Friday, October 11, 2013

Controlling the Tongue

   My devotion today was strangely similar to the one shared with me by my Mother. The topic, controlling the tongue. The Bible describes it as a small but powerful member, something that can strike down or build up. Throughout history, examples of the power of the tongue are seen. The encouragement of the "Guardian of Scotland", William Wallace, allowed his meager 2,300 men to defeat the professionally trained 10,000 British soldiers in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The proud words of Nebuchadnezzar removed him from his beautiful kingdom and sentenced him to seven years of roaming like a beast in the fields.
   God does not mess around when it comes to the power of our words. He speaks in James 1:19-21 of the importance of listening slowly and taking our time in making decisions instead of being hasty to anger. One version reads:     
   19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. 
   20 For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
   21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.  
   We get ourselves into trouble when we make swift decisions without taking more time to listen-not hear, but actively listen. The Holy Spirit is placed in our heart to provide us counsel when we accept Christ into our lives. Why do we allow distractions and the noise of life to crowd him out?
   As I consider all of the words I have used in the last twenty four hours, I am embarrassed to consider how many of them were in the effort of making a difference in someone's life for eternity and ashamed at how many were spent talking to God, particularly in comparison to the number of idle words I used. 
   While this is a huge topic and I could go on and on, my personal challenge for today is to be more aware of the words I say, their affect on people, and if God would be pleased with my use of the blessing of speech. It is truly a gift to be able to communicate and something we should not waste.

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