Sorry about the slight absence lately here on my blog. I have been trying to exercise a discerning spirit this last week or so, both in what I think and what I say, and it has transmitted into my vision for this blog. Also in this time, I have committed to walking (almost) every night with a friend of mine. Sometimes we both can't make it, so last night I went walking by myself and decided to listen to the audio from Passion 2012 of the speakers reading the book of Ephesians. I remember being very challenged when I watched the livestream, and that feeling only enhanced when I listened again last night.
You see, lately I have been wrestling with the topic of our speech. I think that many Christ-professing believers, particularly those around my age (early 20's), have really lowered their expectations and standards for what appropriate speech looks like, including myself! We joke about things that aren't really funny and make crude comments "all in good fun," possibly in an attempt to better relate with the culture in which we live. You know, the culture of selfishness, immorality, and serious debauchery that we are called to be "set apart" in (see Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 1:16, 2 Corinthians 7:1). Is it just me, or does this sound completely contradictory? As I was listening to Ephesians, a couple of verses about speech really convicted me:
"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." Ephesians 4:29
"Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4
Who else is convicted by those verses? I hope that every single one of you is. The truth is that we have watered down what our speech should be as Christians, and that is not okay. We are called to higher standards, and our speech should reflect that. So what does this mean? I think it means that we need to watch our mouths, and check our hearts. You all know the verse that says "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34), so when we are talking, what are our words saying about our heart?
It breaks my heart to think about and witness people who think that inappropriate jokes are okay because they are just that - jokes. Maybe they are a release of some sort, or maybe they make us more relatable to others. I'm sorry, but any sort of justification for our speech is just ridiculous. So, it's okay to say those things because we don't really mean them? Wow.
Let me be frank: I don't care how funny we may think the things that we are saying are. The bottom line is that they are not appropriate to be coming out of the mouth of a follower of Christ. They are not pure. They are not holy. They are not righteous. They do not build others up, and they most certainly do not reflect us well.
Please know that while I am writing this for you, my readers, I am also writing it for myself. I constantly need to be reminded of the truth that our speech says a lot about who we are and about the state of our hearts, and if our hearts are supposed to be set on Jesus Christ, what comes from our mouths needs to reflect that.
May we seek to glorify the Lord through our talk. May what comes out of our mouths clearly show that we have been made new in the blood of Christ. May we hold ourselves to higher standards than the ones that our culture has set for us. May we constantly check our hearts and watch our mouths. All for His glory.
"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil."