Categories
Life

Words

Daily I am reminded of how careless I am with words. Thankfully, Christ died for the sins of my tongue just as much as any other sin.

Here is a “Bible verse poem” compiled from Proverbs 10:19, Ephesians 4:29, Luke, 6:45, and Matthew 12:36-37. Lord, remind us of the power of our words

Words

When words are many,
transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,
for out of the abundance of the heart
his mouth speaks.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account
for every careless word they speak,
for by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned.

Categories
Life Theology

Your Words Have the Power of Life and Death

Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. (Romans 3:10)

Think about the way you talked today. How did you use your words? Were they used to build up or tear down? To give life or kill?

Paul writes that sinners (namely, everyone) use the tongue to hurt people. The tongue itself is not a moral object. It may be used for truth-speaking, encouraging, and gospel preaching. But it also may be used to deceive, slander, and discourage.  Paul describes people’s lips as having “the venom of asps.”  An asp is a venomous snake that lived in the Nile region during Paul’s day.  In modern day, it is native to southwestern Europe.  In antiquity, when a criminal was not thought to deserve a respectable execution, he would be injected with the asp’s venom, which is particularly potent.

Think about that for a second: our words can be used like snake venom in an execution.

Gossip. Slander. Biting sarcasm. Wrath. Clamor.

Friends. Neighbors. Parents. Siblings. Spouses. Co-workers. Strangers.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” obviously never had an interpersonal relationship with anyone.  Words do hurt and, according to Paul, they can kill.  The venom of an asp will eventually kill someone physically and put them out of their misery.  Words, on the other hand, are remembered in the heart and mind, and are carried emotionally and spiritually until death.  Words can kill slowly and softly.  Over and over and over again.

Paul Tripp has said, “You have never spoken a neutral word in your life.”  We must ask ourselves: Do our words bring life or bring death?  Do our words bring the infusion of gospel comfort, peace, encouragement, love, unity, and truth, or do they bring the hellish venom of hurt, discord, discouragement, bitterness, division, and falsehood?


Categories
Life

Some Striking Things in Scripture

This year I’m using a Bible reading plan to help me read it in a year, so I’m getting a lot of different doses of Scripture each day. Here are some things that have been particularly worthwhile for me this week:

  • God gave Adam stewardship over the earth. But he was not a faithful steward.  Jesus was made a steward over all creation, and was (and is) completely faithful in his dominion over it. Everything is under his reign and he has accomplished his Father’s will perfectly (Heb. 2:5-9; cf. Gen. 1-3).
  • Proverbs has a whole lot to say about making wise decisions with your tongue. Our words should bring life, not death, to everyone who hears. What a challenge.
  • The opening chapters of Isaiah are filled with so much bad news. Yet there is so much good news as well.  So much so that it is even more unavoidable (see 2:1-5; 4:2-6; 6:1-13; 7:10-15; 9:1-7).
  • It is impossible to read the words of Jesus in Luke and not be challenged to a radical lifestyle. The more I read, the greater sense I gain of my radical-less-ness.

And finally…

  • Jesus is coming back someday to make everything right. So there has got to be more than morning commutes and 8-5’s and attending church and football on Saturdays and long vacations.  I want to be ready.
Categories
Life

Do your words give life or bring death?

Paul David Tripp has said, “You have never spoken a neutral word in your life. Your words have the power of life and death in them.” This morning, Proverbs 12:18, made that come to life for me:

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Lord, help me to speak words that are sweet to the ears of those around me. Let me speak life to people, and not death.

Categories
Life

How Should Christians Respond to Obama’s Education Speech?

Obama’s speech on education, which he will give today, has caused quite a stir among Christians, most notably on the Desiring God blog.  There, John Piper expressed his excitment over what the President said.  Basically, Obama challenges students to work hard, be responsible, and have a positive attitude with school.  He said that students need to turn off the TV and get off the Xbox.  I couldn’t agree more.

Some Christians try to find a devil behind everything Obama says.  Some Christians will not give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom. 13:7).  I think that’s wrong.  I don’t agree with most of Obama’s policies, but I can commend a man when he speaks truth.

With that in mind, I think if you are one of the Christians who believes you cannot applaud something that Obama says because of his other policies/ideas (which very well may be moral failures), then you are ignoring an important theme in Scripture:

  • Remember that King Cyrus was a pagan ruler of a pagan nation, yet he was the Lord’s “anointed,” who was used to redeem his people. God said, “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me…I equip you, though you do not know me” (Isa. 45:1-13). It is clear that God can do good through people who don’t know him personally.
  • Remember that God has common grace on all of creation: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). This includes Obama and all the unsaved teachers who teach our children.
  • Remember that God loves justice wherever he finds it because God is just: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight” (Pr. 11:1). And “A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work” (Pr. 16:11). This applies even to Obama and education in the United States.
  • Remember that Obama is a “servant for your good” if you are a believer (Rom. 13:4), whether you agree with him or not. Are some of his policies bad? Yes. Was there anything wrong with what he said in this speech? If there was, it was minimal.  Would you fault your non-Christian employer who demands his employees to work harder instead of showing up late, leaving early, and taking an extra long lunch because he didn’t mention Jesus? I doubt it.
  • Remember, finally, that Paul quoted pagan religions in evangelism and teaching (Acts 17:22-34; Titus 1:12). There are commonalities that we can share with non-believers in order to point them to Jesus. Obama can’t point people to Jesus if he’s not a believer, so we can’t expect him to do that. The job falls on us Christians to find common ground in order to tell him (and others), “Look there! That’s Jesus. He made hard work. He created math and science and English and history. And he gives us strength to learn and write papers and do science projects!  To know this Jesus, that is what our children need the most.”

So we pray for Obama and beg God to let light shine in his heart. But we also give honor to whom honor is due. We don’t encourage our children to be like Obama or a teacher or anyone else (not even John Piper!!!). We point them to the cross, teaching them to be conformed to and led by Jesus. As we do that, we tell them to rejoice in truth wherever it is found because all objective truth is God’s truth. Education is good. Hard work is good. Addiction to TV and Xbox or anything else is bad. We praise God for these truths. He is the author of them.

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