Staying Faithful through Your Words
In this section of Paul’s letter to Timothy, he told his friend to warn the Ephesian believers against quarreling about words. He said that such quarreling is of no value and only ruins those who listen. Then, he warned Timothy to avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Words matter. And, so often, we take on the world’s words in our communications, especially on social media. We have knee jerk reactions and post things that are more worldly and self-centered than godly and Christ-centered. Our words can draw the listener or the reader closer to Christ or push her further away from Christ. In our words, we are to stay faithful and useful to God.
Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.
“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.” (Ephesians 4:29
- The underlying Greek word for “unwholesome talk” literally means, “rotten.” Rotten talk is anything that isn’t beneficial for the building up of the one who is listening (or reading). Foul and abusive. Unkind, accusing, malicious, making others cringe or cry.
Toxic talk about people
- Toxic talk is laced with harsh criticism. It plants seeds of doubt about others so that distrust and hurt feelings prevail based on gossip and slander.
- Even Christians can spew such rotten talk from their mouths.
- We as believers are to stay useful to God in how we use our words. At work or any group situation, do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth in the way of toxic talk about the other people.
Grumbling and arguing
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” (Philippians 2:4)
- Grumbling springs from a bad attitude expressed in muttering, whining, & griping. Arguing or quarreling springs from an arrogant attitude that starts out as grumbling then leads to outright disputes.
- Women have a tendency to mutter, grumble, whine, and gripe. And our relationships often feel the brunt of our “ungrateful” and “discontented” attitudes. Whining about life is not very effective for changing anything. Stop whining and start befriending.
- There is a difference between complaining and seeing a problem and working toward a solution. When it is possible to change the outcome of a situation, we should take action.
Speak helpful and beneficial words
- Helpful words build others up. They strengthen them in their faith and promote their spiritual growth. Building others up according to their needs means you are paying attention to their lives and their needs.
- Our words should give grace to those who hear. Our God has lavished His grace upon us and calls us to be grace givers to others. Yet, we more quickly judge and criticize others than assume good will from them. And, if wounded, we want to fight back, spewing venom to make sure everyone knows we’ve been hurt.
- God calls us to be grace givers, not only for the benefit of others, but because it’s what is best for us! Through Christ living in us, we can take the grace God has lavished upon us and pour it back on someone else that it may “benefit those who listen.”
Words are a heart issue.
- Words are a heart issue. Jesus said in Mark 7:21 that evil thoughts, malicious words, slander, and arrogance spew from the heart. The Message translation says those things “vomit” from the heart. What a vivid picture! By spewing such filth in her words, a Christian is revealing a heart that is not committed to obeying her Lord in this area. It’s not the mouth that malfunctions. It’s the heart!
- Christians over the years have learned that certain practices such as daily devotionals, dedicated prayer, and giving help to keep the heart turned toward God. These are often called “spiritual disciplines.” Such disciplines may heighten your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s work in conforming your inner and outer self to look more like Jesus. What makes something a 'spiritual discipline' is that it takes a specific part of your way of life and turns it toward God. The practice of using beneficial, grace-giving speaking, texting, emailing, and writing should be considered a spiritual discipline.
- If you find yourself in a situation with another Christian where you are splattered with vicious and rotten words, I suggest you quote Ephesians 4:29 and respond, “Want to try that again?” Do the same if you hear rotten words come out of your mouth. Apologize and try it again.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His faithfulness. Then, make the choice to stay faithful to Him for the rest of your life.
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