Did you know that the average person spends 1/5 of their life… TALKING! If all our words were put into print in a single day… the result would be a 50 page book. That’s AVERAGE! I always thought my children were “above average” and this confirms it!
Obviously God made us to be communicating creatures who communicate via words because we are constantly thinking, constantly talking and constantly sharing what we think with others.
If 1/5th of your life will be spent with your mouth open, that’s a lot of opportunity to bless people and a lot of opportunity to hurt people. So it’s no surprise that God’s Word (the Bible) has some things to say about how we use 1/5th of our lives.
James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.”
In the last few years, there’ve been hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stories of teenagers, college students, and adults who have ended their lives not because of deep depression, not because of chemical imbalance, but because of constant belittling, mocking, and tearing down by other people either via social media or in their life. It led them to take their own lives. Words have the power of life and death!
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Words not only have the power of life and death, but they have the power to wound or to heal. Words can wound and all of us can think back to a time when someone said something to us that cut so deep, it still affects us.
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
I wonder how many times I’ve wounded others with my “sword”. How many times have I lashed out in anger because I felt afraid? Because I felt threatened? Disrespected? Under appreciated?
If you tear down everything and don’t build something in it’s place, you’ll end up homeless.
Luke 6:45 says “…for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth SPEAKS”
So if 1/5th of our lives are spent talking, the words that come out of our mouths, they come from our hearts… that is why they are so powerful! They’re saying from our heart to another soul… This is what I think about you!
Think about how good a gift this is from God. You don’t have to wonder if you have an angry heart. You don’t have to wonder if you have a jealous heart. You don’t have to wonder what’s going on. Your words reveal it!
What drives your mouth is your heart. What drives your heart is your identity.
But THE GOSPEL makes all the difference. The Gospel can make us an edifier and an encourager. It sets us free to rejoice in gladness in a way that a wrong identity never can.
As we grow in an understanding that Christ’s love and forgiveness rests on us and that who I am first and foremost is a child of God, adopted by God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Then…. I’m a wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, teacher, speaker, neighbor, etc.
If I can anchor myself in what God has said about me in Christ, that I am HIS, that I am ACCEPTED, that I am LOVED, that HE is for me, not against me, that all my sins were absorbed in Christ on the cross…. now my mouth begins to change.
I don’t need _________________ to be my Savior, I already have one! So when ______________ doesn’t measure up to my standards, I don’t have to wound ____________ with my words.
When I come across someone who is better than me, I don’t have to tear them down with my “sword”. I get to celebrate their obedience in CHRIST! I’m free to be an edifier and encourager because who I am can’t be threatened! I’m secure in CHRIST!
Therefore, I put people around me that are stronger/ more talented/ more gifted than I am because they are not a threat to me. It’s actually going to sharpen me. I’m going to rejoice in the gifts and abilities of others, not see them as threatening.
On the contrary, if my identity in not anchored in Christ, then I will have no choice but to point out the weaknesses of others because I will always be fighting for significance, power, and recognition.
So let me ask some questions:
- Have you been set free to rejoice in others?
- How’s your heart? Are you angry? Jealous? Desperate? Sad? Needy?
- Is your identity set in Christ or do you incessantly feel like you have to point out the weaknesses of others, the weaknesses of your church, the weaknesses of your family, the weaknesses of your school, the weaknesses of your neighborhood?
- Are you an expert in all that is wrong?
AN IDENTITY IN CHRIST CHANGES HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD!