Spend a few minutes reading, praying, and meditating on the following verses:
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Matthew 12:34b For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
Challenge: In your journal (or here https://www.quiettime.today/journal) write down a list of things that you struggle with with regards to your speech. If you cannot come up with anything, check this page for some inspiration: https://www.openbible.info/topics/our_speech.
Now for each one, write down the underlying heart issue (need for significance, security, trust, pleasure, acceptance, belonging) that is causing you to struggle with this, and pray to God and ask Him to meet your needs and change your heart.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
More information: https://www.quiettime.today/blog/challenge-11
Yesterday we looked at the heart issue of money. How our heart will be focussed on where we have created our treasure. Today, we look at the topic of speech, which is another heart issue. You can tell where someone’s heart is by listening to what they say.
Matthew 12:34 For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
So in order to make our speech more gracious, we have to make our hearts more gracious. And how do we do that? First and foremost by realizing that there are consequences for all that we do. In the case of our speech, there are consequences for everything we say.
Matthew 12:36 "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Proverbs 12:14: A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth
Pr 18:7: A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
When it comes to speech, we have to learn two things. First, there are things we should not say, so we have to learn to control our tongue and listen more, and speak less. Second, we have to learn to say the right things, so that when we do speak, it’s the Holy Spirit speaking through us, for the benefit of our hearers.
Frequently, we say what we should not say, or we do not say the things we actually should. There is always a reason, even though we ourselves are not very much aware of the reason. Underneath that reason, there is frequently something wrong in our thinking or understanding. We may believe some deep lie and it may be due to an area of our heart not being fully right with God. So if we want to improve our speech, we have to first recognize what is good and what is not good speech. Scripture, and especially the Proverbs, will help us with this. Then we have to analyze our own speech and explore the reasons why our speech is not yet ok. Once we know the reason, we have to dig even deeper, and investigate the underlying heart issue. What lie do we believe deep down in our hearts? And with what truth should we replace it?
Below is a list of things we have to unlearn. In this list, you first see the thing we should not do, followed by a possible reason we do those things, and finally, the heart issue that we may have to fix in order to really change that speech pattern. There are bible verses for each item as well, look them up for deeper insights.
Responding in anger; Our rights are violated; Failure to recognize God allowed it for our benefit. (Math 5: 21, James 1:19)
Swearing; Habit, want to fit in, expression of anger; Man's opinion of us is more important than Gods. (Deut 5:11, 2Tim 2:16)
Course jesting; Want to appear tough; Man's opinion of us is more important than Gods. (Eph 5:3-4)
Lying; Take shortcut towards things we want, protect our own reputation; God will not give us what is best when it’s best, God did not see it. Others will not find out. (Deu 5:20, Pr 4:24)
Striving; We don't get things our way; I know better what is good for me than anyone else (including God). (2Tim 2:14)
Boasting; We have a low self-esteem; God and man will think more of me if I tell them how good I am. (Pr 27:1-2)
Speaking too much; Self-centered view of the world; Life is all about me. I know better, I don't need to listen. (Pr 10:19,13:3)
Speaking too quickly; Want to control the outcome, want to appear witty or smart; If I don't take charge, things go wrong, Man's opinion of us is more important than Gods. (Pr 18:13)
Flattering; We want people to like us; Man's opinion of us is more important than Gods.(Pr 26:28, Job 32:21-22)
Revealing secrets; Need for significance or attention; We are insignificant, we need attention from people, others will keep it secret. (Pr 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19)
Promising too quickly; Want to be liked or esteemed; Man's opinion of us is more important than Gods. (Pr 6:1)
And here is a list of things we have to learn instead, followed by reasons why we may not do it, and the heart issues we have to change in order to exhibit true Spirit-led speech.
Encourage; Believe that others are fine without it. Lack of worth and value; People don't need it, I can’t give it. (Heb 3:13)
Comfort; Are not aware of need or pain due to self-centeredness, do not know what to say; Other people are not my concern, other people are ok. Better to say nothing than say something that is not perfect. (1Th 4:18, Ga 6:2)
Be sensitive; Have not developed other-centeredness; We do not really have to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Pr 25:20,27:14)
Rebuke; Do not want to cause tension; Our temporal comfort is more important than someone else's growth. (Pr 25:12)
Teach; Afraid of teaching the wrong things, it takes a lot of effort; I don't know much truth. (Mat 28:18-20, 2Ti 2:2, Jam 3:1)
Edify; Believe that others are fine without it, afraid it won’t be good enough; People don't need it, I can’t give it. (1Th 5:11)
Ask; Do not want to leave our comfort zone, don’t believe it will make a difference, pride and independence; Our temporal comfort is more important than God's will, God does not listen to me, I can do this without asking help. (Mat 7:7-11, Jn 15:5)
Have sound speech which brings grace and truth to those around us is very much part of our spiritual upbringing. See below for how Paul first makes the case that we should fundamentally change ourselves, and then the role he sees that our speech plays in this process.
Eph 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind … 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.