Guarding Our Tongues, Part 4

July 29, 2019 at 11:47 AM Leave a comment

For the past three articles, we’ve been dealing with how to effectively guard our tongues. I’ve stated I’m not perfect at this and I’ll continue to state that fact. What I share, I share from God’s Word as something that we must endeavor to put into practice but the choice is ours. We noted that James has quite a bit to say about the tongue itself and if we’re honest with ourselves, we’d have to agree with him.

This seems especially true in society today as it appears that what was once accepted as public decorum has flown the coop. Today’s “discussion” is often couched in harsh terms, personal attacks, people talking over one another and simply refusing to listen because their main thrust is to get their point across. This is constantly on display with many “news” shows where sarcasm and one person cutting off another is the mainstay. I think we can “thank” shows and hosts like Geraldo Rivera, Maury Povich, Jennie Jones and many, many others who’ve come and gone where their “talk” shows were more about people yelling at each other and even getting into on-air fights over disagreements than actually involved in conversation that we would mark as constructive. They really were “bread and circuses” for the masses and we’ve seen this repeatedly even in recent congressional hearings where one side of the aisle blatantly attacks a subpoenaed person, often without letting them respond to the charges. It’s all for show and because of it, decorum and politeness has literally disappeared from society.

This (lack of) quality has bled over into the mainstream media where we see this on display from one program to another. Granted, while some pretend to be news-oriented, it’s clear that they are simply promoting a specific agenda. These interview programs are designed to share and exchange ideas. However, it isn’t long before either the host or the guest(s) constantly interrupts the other, uses sarcasm in an attempt to make a point and when all else fails, simply keeps talking like one would filibuster in Congress.

Decorum no longer exists in society and it is due to the fact that people have somehow been taught that they should say what they mean and mean what they say, no matter how repugnant the words are that are used to express their opinions. I’ve mentioned as well that this aura of personal agenda and self-centeredness has been embraced by people who call themselves Christian. They have no qualms about using filthy language to get their point across in spite of Paul’s admonishments in his letter to the Ephesians.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29 ESV).

While this is only one sentence from Scripture, there are plenty of others that command Christians to use wisdom and discernment in our responses to others. I mean, how clear can Paul be here? We should allow no “corrupting talk” to come out of our mouths but only the kind of speech which builds others up. The overall objective is to be filled with graciousness even when pointing out flaws in the thinking of others.

As we’ve stated in this series, the only way I know how to do that (and don’t worry, I’m not saying I do it perfectly), is through the memorization of Scripture so that during times of temptation to use sarcasm or answer someone callously, the Holy Spirit can remind us of how He wants us to respond. We will then have the choice of submitting ourselves to His will or bullying our way through to do our own thing, ignoring the promptings of the Spirit within.

Let’s take a look at something Paul wrote to the Philippians that’s eye-opening if we allow it to be.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-8 ESV).

We’ve briefly talked about this set of verses in this series, but focus on verse 7 above; “And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I’ve emphasized two words in that verse that deserve our attention.

Notice Paul did not say, “…will guard your hearts, minds and tongues…” That’s very important, because as we’ve discussed, what we say aloud is merely a symptom of what is already in our hearts and minds. Jesus said that. Paul says it. James says it. The Bible is very clear about this.

So even though James talks about the tongue as a small member that controls us too often (much like the small bit in a horse’s mouth or a small rudder on a huge ship), the Bible, when taken together in the harmony that came from God, since He ultimately wrote the entire Bible, we can see that James is talking about outcomes or results of what we think and what is in our hearts. Paul has a remedy for the problem of the tongue and it is found in Philippians 4:7.

If we are faithful in doing what Paul prescribes in verses 4, 5, and 6, then Paul promises that the result will be what he describes in verse 7. If, when I face difficulties (like I’m going through now), I am faithful to do the following:

  • rejoice
  • rejoice again
  • allow gentleness to be my demeanor
  • remind myself that the Lord is near
  • refuse to be anxious
  • submit myself and my requests to God through
    • prayer
    • supplication, and with
    • thanksgiving

Then and only then will something come to pass. That something is the experience of God’s peace that I cannot explain because it surpasses all human understanding and my ability to explain it.

This peace from God will do something. It will guard my heart and mind. If my mind and heart is being guarded by God’s supernatural peace, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to say things that are not in keeping with God’s will. Wouldn’t you agree?

If I am experiencing God’s peace within, how can I be at odds with myself or someone else? It cannot happen. My mind and heart are kept by God’s peace eliminating the problem of thinking things that are abusive to either myself or others and which end up bringing dishonor to God.

I’ve been there at times when my mind was fully at peace with God and my situation. When that has happened, it amazes me how I’m easily able to ignore things that would otherwise bother me or at least work on my nerves to upset me. But this sense of peace can come and go depending upon us.

Paul specifically referred to our mind and heart and not our tongue because again, what comes off the tongue is something that is already embedded in our heart or mind. By the time we actually say something aloud, it’s too late because the verbalization of something is the result of what has already exists in our mind and heart.

To circumvent this or create an environment that will not allow us to say things that are dishonorable, the only solution is for our minds and heart experience God’s peace. This is the only way I know of to be and remain in the frame of mind that God wants for me and you.

However, let me emphasize that this is often head knowledge and not fully practiced 100% of the time. No one can do this 100% of the time because we continue to possess the dreaded sin nature, which wars against us (Galatians 5:17). Yet, the understanding of this certainly needs to start in our heads, doesn’t it to know what to do and look for in Christ Jesus.

At the same time, we cannot and must not use this inconsistency as an excuse to allow our tongues to say whatever they want. We cannot use the “I’m only human” excuse. We must endeavor to submit ourselves to God, to give Him our problems and to allow Him to work within us to achieve His desired results in our lives. This makes the living of our faith extremely difficult at times, doesn’t it? It’s a bed or roses with plenty of thorns and those thorns are our sinful natures always trying to put Self back on the throne. We will deal with this problem until the day the Lord removes us from this life and finally excises the sin nature from within us. However, it seems that too many Christians don’t even try to deal with it. They just go with it.

As I’ve repeatedly stated, the only way I know how to gain the upper hand over our tongues is to do what Scripture tells us to do. If you don’t know what Scripture says, then you are at a supreme disadvantage already and Satan will be able to sift you easily. I’ve chosen the following sections of Scripture for memorization:

  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Philippians 4:4-8
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • Psalm 9:9
  • Psalm 46:1
  • Proverbs 3:6
  • Isaiah 58:11
  • Nahum 1:7
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Imagine if Jesus had not memorized Scripture in Matthew 4 when He faced the enemy of His and our souls? Would Jesus have been able to withstand Satan’s attacks? Instead, Jesus had hidden Scripture in His heart just like his earthly “father” David had done. He was prepared for the day of battle, which did not simply happen once in Matthew 4. It happened throughout Jesus’ earthly life and He was always prepared.

I hope to memorize many more than those above but they are great places to start. Make a list of verses that speak to your situation, explaining what your attitude should be and what God says He will do for you. Print them out on a sheet of paper or write them on index cards. Keep them with you. Read them and repeat them to yourself often until you can say them without looking. Once you’ve done this, you will then be able to start thinking about the actual message that God is bringing you from His holy Word.

This whole process I’m referring to is the very thing that renews our minds in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:23). Our minds need renewal, desperately and the only way to do that is by deliberately thinking on God’s Word. His Word is our necessity!

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 KJV).

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, devil worship, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , .

Guarding Our Tongues, Part 3 How To Not Fear…

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