October 31, 2010

Gracious Essential Four: Tame Tongue

"None of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. " - James 3:2 (The Message)
This used to be one of those areas that I felt I was really getting the hang of.  I tried to be mindful of every word I spoke, taking the scriptures quite literally:
"And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgement day of every idle word you speak." - Matthew 12:36 (NLT)
My husband can confirm, I was crazy about it!  I went as far as trying not to say "whatever," because it seemed a word with no real meaning.  Of course I stayed away from the typical curse words and even some harsh-sounding words.  But as of late, I realized that I haven't been quite as diligent in watching my idle words. Want a good wake up call?  Have a 2 year old and a 4 year old follow you around for a few days.  They start repeating things you didn't realize you even said...to your friends, parents, random people at the grocery store...
Most of the parents I've talked to agreed that having toddler-aged children is what made them realize they needed to get their words in check, quickly. So, I'll take it as a blessing, having my every discussion and discipline on repeat for the world to hear, because I really want to do my best to tame my tongue.  Why?
"A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it!  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos...with our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image."  - James 3:5-6, 9 (The Message)
If this is the one area that could help us keep the rest of our lives in check, why isn't this our focus!?  I know that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), so I first must fill my heart with Truth and then I will begin to see a change in my thoughts, actions and words.
One of the best ways I know how to do that is memorizing scripture.  Then begin re-evaluting your life and what you are putting into your heart: friendships, conversations, music, movies, books...what do you find yourself meditating on?  (What do you find yourself daydreaming about?)  Pour truth and life into your heart and it will pump it throughout your spirit, body and soul, so that when you open your mouth only truth and life will come out if it.  And remember, there are times when we just need to keep our mouths shut! (Proverbs 21:23).
Also, be mindful of your inner dialogue.  "Fat talk" applies to how we talk to ourselves about our physical appearance... but we can "fat talk" ourselves into fear, insecurity, distrust, or depression by unhealthy thoughts about ourselves, and God.  We need to keep our inner dialogue positive and watch everything we are putting into our hearts and the wise words will follow!

Starts in the HEART - Aligns the MIND - Brings corrections to your ACTIONS -  TAMES your TONGUE!

Why not start setting your mind on the Word with these scriptures: (I'm using the New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted)
  • "Listen to His _________________ and ______ them in your ________. (Job 22:22)
  • What does God say about changing our hearts? __________________. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • "________ in me a _______ heart..." (Psalms 51:10)
  • What happens when you control your tongue? ___________________.  (Psalms 13:3)
  • "If you claim to be __________ but don't control your tongue you are just _______________." (James 1:26)
  • "If you want a happy life and good days ________________________. (1 Peter 3:10)
  • "Set a _____ over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the ____ __ __ ____." (Psalm 141:3 NIV)
"Gracious speech is like clover honey - good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body." - Proverbs 16:24 (The Message)

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