Over the past two weeks, the Lord has been dealing with me about my mouth and character. He illuminated Ephesians 4:29 to me and kept reiterating it throughout the week. Ok. So obviously, there is something going on with me. When the Holy Spirit shows us something, it’s important to realize that we are first partakers; we aren’t to go and force it down someone else’s throat. We should constantly examine ourselves according to the Word of God. The Bible is our spiritual compass. It lets us know when we’ve fallen off course and guides us back to where we need to be. The Word of God is THE discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. (Hebrews 4:12) So when He speaks, listen.
I listened. And I began to take a third-party, back-seat view of my interactions with other people and the things that came out of my mouth. Yikes! I guess there is area for improvement.
I don’t mind speaking out against things contrary to the Word of God on my blog or Facebook. But I will not lie. When it comes to face to face interactions, it is harder for me. I’m allowing the Lord to teach me how to balance loving people while remaining in His truth. This is hard for me because, naturally, I am a people person. It is easy to make friends. (I don’t mean that in a boastful way.) But I know it’s the Lord. He’s put something there that naturally draws people (really drawing them to Him) and I need to reflect Him in my everyday walk and talk. And because of this, the enemy distorts this with a little spirit called fear of man. (I’ll touch on that later.)
So, I’ve been reading over Ephesians 4:29. Corrupt. Sheesh. That’s such a harsh word. How have my words been corrupt? When we look at the word in the context of the scripture, we can see how easy it is to speak corrupt words. Corrupt, in the Greek means “rotten, that is worthless; bad, corrupt”. Have any rotten or worthless words come out of your mouth lately? When I read “worthless”, I was led to read Matthew 12:35-37. It’s lengthy, but definitely important:
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. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
In chapter 4 of Ephesians, Paul is writing to the believers about their spiritual walk. He talks about walking in unity, spiritual gifts, the new man, and grieving the Holy Spirit. Once we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the old man (the things that we used to do and say) died. We are instructed to “put on the new man”. This means that it doesn’t happen magically. It is something that we must purpose to do; it’s a part of our sanctification and transformation process. We have been fully equipped to live this new life. We truly are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
My words should reflect who I am and Whose I am. Colossians 3 speaks of our new lives in Christ along with the character of the new man. We are instructed to rid ourselves of all these things: anger, wrath (rage), malice, blasphemy (slander), and filthy language out of our mouths. (Colossians 3:8)
I think about my interactions with some of my coworkers and I know that there are jokes that were made that I shouldn’t have taken part in or conversations that were had that I should have kept quiet in. I understand the work that the Lord has required of me. And I cannot be effective if I’m wishy-washy about Whose I am. This is important because Ephesians 4:29 goes on to say that our speech should build one another up. The amplified version of Ephesians 4:29 states that we should use, “only speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”
What is also important to note is that the verse goes on to say that we should seek to please the Holy Spirit, not grieve Him. This is where the fear of man comes in. I should be more concerned with pleasing the Holy Spirit than pleasing those around me. When we fall into the trap of being afraid to pray for someone, witness to someone, stand on the truth, or simply refuse to take part in a conversation, we’re putting that fear before the Lord. We grieve the Holy Spirit by disobeying the Word of God. If we constantly strive to please the Lord, we will definitely avoid falling into that trap. (Proverbs 29:25)
We really have no clue who is listening to us on the other side of the cubicle, outside at the food truck, or even on social media. We have to be mindful of the things we say and the conversations we take part in. We also have to be careful to not let our emotions rule, i.e., giving in to the desire to go off on Facebook (guilty!) or pop off at the mouth (guilty!).
This is why it is so important that we constantly renew our minds via the Word of God. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:11? “It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that defiles and dishonors him, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles and dishonors him.” (AMP) What comes out of our mouths is indicative of what is in our hearts. And what is in our hearts has a direct impact on our character. We must constantly examine ourselves against the Word of God, letting it saturate our very beings, transforming (and killing) those old things that try to remain. (Romans 12:2)
Looking back at Colossians 3:18, I can definitely say that anger is an area that I allowed to rule. I would say things out of anger, not realizing the negative impact it had on others. How can I begin to be the wife in 1 Peter 3:4, where we are instructed to let our adornment be the, “hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” if I’m constantly popping off at the mouth? Ladies, the Bible says that we justify our husbands. Did you know that if you have a husband who doesn’t obey or believe the Word of God, you can win them over by your conduct? It says it in 1 Peter 3:1-2. Proverbs 21:19 even says that its better to “dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.” Think on that!!
How can we allow the Lord to love our husbands, through us, if we let anger run the show? How can we minister to that friend/coworker/family member if we are dibbling and dabbling in the very thing that they need deliverance from?
So hopefully, this will prompt you to examine yourself. Ask the Lord to show you if there is any area in which you may have fallen short concerning your mouth and character. When He shows you, simply repent, turn away, and purpose in your heart to do better.