"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies."
"I said, "I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me."
"6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
Our speech can be a clear indication as to our spiritual maturity. What does your speech say about you? Are you known as someone whose words are filled with encouragement? With love? With grace? On the other hand, are you someone who is known as a gossip? One who speaks lies? One who is negative?
The bible is full of scripture in regards to our tongue and how our words reflect the condition of our heart. We can tell where our words come from by the results of their actions.
James 3:15-16 says, 5 " Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." Whatever comes from our mouth that produces those previous things, are not prompted by God, which means that we are not walking in the Spirit but instead the flesh.
Our hearts are reflected by the words we speak. Our words are a window into our soul and can show the byproducts of an un-regenerated heart: "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." Matthew 12:34
- A heart that curses:
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
- A heart full of hatred
With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
- A perverse heart
A troublemaker and a villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth
- A heart that lies
The LORD detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
- A heart that is foolish
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
- A heart that is evil
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
- A heart that gossip and slanders
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
- A heart that is corrupt
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.
God makes it very clear that we are not to lie.
"Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds" Colossians 3:9
Our human mind knows no end to its creativity when it comes to rationalizing our behavior. This capacity increases when we create more deception and lies.
When we slander, we choose to lie about someone's character or actions. Thomas Watson the Puritan divine wrote- "The scorpion carries his poison in his tail, the slanderer carries his in his tongue". Proclaimed Christ Followers are guilty when it comes to the willingness to share evil reports of other believers. God says that we are not to speak evil unless we are in the process of edifying the person themself! "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it." James 4:11
When we gossip, we damage the reputation of the one in which we speak of, whether what we choose to share is true or untrue. Quite often by the time we go to repeat our gossip, what finally slips from our mouth are mixed up words that are untrue.
A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20
We can be careless with our words. It may not mean that we deliberately lie but instead are not speaking with absolute accuracy.
We can even use true words in order to deceive others. We speak something true that is a jab at someone else. Example being a first mate had been disciplined by his captain. A few days later the shipmate was able to exact his revenge when the captain became ill and the first mate assumed the duties as captain. When keeping the ships log, he began his entry with "Captain sober today". Though it may be true, what is being implied?
We can also insinuate. This is one that Satan loves. It is where we plant an idea in someone's head. "Is she really that smart?" "Why would she do that?" Insinuating questions are slippery libels on others. Those who are being attacked are completely defenseless and their attacker, unassailable (but only in this world).
We can avoid being used by the devil when we make certain that our words are made up of absolute purity, peaceable responses, gentle and kind words, words that do not slam others but instead are willing to yield and are full of mercy.
Psalm 141:3-4 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. God's desire is for each of us to make Psalm 141:3-4 a habit. That we think before we speak and that we guard our tongues.
We should desire to have communication that is pleasing to God. As Christ Followers, the words we speak should indicate whom we follow. We must start by asking ourselves before we speak, are these words true or false? Are they accurate? Have I exaggerated? Are they healing or hurting? Am I grateful or am I complaining?
Next we should talk less. "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11
Put a gate on your tongue. Allow God to clean your mouth so that it may be used for communicating in a healthy way.
- Sharing God's word can change our heart and the way in which we speak.
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8
- Meditating on God's word and applying it to our lives by sharing with others, can change our heart and the way in which we speak.
"I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds."Psalm 77:12
- Spend time praising Him
"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him."
- Speak words of encouragement to others
"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."
- Be a blessing to those around you. You are not blessing if you are gossiping or cursing someone else
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."
What will the words you speak say about you today?