5/7/13 - PTC_Proverbs 10 - "The Nourishment of our Words"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
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Proverbs 10:19-21, ESV
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
Who? When I read this text I am the person I think of most! I am a man of many words. This is extremely convicting because I believe this to be true. I know that within my many words, sin is bound to leak out of my mouth. God I stink at restraining my lips. Words are vitally important. We cannot take our speech lightly. One of the ways we can be proactive in reducing sin in our lives is to simply reduce the words we speak.
What? Words and heart. The focus in the passage is our speech/words; however, in verse 20b we get an inside track to what is really going on here. The comparison in verse 20 is between the righteous and the wicked. "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth." Why the switch between words (the tongue) and the heart? I believe God wants us to be ever aware that speech is an outflow of our hearts. Jesus confirms this in Luke 6:45, "...for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." The heart or the core of who we are will eventually be revealed in our words. When words are many - as in my case - the law of averages eventually means my words will reveal the sin in my heart.
I think we have to normalize and admit that the fundamental interface of human communication is speech/words. It is our words that drive nearly all relationships. In fact, it is worthy to note here that in order to establish and maintain relationship with people God gave us His Word, both in the text of Holy Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ - John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." God established relationships to operate by words and speech.
Why? Healthy/holy relationships is reason enough to be mindful of our speech. When we are careless in our speech, we introduce sin in to the relationship causing some level of damage. I have not met with a single couple in marriage crisis that did not have poor and/or destructive speech in addition to whatever problems they describe to me. Relationship dysfunction will eventually show up in our speech. God help us!
v20) also shows us that when submitted to God our speech can be righteous. When we have righteous speech it's received like choice silver. It's considered very high value. We all know this to be true. we all know the people that have "righteous speech" and we are drawn to them. It's incredibly discouraging when the people who are supposed to love us most are the worst in the world of words.
To the married folks - be sure your words toward your spouse are the best words you give.
To parents - be sure that your kids see your words as choice silver. Because either way, for better or worse, they will build a life on the words you give them.
"the heart of the wicked is of little worth." the heart, revealed through the speech, of the wicked is of little value. It gets people NOWHERE. It only causes problems.
v21) the lips of the righteous feed many - this is what we all want the legacy of our speech to be. God help us feed and fuel others with our words. God help us see our words as nourishment for others.
How? How can we leverage our speech for the nourishment of others.
- Encouragement - nearly everyone you see needs encouragement today.
- Prayer - simply praying for someone is nourishing their soul. It says, "you are important to me and for me to ask my Heavenly Father to act on your behalf."
- Accountability - for your Christian brothers and sisters we can nourish them by helping them stay true to their commitments.
- Believing the best - Often in relationships we have the choice to believe the best or believe the worst. When we believe the best we nourish the relationship by saying, "i'm going to assume you are doing good until I know more." Believing the best means resisting the initial urge to blame or accuse.
- Compliment - a genuine compliment raises the spirits.
- Praise - ALL praise belongs to God, but we can praise God's activity in and through someone. It nourishes them to be reminded God is working in their lives.
- A vote of confidence - Sometimes when most don't think much of someone you can be a vote of confidence. I think we as Christ followers should be the first ones to believe in someone before they've fully proven themselves. We should take risks on people.
- Spirit-led wisdom/advice - When we give advice/wisdom we can truly minister to someone who is in great need for help.
- Protective warnings - Sometimes we've "been there, done that" and by offering a protective warning we keep someone from great heartache.
- Forgiveness - this needs little explanation but NOTHING nourishes our souls like forgiveness spoken.
- Love - those 3 little words nourish people. In marriage and family use them often.
- Thank you - perhaps a close second only to love, thank you says i love you and more. it says i notice and appreciate who you are and what you do in this life.
- Acceptance - EVERYONE wants to be accepted and EVERYONE fears not being accepted. This applies especially to the underdogs of this world.
- Support - sometimes we simply need to voice our support of someone. to let them know we "got their back." We feel nourished when we have friends who declare that they refuse to leave us to our selves.
- Identity/worth - Everyone needs to be reminded of their identity and worth as God defines it. Speak it and repeat it.
- Hope/future - God nourishes us constantly through the New testament writers by reminding us of our hope and future even in the midst of terrible suffering and persecution. We can bring this kind of nourishment to our family and friends. We need to talk about the hope we have of eternal life. We need to mention the Heaven we long for. We need to be careful not to think this world is all there is.
I need to be more mindful of my speech. As a wordy guy, I need to be proactive to limit some of my speech as a way to reduce sin in my life. Likewise, I need to spend most of my words, spoken and written on the list above. That list could just about consume all my words every day!
God, forgive me of my careless speech. Help me go above and beyond to encourage and nourish others with my words. I even pray for this blog post that those who read would be nourished by it. I pray that "nourishment" will become the new standard for all i produce in spoken and written form. I pray my kids will be nourished by me. God give me perspective especially when i'm tired, not to allow my speech to become hurtful or void of nourishment. This is my constant task. Also, with Amanda, help me be the #1 source of verbal nourishment to her next to Your word. Help me build up and never tear down. Help me be careful in my humor not to cross the line of being hurtful or disrespectful of her, but always conscience of nourishing her with my words.
For the readers of this blog:
Please be proactive to share this post. Our world need more training regarding their words. Let's practice this! Tweet parts of this post, share the entire post with friends and most of all, make a decision today to be someone who nourishes with your words.
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