We are continuing our discussion of Humility: True Greatness and discussing the power of our words. The Bible makes an interesting connection between the words that come out of her mouths and the condition of our hearts:
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45 [NIV]).
In short, a good heart produces good words. A bad heart produces bad words. The evidence of a changed heart is, at least partially, observed by the change in our speech. I know some people will glance over this introduction and think to themselves, “This is basic. I know that already. I don’t need to read this.” Yet, I find that we constantly need discipline in the small areas of our lives. It’s the small things done poorly over long periods of time that causes major explosions.
Just as bad words can negatively impact in our lives, good words can bring God’s peace and grace into any situation:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph. 4:29).
You may not use your words to put a curse on someone or take the liberty of using profanity. But what about criticizing someone else, gossiping, or backbiting? Do you respond to the worst that you see in others, or draw out the best in them? Do you take advantage of the opportunity to lift up others with your words—may it be a spouse, child, co-worker, family member, neighbor, friend, or others who serve us on a regular basis (ie. the cashier at the grocery store, the person who delivers the mail, or the waiter at the restaurant).
The writer of Hebrews tells us to encourage each other on our faith journey so we do not turn away from God:
“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Heb. 3:13).”
We can make the choice today and every day to edify others with our words. “Truly edifying words are words that reveal the character and the promises and the activity of God. They’re cross-centered words. They’re words rooted in and derived from Scripture, words that identify the active presence of God, and words that communicate the evidences of grace that you observe in others. They’re words that flow from a humble heart (Mahaney, 114).”
It takes discipline and practice to tame our words and choose them wisely. When we have a habit of choosing poor words, we must intentionally commit to adding edifying words to our vocabulary. A simple reminder to say, “Please or Thank you” removes our sense of entitlement, shows our gratitude, and reminds others that we are thinking of them. By carefully choosing our words, we humbly commit to considering the needs of others above our own needs (Phil. 2:3-4).
Consider: How can you benefit those you encounter on a daily basis? Is there anyone in your life that can use an edifying word today? What words can you carefully choose to bless those around you?
Introduction: What is Humility?
Chapter 1: The Perils of Pride
Chapter 2: The Dangers of Pride
Chapter 3: Who Wants to be Great?
Chapter 4: Can We Learn Humility?
Chapter 5: Make a List
Chapter 6: How Well Do You Sleep?
Chapters 7 & 8: Live Humbly
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013