More of Carol’s teaching notes…see previous posts for an explanation of these postings. Hope you are as blessed as I am reading them…
Am I worth listening to? Am I following Proverbs 14:1 – and paying attention to Proverbs 18:21. Let me share both of these scriptures with you.
Proverbs 14:1 says “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one pulls it down with her hands.”
Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Oh that we realize the power of our words – both for good and for bad. If our tongues can be controlled, our mouths will be fountains of life, and we will be worth listening to!”
Many of the thoughts I am sharing today come from Carole Mayhall’s book “Words that Hurt, Words that Heal.” In Carole’s book she asks herself is she a babbling brook or a fountain? Good question for all of us woman to ask ourselves. We are so verbal – I think we have twice as much opportunity as men to get ourselves into trouble with our tongue!
Proverbs 10:19 in the New American Standard says “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable. But he who restrains his lips is wise.” I do not think we really understand how our words affect others. We are so eager to get our thoughts out about a situation or a person. Maybe we are feeling very strongly about a topic or person. In our passions we may be over bearing in our words. Our emotions can compel us to be too quick to speak to another. May I suggest for myself first and foremost, and then for others that we be quick to speak to God first and not another person. That we be quick to pour out our feelings and passions and thoughts to Him first, then, we can stop and ask ourselves if it is right to share these words with another.
Carole Mayhall again says “How tremendous it would be if we processed everything we said through the list of characteristics in James 3:17.”
This verse reads “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” Are our words pure, gentle, peaceable, full of mercy and good fruit, unwavering, without hypocrisy? What a shining, joyful place this world would be if our words measured up to these attributes! H.A. Ironside elaborates on this verse of wisdom. Let’s consider this wisdom as we seek to bring our tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit. It is first “pure” -there is no uncleanness in it; then peaceable – never stirring up to unholy strife; gentle or courteous – never biting nor sarcastic; easy to be entreated – nor harsh and implacable; full of mercy – every ready to show pity and compassion and to extend forgiveness to the repentant offender, full, too, of good works, for a tongue controlled by divine grace can be a mighty instrument for good; without partiality, or rather, not given to wrangling or quarreling over places of preferment, or envious because others have received recognition denied to us.
Above all, or in addition to all, heavenly wisdom that guides our words is “without” hypocrisy, or dissimulation -absolutely honest, and speaking words that can be depended upon as truthful and sensible.” “He who possesses this wisdom is enabled to control his tongue so that he sows not the thistle seed of dissension but good seed that produces righteousness. When the tongue is surrendered to Christ and dominated by the Spirit it becomes one of our most useful members; when it falls under the control of the enemy it works untold grief and damage.
Let’s make our prayer throughout our day that of Psalm 19:14 – “Let the WORDS of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, O Lord…” I want to make my conversation worth listening to! So, okay how do we do that? What does that look like? Well, Carole Mayhall says that God spells out for us that which will make us worth listening to. Talk with each other much about the Lord. How? Quoting Psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19. Can you remember ever saying, or having someone say to you, “let’s quote a Psalm together”. Or, let me share a hymn I’ve just memorized? If we dwell deep with God, the overflow is going to consistently seep into our conversations. How can we be people worth listening to?
By letting our lives be filled with God himself. It is easy to say this, but difficult to do this. Of course, it is impossible without God. He cannot be the God OUT THERE for you. He wants and needs to be the God IN you, a Person who claims a vital, deep consuming place in your life. So, the HOW of being people worth listening to is by letting our lives be filled with God Himself. The WHY of being people worth listening to is because we are His and He wants us to radiate Him. The WHEN – continually! The WHAT – What should we talk about? Besides speaking of the Lord Himself, the list from scripture includes the following Praise. “And I will tell everyone how great and good you are; I will praise you all day long.” (Psalm 35:28)
If we could put all our words for one week in a computer and have them analyzed to give us the average daily percentage of praise, what would that be? I have a feeling that rather than all day long, it would be more like two minutes. Greeting the day with praise to the Lord will help our thoughts and speech be full of His praise during the day. But, often as we talk on the telephone or chat with friends over coffee, our conversations are on what life has thrown at us instead of the things God is doing in our lives.
What else can we speak of? The Word of God. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says “…these commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” I personally would like to have much more of the Lord’s word memorized that it would fall off my tongue much more readily.
What else can make us worth listening to? Speaking with encouragement and comfort to those around us. (1st Thessalonians 2:11-12) “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
Some of us need more help than others in developing the ability to be true encouragers. But we have a very creative God that we can ask for ideas and help and enabling in this area. Are you praying about developing the habit of encouragement? Are you asking for creative ideas in how to do this? It may mean a separate prayer list, or writing it down on a “to do” list. But, if your desire is to encourage, God will give you the ideas and the ability to grow to be a comforter and an encourager.
So, praise, the word of God, the Lord Himself, words of encouragement and comfort are all things we can practice to be wise women of God worth listening to.