One thing that most of us have in common is our ability to speak, but we often aren’t able to say the right words; no one can tame the tongue (James 3). This is why we need to look to our gracious God to equip us in speaking to others.
There is a child’s nursery rhyme that says ‘sticks and stones may break bones but names can never hurt me’. Unfortunately, I think we all know that this is not true and that words can be very hurtful. We as disciples of the Lord Jesus have the opportunity every day to use our words for good, for God’s glory; using words to encourage and uplift people, rather than cause harm or damage. No matter our age or ability God has given us the wonderful opportunity to encourage one another and build each other up (Romans 14:19). Your words matter!
No matter our age or ability God has given us the wonderful opportunity to encourage one another and build each other up.
We must be prepared for God to use the conversations we have with people. Colossians 4:6 tells us to ‘Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.’ Through the help of the Holy Spirit, God can use us in our daily interactions with people. Purposeful prayer about the day ahead of us is a must, where we ask God to give us opportunities to share our faith or even give gentle guidance to someone who may need it. And once we’re speaking with someone, we can continue to pray that God will guide our speech in that moment.
Proverbs 15:23 says ‘everyone enjoys a fitting reply, it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time’. By being prayerful and immersing ourselves in God’s word, God will make our words wise and helpful to others. However, the other side of this is also knowing when not to say anything and to remain silent! There is a hymn which reminds us to be aware of ‘when to speak and when be silent, when to do and when forbear’ – wise words for us to consider when we are speaking to others (Proverbs 11:12).
Ask God to give you opportunities where he can use your conversations for good in his service.
Our challenge is knowing when to speak a timely word to someone. I believe that can only come through speaking and spending time with God. If we’re constantly conversing with him and have our minds focussed on him and his word, this will help direct our conversations to be helpful to others (Ephesians 4:29). Wouldn’t it be great if your words could build someone up? Ask God to give you opportunities where he can use your conversations for good in his service.
Sophie Brennan, Church of God in Nottingham