Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Speech: Treasures of the Heart Revealed

by Kayte McCoy

I must admit that I do not have total victory in this area of godly speech. I was raised in a sarcastic home and can be careless with my words. However, I realized that the areas in which I have done battle are the areas in which I can be the most helpful to others.

Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Let us break down this verse to see what God is trying to teach us:

Walk (peripateō: to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities; to conduct one’s life)

them that are without (literally or figuratively: away, strange {the unsaved})

grace (charis: that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues)

seasoned (artyō: prepared)

salt (halas: a symbol of lasting concord, protects food from putrefaction and preserves it unchanged)

I think we all realize that our words have tremendous impact, for either good or bad.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue:…

We each could relay an anecdote from our lives of a time someone deeply hurt us with words. Maybe we could even recall a time when someone said something that really encouraged and gave us a burst of confidence. There are certain things people have said to us, especially as children, that we will just never, ever forget. Some of those are good and some are bad. We do NOT get to decide which of our own statements will be the ones that stick with an individual for years and years and possibly the rest of his life.

For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.” – Amy Carmichael, IF

For a long time, I dreaded the subject of the tongue coming up in preaching or in ladies’ teaching sessions. I was so frustrated that after years of sitting under great teaching and powerful preaching and making many decisions (commitments made, broken, and remade again at the next session about the tongue), I still did not have my mouth under control. I was reading in a devotional by Amy Carmichael when I came across the previous quote. This quote changed my whole approach to the subject. It really clicked for me, and I realized that my problem with my tongue was not going to be solved through self-control. It was humbling to admit that my tongue was an issue of my true heart being revealed through my words.

As our speech is a reflection of our true character, our words reveal the REAL us.

I was attempting to put a lock on the treasure box of my heart because I did not want to let out what was in it (my flesh). The biblical approach is to fill the treasure box with GOOD.

Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

That with which we are “filled” will come out through our speech.  When life squeezes us, our “filling” comes out. As we age, that may be a literal fact! For now, however, I am referring to our inner self oozing out through speech. What are we putting in our treasure box?

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Ephesians 5:3-4 says, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

Here the word convenient means “fitting.” Let us not just put a bandage on the problem by trying to use self-control to shut our mouths from the idle, hurtful words we are prone to say. Let us instead examine the root of the problem: our hearts. Let us rely on the Holy Spirit to set a watch over our mouths.

We must examine our hearts and evaluate what we allow to influence our minds and hearts.

Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Careful regulation of television, books, social media, etc. is not just for children! We are the total sum of the people with whom we spend time; we are the content of what we read; and we are the diet with which we feed our minds.

Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

We must memorize and meditate on Scripture to reshape our thought processes.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Careless words: Matthew 12:36, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 14:7

Lying: Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 26:28

Gossip: Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 16:27-28, Proverbs 18:8, Proverbs 26:20

Angry words: Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 17:14, Proverbs 20:3

Complaining: Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Ephesians 4:29

The Word of God is loaded with verses that can be applied to our speech and help us in specific, practical ways. We must identify how we sin with our words and learn Scripture to win that battle.

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We must rely on the Holy Spirit and not on our human self-control.

James 3:8 says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

THINK before speaking!

T Is it true?

H Is it helpful?

I  Is it inspiring? (Does it encourage and build up others?)

N Is it necessary?

K Is it kind?

We must use words to bless others and magnify the Lord.

We must speak words of encouragement to others. Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary:…

We must speak the Gospel to the lost. Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man.

We must speak words of praise to our great God! Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

We as Christians can have victory over the tongue by letting God guide our words to do His will. Every day we must apply these truths to our words with a determination to let godly speech be our primary goal when opening our mouths!

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