The Real Issue Behind Our Words
By the time my first child reached the age of two, I was desperate! My strong-willed daughter needed little sleep, and God was using the stress of exhaustion to expose my heart. He already knew what was there, but I was clueless. I was shocked by what He uncovered. A kind friend invited me to her Bible study and I went, determined to solve my problem!
As the teacher spoke God’s words to us (not the principles, not the stories, not the ideas, but the actual words), they did their work of purification and cleansing in my heart. God’s Spirit used Scripture to identify lie after lie that I had believed and began the transformation that I so desperately needed (Heb 4:12).
One day as we discussed the Scripture, my teacher suddenly looked directly at me and rebuked me. “Cheryl, I do not care what you think. What does God’s Word say and where do you find it?” I was shocked into speechlessness, but the truth of her words created in me a passionate desire to always be able to answer that question, both for my sake and for the sake of others.
More recently, God has again confronted me about my words. As a daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, counselor, student, and teacher, my life touches many others. The Lord has simply asked me to evaluate my words when I do speak to make sure they come from Him.
I am asking you to join me in this process.
If you and I were to sit down together and search Scripture for insights on the words we speak, there would be many passages to look at, but the one God leads me to again and again may not be as familiar. John 8 lays out for us a very clear comparison and contrast in patterns of speech. One example comes from Jesus and the other from Satan.
While searching the Gospels, we would discover that Jesus’ speech was unique. His Jewish listeners remarked upon it. They described it as authoritative, unlike that of their own religious leaders (Matt 7:28-29). Throughout John 8, Jesus makes the reason for His authority very clear:
- I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” (8:26)
- So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (8:28)
- I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”(8:38)
I wonder how different our speech would be if it consisted of what we heard from God, what we were taught, by God, and what we had seen God do?
By contrast, John 8:44 outlines a different pattern of speech: You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan’s speech is known for its absence of truth, and by that we are not surprised. The source of his speech, however, stands in stark contrast to that of Christ’s.
For while Jesus spoke only what He heard from His Father, Satan speaks out of his own nature – from within his own being.
If we stop and assess our speech I wonder how often we speak out of our own fleshly natures. Because words come from within us, we have such a sense of their “rightness,” and yet their source (i.e. our sin nature) allies
our speech more closely with that of Satan than that of Christ. Where does God find you?
If He shows you that there is need for confession and repentance because you have grieved His Spirit with your speech, please take a moment to confess those sins right now. (1 John 1:9; 2:1-2) Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Recognize that speech proceeds from the heart and trace your words back to their source in order to identify sins in need of confession (Mark 7:20-23).
2. Be quick to confess sins of the tongue – to God and to others. They grieve His Spirit and interfere with the intimacy that you need in this relationship (Eph 4:29-32).
3. Pray Psalm 19:14 to express your desires back to God, that your thoughts and words would be pleasing to Him. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
4. Dig into God’s Word for it is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) Remember that God’s thoughts and words are unique to Him and foreign to you; you will only discover them in HisWord.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
~ Is 55:8-11
If we, as women, intentionally make the choice to speak His words, we will communicate with authority and with power.
What we say will be worth each listener’s time to hear. And above all, our words will be acceptable to God (Ps 19:14).
Looking to Go Deeper? Download Cheryl’s Personal Bible Study on Choosing Our Words.