You’ve probably heard the saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
While those words aren’t found verbatim in the Bible, it’s a clever way to prompt us to do more listening than speaking, and I believe that it’s an especially great reminder for us during this series, “Are You Out of Focus?”
Think about this: language experts estimate that people speak about 16,000 words every day. That’s A LOT of words.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be sure that our words reflect our faith and bring glory to God.
That’s a tall order, as James 3:2-12 says:
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
We can be quick to get ourselves into trouble by not weighing our words carefully and speaking thoughtfully.
That can be hard for some of us (OK, OK…me!).
What I have learned over the years is that while I will never be a “perfect (wo)man” as James 3:2 says, I can get closer to that standard when I spend time alone with God.
My communication with others, particularly my husband, is clearer and less likely to “set the whole course of my life on fire” if I’ve had fellowship with the Lord.
That fellowship, however, can’t only consist of me pouring out my thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes, and concerns to the Lord. The majority of that fellowship must be composed of listening to the voice of the Lord, whether through the written Word or through His still, small voice.
I believe that the Lord speaks quietly to us, at least in part, in order to ensure that we draw apart to be alone with Him, get still in His presence, and really listen for Him to speak to our hearts.
In John 10:27, Jesus says it this way, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
My prayer for each of us today is that we will choose to carve out time to be alone with the Lord in order to listen to His voice and follow Him.
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