by Pastor Tim Burt
Proverbs 12:14 says, “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” Most people who work hard realize that hard work not only feels good but also brings rewards. Very few people understand that going through the hard work of learning to control their tongue and speak the right words with the right heart and attitude is just as important as working hard with your hands or your intellectual development. When your emotions are running high, and you’re upset and about to erupt like a volcano, the discipline and strenuous labor of restraining yourself and instead speaking right and appropriate words promises great reward.
Proverbs 12:16 says, “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Did you catch that? The insult was hurled, but the prudent man overlooked it. One failed, and the other got it right! Which side of that coin do you want to be on? The person who got it right is looking further down the road than the one who showed his annoyance. This person isn’t allowing themself to be controlled by the emotional stimulus of the moment. Love, forgiveness, having mercy and grace, seeing the big picture from a godly perspective, and doing what is right are the core values that empower a person to restrain themselves. It’s what helps keep their mouth in check. This person understands the power of walking in love. It enables them to restrain themself rather than retaliate with insults. And to give respect to the one that doesn’t deserve it. This person has learned to let their words and responses be respectful and represent God. Does this sound unfair? It might, but this person’s character will be magnificently developed over time, and it will carry great reward.
I started out talking about the reward of hard work. It takes hard work to learn how to speak the truth in love. It takes hard work to keep your emotions in check and keep a respectful attitude. It’s not easy, and that’s why so few ever learn the incredible benefits that this carries. Learning to be an agent of godly communication carries a lengthy learning curve because it’s about building character! It’s as big of a challenge as you will ever take on. But, the joy is in knowing that, in time, you will gain strength in restraining your tongue and giving undeserved respect. It will eventually become an instinctive part of your character.
God’s word teaches us that this is what helps us truly mature and become distinctively different from others. James 3:2 (NLT) says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect (mature) and could also control ourselves in every other way.” Over time this will bring you great respect and also facilitate the favor and blessing God promises you in your life from practicing restraint.
If Jesus is your Savior, then you are a child of God. The Holy Spirit abides in you. Ask Him not just daily but moment by moment to help you. He will! And as you lean on Him, you will experience the strength and grace of God (His divine help) to accomplish this noble task. And know that just about the time you take this on, the devil will bring an opportunity for a blowout to get you to quit before you’ve barely begun.
Learning to restrain your tongue and communication is one of the greatest works in building maturity that you’ll ever take on. But as you do, your character will develop. Your relationships will improve. You’ll crash and burn less often. (Your spouse may think you’ve been taken over by an alien.) You’ll have more favor in all areas of your life. You’ll experience greater harmony, promotion, and blessing—beyond what you could have ever imagined.
And let’s not forget the most important blessing of this all. You will glorify God more and more and increase your influence with others through your pattern of good behavior and godly speech! As Titus 2:7-8 NIV says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your instruction, show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say of you.”
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In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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