Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 18, 2017
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29, KJV
My mother is the Queen of Phrases, and when I was growing up, there is one she used more often than I liked, “Zip your lips.”
In the NIV, Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that there are times we need to zip our lips. “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.”
The word “unwholesome” in this passage is the word sapros in the original New Testament Greek and it means “bad, decayed, rotten, and is applied to putrid vegetable or animal substances.” (Barnes’ Notes on Ephesians 4). Perhaps the disobedient, sinful part of us wants to file this scripture away as “optional” because gossip, slander, lying, harsh words, insults, sarcasm, and ridicule aren’t as bad as murder and adultery, and other “bigger” sins, right? Wrong.
God takes the sins we commit with our mouths just as serious as “bigger” sins because all sin comes from the heart. So when we break this command not to let any unwholesome or corrupt talk come out of our mouths, we have failed to love God and love others, which are His two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). Ephesians 4:29 reveals we can be a blessing with our mouths or we can hurt others with our speech too. Our communication can even corrupt others. (That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?)
So we must ask ourselves, “Is my speech building up or tearing down those who listen? Am I giving them the gifts of courage and hope, holiness, and faithfulness through my words, or do my words reveal my pride and selfishness? Are my words a blessing or a curse?”
I love that this scripture doesn’t say not to have bad thoughts. That’s a relief because my thoughts are often unholy. Instead, it tells me not to let those bad thoughts—or corrupt communication—come out of my mouth. Corrupt, bad thoughts may come into my mouth from my heart and my head, but I am not to let them out. Instead, I am to stop them by listening to the Holy Spirit when He convicts me. I must pay attention to that little check in my spirit that says, “Don’t say that. It won’t bless anyone who is listening. It’s not going to build them up; you won’t be loving them.”
“. . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b).
PrayerLord, please forgive me for sinning with my mouth. I ask that you would help me to zip my lips, be obedient, and submit to you when you convict me before I speak. Thank you for purifying me and helping me to live a more holy life through obedience to your Word. Amen.
ApplicationOver the next 24 hours, focus on only speaking words that build up those who listen according to their needs so they are benefitted.
Related ReadingProverbs 12:13; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Proverbs 15:7
Post/Tweet todayIs my speech building up or tearing down those who listen?#WisdomHunters #ZipThoseLips
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