Yet Another Reason to be Speechless

So… does anyone but me think it is a HUGE coincidence that both of my COMPLETELY UNRELATED Bible studies had me write out James 1:19 today?!  For those of you that may not have a Bible handy, it states: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  Oh my! 

At this point, I figure I have 2 options:

  1. Close both studies and move along quietly as though nothing happened OR
  2. Hear the WORD, let the Holy Spirit dig around in my messy heart and respond in obedience.

By grace, I am choosing Option 2!  Go ahead… laugh!  I am!  Those of you who know me well, know that I MIGHT be able to muster “slow to anger” on my own and I could PROBABLY at least do a pretty good job faking the “quick to listen” imperative, but I am WOEFULLY ill-equipped to handle the “slow to speak” part.  I mean, seriously!  I come from a long line of chatty folks who always have a joke to tell, a tale to weave and a story to embellish – usually dramatically, with outrageous facial expressions and sweeping gestures.  My Dad’s laugh is huge; he’s the life of the party!  My Mom always says that if you tied her hands behind her back she couldn’t talk at all!  And my brother can talk ME under the table… yes, really!  And we all “come by it honestly”.  All that background to say this: you know if I – of all people – choose Option 2, it is a “God Thing”!  And that is exactly what I am hoping for!

I am SO thrilled that God has given me the opportunity to use my propensity for the spoken word (isn’t that such a nice way to say it?!) for His glory and to encourage my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  But I know better than anyone that my mouth also gets me into big trouble!  One of my most common prayers is: “O Lord, anoint my tongue and inspire my words that they may be apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11 NKJV).”  In more light-hearted moments, I have also prayed the prayer currently posted on my refrigerator door: “Dear Lord, put Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.”  Either will work and both get the job done because God is faithful!  However, to know that He has obviously placed His Word before you for some serious consideration is a little different.  It’s not flippant.  It’s not something that can be brushed off with an easy, “Well, that’s just who I am.”  And so today, I choose Option 2.

I have experienced the trials my big mouth and thoughtless words can bring and trust that those trials have tested my faith and are making me mature and complete (see James 1:2).  I know that my easy words don’t always come out the right way and are an overflow of a heart that needs purifying (Matthew 12:34).  I know who I am and am thankful that God loves me anyway.  I am thankful that He would even take the time to speak into my life through His Word.  So, by grace, because of who He is and in His strength, I choose Option 2.  I don’t want careless words to fall from mouth.  I want my words to build up and encourage and affirm.  I know from my own experience that “anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:20)”  More often than not, it brings about hurt feelings and broken relationships and regrets.  So, by grace, and because He said so, I choose Option 2.  I will take note.  I will be quick to listen, slow to speak (Lord, help me!) and slow to anger.  I will “get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and I will humbly accept the word planted in [me], which can save [me] (James 1:21).”

If you are a praying person, please say some for me.  As you know, it will not be easy for this girl to slow up her speech!  But it will be best and I will be glad I did.  It will glorify and honor God and it will benefit those around me.  If you are a competitive person, you try it too – and let me know how it goes!

Keeping My Lips Sealed,

Joeli

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