Tying Your Tongue

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes it’s good to just be quiet, and experience silence, and stillness. Not only in our relationship with God but also with others as well. If you’ll read and reflect on James chapter three, you’ll find that Scripture warns us about the use of our tongue. Just think about the damage caused by careless words, gossip, lies, sarcasm, hurtful comments, inappropriate humor and bitter arguments, and you’ll understand why James cautions us about the tongue.

You rememberthe old saying: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’. It’s really not true, is it? In fact, the opposite is more often the case. Broken bones heal much quicker and easier than wounded spirits.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul said, ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them’.

In light of what James and Paul wrote, it should cause you to think about guarding your tongue carefully. From the silence of not answering back when baited into an argument, to not spreading gossip, to forgoing that sarcastic remark that would’ve gotten a laugh at someone else’s expense, verbal self-control is a powerful to bless and encourage others.

80/20 Obedience

Steve Arterburn

One man is silent when called to speak. Another’s speech is seasoned with anger, bitterness and everything negative rather than grace.

 

Men, the gospel of our Lord calls each of you to a higher standard. Each of you, however, has become too highly skilled at setting aside God’s clear instructions for our lives, are choosing a path of disobedience instead.

 

Don’t amend God’s word with the latest trends, and don’t ignore the call of God’s Spirit to our own plans and purposes. Selective obedience isn’t true obedience. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. Even if you seek to follow God 80 percent of the time, the 20 percent of the time you don’t will sink you every time.

 

As the apostle Paul warned Timothy, many men serve their own interests by having ‘a form of godliness but denying its power.’ For instance, men know when they are sexually violating God’s will, but they continue to indulge their sin anyway. Husbands know when they’re tearing down their spouses, but they continue the verbal tirades. Fathers know when their kids are just dying for some time with Dad, but other demands always take priority.

 

By way of contrast, when God’s man is tempted to enter that 20% zone, he does what God would have him do’even if it’s less convenient or not as immediately gratifying. Guys, one of the great ironies of the Christian life is that freedom comes through obedience. Dare to live freely in joyful submission to your Lord today!

Always Remember

Steve Arterburn

 

Have the benefits of your transformed life caused the memories of your previous lifestyle to fade? Do you remember what you once were before Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit entered your life? Can you recall the darkness before you experienced the light? As you see the lost around you, are you aware that apart from God’s grace, you’d be lost too ‘ right there amongst them?

Men, you should never wallow in, or be a slave to, your past. But, don’t ever forget where you came from, and how you were brought to where you are now. Paul told Titus: ‘Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy’But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.’

You’ve lived in sin. Your heart was acquainted with pain, hopelessness, and spiritual confusion. Remember, you were saved because of the love and kindness of God’period. You didn’t save yourself. And you weren’t saved because you were good, or because your life was so resplendent that God was put in your debt.

Don’t ever forget this, guys. It will keep you humble and it will give you hope for others.