This is the beginning of a 5 part series on living our lives as worship. Those who know me have probably heard me say more than once that worship is not something we do on Sunday morning but something that we do with the entirety our lives. Mankind was created with one purpose: to glorify and praise God. Not to glorify and praise Him for an hour on Sunday, but with our existence.
But that can seem a little esoteric. How do I glorify God when I’m sitting in traffic? When I’m eating my lunch? When I’m _________? <- Fill in the space. One of my favorite scripture verses is 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." These are Paul's words to Timothy, a young pastor under his care. We're going to take Paul's advice and look at how we can be that example in all that we do.
PART 1: …In Speech…
It’s no surprise that the first area Paul mentions is our speech. Think about a typical day and how much time you spend talking. We have meetings where we talk. We call people on the phone and we talk. We have dinner together and we talk. Here’s a statistic for you: in the US, the average cell phone user uses 600 minutes per month. That’s 10 hours per month on the phone. I think you get the point: WE TALK A LOT! But how much of what is said is entirely pleasing to God? Are there words or phrases that you utter (or shout) when you’re upset or angry?
This is probably one of the most difficult areas for even the most mature Christian. James says “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.” (James 3:9-10) If our speech is negative, harsh, or abrasive, it’s not lined up with the praise that we want to have flowing from our lips and our life.
Proverbs 29:20 – Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The first principle in guarding our tongues is to think before you speak. Especially in our everyday conversations. Some of the most important times in our worship life are those when we’re farthest from church. When we’re in church on a Sunday, people expect certain behavior and language to be present, because, after all – you’re at church! But when we maintain the purity of our speech when we’re away – that’s when people take notice.
Proverbs 17:27 – A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
The second principle in guarding our tongues is to use words concisely and in their right timing. When you want to communicate something, you need to not only think what thought you want to communicate, but what words will best convey that thought.
Proverbs 12:18 – Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The third principle is that our words should bring healing. In the world in which we live, there’s so much around us that can cause hurt and pain: disease, violence, wars, etc. We need to be instruments of peace and healing. Most of the people we encounter (both at church and in our everyday lives) are in need of some kind of healing, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. The words we say should be infused with healing.
Let’s commit ourselves to doing what’s right. Consider what would happen in the church and in the world if each of us would realize the power our words hold and we used them to build each other up. Matthew 12:34 reminds us where our words find their source: “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When your heart is lined up with God, good things are bound to flow. (we’ll talk about that more in the upcoming posts)