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Faith Alive! | Commandments of Christ 15

15. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt; let no filthy communication proceed out of your mouth, but sound speech, with gravity, and sincerity and simplicity”

From issue 95 (January–April 2010)

WHAT a task! I don’t know about you but the words out of my mouth rarely meet these high ideals.

I try and make myself speak with a less irritated tone, not say unkind things and to be more encouraging and honest, but simply having the will doesn’t seem to work. I never seem to improve. Maybe that is because I am addressing the symptom, not the problem. Jesus says that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34,35). What we say comes from what we think. It is no good simply trying with gritted teeth to keep our mouths zipped. We cannot will ourselves to say something nice when we feel full of hatred, or an encouraging word when we feel full of irritation. In fact God hates us being dishonest like that. He condemns the Israelites for being full of flattery, saying things they didn’t really mean.

Ultimately, changing the words we use comes from changing our thoughts. We can only change what we think by submitting ourselves to God. We need to become the branch, connecting to the main vine that is Jesus. By absorbing God’s word, meditating on it (memorising verses is a good way to do this) and by allowing God to work, we can change the way we think. Paul says we should “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

When we think the same way as Jesus, our words will follow suit. No longer will we answer with irritation or tell a rude joke, or shout when our parents test our patience. The fruit of the spirit growing inside us will enable us to respond with compassion rather than irritation, patience rather than anger and so on.

That all sounds easier to say than to do! Start by asking God to help you grow the fruit of the spirit so that it is reflected in your speech. Then memorise one verse each day so God’s word will start to transform your thinking.

Miranda Peel


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