts will come out in our speech. The challenge here is to maintain a right and controlled heart (by the Word)if we want right and controlled speech (Colossians 3:16).
Self-control. It is a mark of spiritual maturity and thus Christ likeness. It applies in all areas of our lives, but when it comes to our speech, its characteristic, grace-filled or grace-less, determines the quality of our witness for the Lord Jesus when engaged in conversations with all people.
PRAYER: “Father, help me have speech always seasoned with grace and reflecting Christ.”
QUOTE: “Our speech will either be grace-filled or grace-less. The choice is ours.”