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This is Meditation Moments and I do pray that He shall use something from this little program to help you solve some of your problems. I know that nothing can help as much as something from God’s Word.
Our lesson is from the sixth chapter of Proverbs. The most interesting thing to note that in this passage, of the six things that it says that God hates, three of them are about the tongue! (Proverbs 6:16–19) I should think it would be intensely interesting to know what the Bible says about the things that the Lord hates. But the thing that interested me was this fact that half of these things mentioned had to do with our tongue.
So much is said in God’s Word about the tongue that we can’t avoid mentioning it. We might read a few scriptures. God’s Word says, “Whoso keepeth his tongue keepeth his soul from trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23) “Keep thy tongue from speaking guile”—that is, from making a statement that conveys a meaning different from the real truth. (Psalm 34:13) I want to say that again, because someone asked about guile. “Keep thy tongue from speaking guile.” That’s making a statement that conveys a meaning different from the real truth. Many who shun from telling a lie won’t hesitate to give an inaccurate statement.
So one of the six things the Bible says that God hates is a lying tongue. Now the 19th verse mentions two more things that God hates: “a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Keep your tongue from slandering, talking about others to the hurt of their reputation.
You know, sometimes harmless gossip runs dangerously near slander. I remember reading a long time ago about a girl named Jesse Pepper, 18 years of age. She was convicted of manslaughter because in her gossip about a girl by the name of Mary Ellen, Mary Ellen was discouraged and took her life. It was called gossip slaying, because Mary Ellen took her life as a result of the gossip.
As a rule the law can do very little about such things, but God can do much about the breaking of His law regarding the tongue. I read an interesting article that was called “Watch Your Conversation, Children Are Listening.” The question was asked: What is the most neglected problem in family life today? And the answer was, the way parents talk in front of their children in critical spirits, says Dr. James H. Bossard. He was the Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania when he wrote this article. He said that after 40 years of probing in what he called “neglected areas of family life,” with special emphasis on problems of children, he made a discovery out of his experiment.
He used tape recorders, and Dr. Bossard acquired extensive samples of dinner conversations of Philadelphia families. He said, “I had no idea I would discover a real pattern in the conversation of families. I just wanted to learn what families talked about, but to my amazement I have found that family after family had definite consistent conversational habits, and the critical pattern was the most prevalent.
“These families rarely had a good word to say about anyone! They carped continuously about friends, relatives, neighbors—almost every aspect of their lives, from the lines of people in the supermarket to the stupidity of their boss. This constant negative family atmosphere had a disastrous effect on the children, because a high percentage of the children were antisocial and unpopular. And this pattern of the family’s hostility, many times it turned to quarreling amongst themselves. Without fail their meals were a round of insults and bickering, and the children absorbed that pattern and it caused the children trouble.
“It often doesn’t show up until after they are grown or even after they are married. Long ago,” Dr. Bossard says, “a great Teacher pointed out that what comes out of the mouth is a great deal more important than that which goes in to it.” I think that’s found in Matthew 15:11. So let’s watch our conversation. Watch your conversation; children are listening. If you want them to be something worthwhile, you want them to be real Christians, it will work wonders if you watch your conversation.
Now to go back to this other scripture: I want to say first of all that if your soul is little and superficial, egotistical and mean, all those qualities are going to permeate your words as they flow from your lips. All the sham and sanctimoniousness in the world won’t cover it up.
If the Holy Spirit has possession of the soul, the words spoken are clear and simple and filled with divine light, just as Christ is light. There’ll be no deceit, sham, or double meaning. Words flowing from a soul baptized with His Spirit of love will have a magnetic drawing quality, and a rare warmth that will draw others to them. When the heart’s burning with divine love, you don’t need to try to put pathos or tenderness in your conversation or your prayers. All your words will have a savor of life and power in them that comes from an inner depth of a Spirit that’s already occupying that soul, a Spirit-filled life.
Do you want to be able to speak words of helpfulness to needy ones at just the right moment and just the right way and with lasting effect, but without set premeditation? Do you want to speak words that will be burned in the memory and bear everlasting fruitfulness? Then just let the Spirit of the living Christ speak through you.
When one is baptized with the Spirit of Christ, when it really is Christ in you, as Paul said: “It’s no longer I that live but Christ that liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20) This spirit of love then is in the heart. This can only be done if He’s really abiding in full possession of all your life, in control of all your faculties. God’s Word says He has been with you but He shall be in you, speaking of the Holy Spirit here. (John 14:17) Also the outstanding verse: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Oh, such words, such power flows through one from the indwelling Christ. This is what we call the surrendered life, placed in His hands and living in His presence, abiding in Him and His Words abiding in you. (John 15:7)
I wonder, do you faithfully read His Word? His Words can’t abide in you unless you know them, can they? Do you take time for prayer, waiting in His presence? Well, how can you abide in Him if you don’t take time for prayer and wait in His presence? If not, then just when you want them the most, the use of words of power and fitness will not come forth. If you don’t do this, they will often come forth just as insipid things, lukewarm and powerless, because they don’t come from an indwelling Christ. They don’t come from a burning heart. They don’t come from a surrendered will, a life baptized with His love.
You know, the Lord Jesus Christ longs to fill you with His Spirit until, as He Himself has said, and He said it that day in the temple as it is told about in John 7:38. I read it from the Amplified New Testament: “He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his innermost being, streams and rivers of living water shall flow continuously.” Isn’t that wonderful?
It’s Christ abiding within. One baptized with the Holy Spirit is bound to speak with love because God is love. (1 John 4:8) His precious Holy Spirit is love. Now all of this that we’ve said would be just so many words if we didn’t impress upon you the fact that the trouble isn’t fundamentally with the tongue, though we talked and read about the tongue in our first scriptures.
Of course it’s in the heart! You can’t put it on. The tone of the voice can’t have love in it or sweetness if there’s no sweetness or love in the heart. There’s an emptiness, and people can discern it.
Words are the only conveyance in which the quality of the heart and mind ride forth to other souls. Jesus teaches that our words reveal our heart character. Whatever the quality of the heart, it will possess and accompany the words exactly. We don’t understand it, but there’s an invincible stream of soul quality that flows through our words. There is no way under the sun to change that quality except we change the spirit from which the words flow. There has to be a change of heart. How many times has some man been mean and cruel and unkind to his wife, then Jesus has come into his heart and cleaned up his life and there comes a sweetness. What a change!
I say if there’s anyone like that listening, if you’ll cry unto the Lord as expressed in the 51st Psalm, say, “O Lord create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me,” He’ll hear and He’ll answer. Then if you persevere in prayer, and as you grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, you come into an abiding relationship with your Lord, who is the fountain of all goodness and kindness and gentleness, you’ll soon find your words to be conductors of His Spirit, which is love, meekness, longsuffering, patience. This means a yielding of yourself to His will, that He can live out His life through you. Are you willing to do that now? Let’s pray just a wee little prayer about it.
Our Father God, we pray Thy blessing upon each hungry heart, each seeking soul, especially these, Lord, who are having a battle regarding their tongue or the losing of their temper, the quick, thoughtless, cutting word, the critical thing that springs so quickly, Lord, to the lips. Forgive us, Lord. Cleanse us. Fill us with Thy love, Lord, Thy own Spirit. We pray that we shall seek Thee until we find Thee in all Thy sanctified fullness of love, in Jesus’ name, amen.