'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
“Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrong doing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence - and is set on fire by hell” - James 3:9-13 (NET),
Empires have risen and fallen by a few words!
A life can be destroyed or damaged irreparably just by a few words. Words wound and afflict, or sooth and heal. Relationships can be crushed and turned to sorrow and regret in an unguarded moment, by just a wrong word. Words can lead to other actions, and determine attitudes and dispositions that can either harden or soften a heart. Although words can be retracted, repented of, and amends made, the damage can be irreparable. They can be forgiven. But God has ordained that they cannot be totally forgotten. They must be lived with in memory as long as we live. There is no way to un-ring the bell that has been sounded...
Words can be so many things. They can lift and tear down, encourage and discourage, and sway outcomes that affect the parties involved for a lifetime. Words can be spiritual sacrifices (Psalm 107:22). Words can be silver (Ecclesiastes 10:14; Proverbs 10:19; 17:27-28; 12), but silence can be golden (Job 13:5). Less can be more when it come to words (1 Samuel 3:1; Ecclesiastes 3:1). Jesus told the Jews who had just accused Him of casting out demons by the power of the devil that their every idle word would be called into an accounting, and that their words would justifiy or condemned them (Matthew 12:36-37).
There is an irony related to our words. Without the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the older humans get, the more they become "more of who they already are". Because of age, many of the pretenses begin to drop off. Fallen human nature begins to manifest itself in the raw, much like they first began. Perhaps this is the basis of the often heard accusation of “childishness” in reference to those advanced in age. Words become more real and fewer in number. The circle of fallen humanness is completed. Only Jesus can break the cycle.
We also, will be judged ultimately according to our words as well as our deeds (words are deeds, too) in determining our rewards. Multiplying words eventually involves sin, especially when our yes should be our yes, and no, no. Words have an effect in and of themselves, but the affect can be determined not only by the words themselves, but by how they are said (Proverbs 15:1). Tone, voice inflections, volume, and the construct and environment in which they are said, as well as the state of mind of the hearer. Coupled with demeanor and “body language”, all lend to the almost incalculable potential and power for good or evil, of words!
Music and singing, along with winsome words, can minister grace to all who hear. However, in every day life, in worship and fellowship, and even in prayer (Ecclesiastes 5:2; Proverbs 10:19), embellishment and exaggeration with more words for emphasis is all too tempting. Even when God created the earth and created light, He only spoke four words (Genesis 1:3). Consider also the absolute silence of the universe. But the power of God sustains it all. An apt demonstration of the principle that there is great power in the absence of words. The sequence is initiated by words, but the subsequent power is manifested in silence. Amazing power in quietness and stillness - with just a few words.
The three friends of Job offered little except a barrage of words for his wounds. They could have exhibited a greater wisdom by just remaining silent, or at the least offering appropriate words of encouragement. It is unfortunate that they did not have the benefit of the Book of Proverbs (16:24). The sound of silence is often the greatest wisdom of all (Proverbs 17:27-28). God often uses silence in dealing with all of us. We want to hear from God, yet we must understand that in His silence, He is speaking volumes to us - just as He did with Job. Job wanted an explanation. He wanted to state his case. But God's silence resulted in a greater wisdom for Job (42:1-3) - and so it can for us. We want a word from God because of the immediacy of our perceived need. But His silence always proves to be the greater wisdom, and will finally instill wisdom in us that cannot be done any other way.
In our world of almost constant chatter, it is easy to succumb to multiplying words. It is amazing how many have learned not only to use many words, but also how fast they can say them, which allows all the more words to be said in the same length of time. A long way from Jesus‘ command to let our “yes“ be yes, and our “no” be no. Part of our sound bite, video clip society of spin and hype. A multitude of many words can cause confusion that is often intended to cloud the real issue, and bring the hearer to a false conclusion (Proverbs 12:6).No wonder the expression “a man of few words” is seldom heard anymore.
As we have seen, words are extremely serious and important. This is not only true for those speaking, but also for anyone who writes words - a fact that always cautions and sometimes frightens those of us who so use them. The God ordained responsibility for words can hardly be over emphasized.
If we can control our words, we can control everything else. "For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well" - (James 3:2). This is what Jesus commanded us to become (Matthew 5:48}.
I pray that by God's grace, we all will use the right words today and every day - until we become perfect in every way...
"Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it." - Ephesians 4:29 (AB)
*NOTICE* - The "Christ In You..." column will discontinue with this issue through the summer. God willing it will resume in late summer or early fall 2009. For previous articles, you may enter the Archives at the following web address:
Until we meet again...Dale Krebbs
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