“Lord bless this house and shut my mouth.” I can relate to that coffee mug statement. So this past New Years, I made a truly life changing resolution.
I resolved that my mouth would be kind.
In Psalm 17 David asks God to hear his prayer, and in his plea he states why his words are worthy to be heard.
David says, “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men — by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped” (Psalm 17:3-5 NIV emphasis mine).
How I want to speak only sweet words especially when I have every right to be defensive or grouchy. I desire God’s words to replace mine because His are forever trustworthy, peacemaking, and loving.
More often than I wish, I let my feelings run my mouth instead of bringing my emotions to God and letting His wisdom speak.
Still, I feel like I need duct tape over my mouth half the time. Maybe you can relate. More often than I wish, I let my feelings run my mouth instead of bringing my emotions to God and letting His wisdom speak. Without God’s help I speak harsh words when I’m stressed or sleep deprived or bark orders at my kids when I am running late.
But how can I, like David, live out this resolution?
James chapter three gave me an answer. In this chapter, James urges the church to change the way they speak about to each other. He even likens the tongue to a fire that can take over and corrupt a whole person and the course of their life.
He says, “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil…But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:14-17).
We switch our words for God’s when we trade our earthly thoughts for His divine wisdom. The closer we are to Jesus, the easier it is to hear His guidance.
The closer we are to Jesus, the easier it is to hear His guidance.
James teaches us to “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (v. 7-8). “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (v. 10).
True, lasting life change is not something we can do on our own. But we do play a part. We resist, we come close to Jesus, and we humble ourselves.
We squelch negative words when they well up in our mouth. In hard situations, we resolve not to let our mouths run free without checking in with God first. We will come close to Him as we crack open our Bibles to learn about and from Jesus, soaking in every bit of goodness into our hearts each morning. And we humble ourselves through prayer asking Him for divine wisdom through his Holy Spirit. We ask for courage to replace our thoughts with His thoughts this year so our words will be His words.
My resolution may not make me any skinnier this New Year, but it will make my thoughts and lips more alive than they’ve ever been. And the scales of love will be tipped in my favor.
Where do you feel God is prompting you to speak love and truth to those around you? Where is He asking you to be silent and let Him fight the battle? Join the conversation online or be encouraged in person at one of our upcoming conferences.