(This was the devo I gave this past weekend in the dorm... Something the Lord is working on me a lot lately)
I Thessalonians 4:11-12- And that ye study to be quiet and to do your own business and to work with your own hands as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Has anyone else ever told themselves to shut up before? I do it all the time. I can be in the middle of a sentence and realize it's going to come out wrong or that I should not have said that. Sometimes I look back on conversations I have had with people in the heat of an argument or sometimes even just a normal conversation and I think "Wow, you dumby, you shouldn't have said that." lol
In this verse:
Study means- labor or strive
Quiet- refrain from meddling or speech, cease, hold peace, be quiet, rest, properly keep one's seat, be still, undisturbing, peaceable.
Words have so much power. God made the worlds with His words. While we may not be able to speak something into existence, we are made in God's image so our words do have power. They have the power to build up or tear down. Proverbs 18:21- "Life and death are in the power of the tongue"
The book of James has a lot to say about the tongue. If you are having trouble controlling your mouth, I highly recommend reading that book. In chapter 3 verse 2 James says that if you can control your tongue, you are a mature Christian because it is very hard to do. In fact it says no man can tame it. (Thankfully we know someone who has the power)
Charles Spurgeon said "If all men's sins were bound into two equal bundles, one entire bundle would be sins of the tongue."
Some of the sins of the tongue (bold ones are the ones I struggle with a LOT)- Gossip, slander, criticism, complaint, angry outbursts, lying, pessimism, flattery, and sowing discord. (List taken from "Heart of a Handmaiden" - I forget who the author is)
Our tongue can do SO much evil! So I want to talk about Why and How to control your tongue.
A. Testimony (vs 12 of text verse)
1. If your mouth is constantly pouring our complaints then the lost world around you will see a God who does not satisfy. Not to mention you are just no fun to be around.
2. When we react to something in anger or speak without thinking first, we bring heartache on ourselves and on others and we bring no glory to God.
B. For the sake of others
1. Illustration- There was little boy with a bad temper, His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad a physical one."
Our words have the power to hurt and scar others and our own testimony.
C. Once words are out of your mouth, you can't take them back. It's like trying to fit toothpaste back into the tube after you have squeezed it out all over the place.
The book "Heart of a Handmaiden" states- "A sharp tongue does nothing for your Christian testimony but cut it into little pieces." I know of girls who pride themselves on being "mouthy". For some weird reason they think it's a good thing. But it is not lady like or Christ like and really hinders your testimony with others.
1. James 1:19- Listen Before you speak!!!!!!!!!!!! That's all I need to say for that verse.
2. Remember that you don't always have to be right nor understood. Proverbs 17:27-28
a. Jesus is our prime example- He was mocked and ridiculed and beaten and falsely accused but he "opened not His mouth".
b. Just because you know something doesn't mean you have to say it. You don't always have to get your point across. (This is a big point for me) Sometimes it's better just to let things go. After all, it is sinful pride that makes us want to make sure the other person knows we are right, right?
c. It's not enough just to keep those critical, pessimistic, complaining, angry words to ourselves. I have learned recently that that is very tiring. By the end of the day I am just drained from fighting myself and the urge to open my mouth all day. It wears me out. So I have found that it is better to get RID of the thoughts that way you don't have to worry about saying them.
- Matthew 15:18 tells us that our words start in our heart. If I am having a problem saying things I shouldn't, then rather than just trying to keep my thoughts to myself (which is good if those thoughts do come, and they will) it's better to just keep my heart clean and not think those wrong thoughts in the first place. If it's wrong to say, there is a good chance it's probably wrong to think too.
d. Ask God to help you. Ps 141:3- A watchman was someone who inspected everyone who came in to see if it was allowed in the city or not. If we would pray the prayer found in this verse, and makes sure every word that wants to come out of our mouth is approved by God, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache!
"Lord, please keep your hand over my mouth and help me to be quiet"