“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk (ever) come out of your mouth, but only such (speech) as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it” (Ephesians 4:29, Amplified).
Someone has once said, “Be kind to everyone for everyone is going through some kind of battle.” This is so true because we all are going through various battles in life. If we are not in a present battle, we are either entering one or coming out of one. The days are getting more difficult in the world, and we must do everything we can to support and encouragement one another along the way. We read in Hebrews 10:25, “but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” A positive word of encouragement can make a huge difference. There have been times of difficulty when a simple word of encouragement changed my whole perspective on my situation.
We all know how deeply we long for others to encourage us. But let us be the ones to lift the burdens of another through a simple word of encouragement. The word “encourage” in Webster’s Dictionary means: “to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind, to embolden, to incite, to inspirit.” We need to represent Jesus Christ to others by increasing the confidence and courage in them to do great things for God. Just as He is our refuge and our tower of strength, we need to be a safe and encouraging place for others.
In looking at the whole need of encouragement, we first need to realize the power there is in the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” We all have problems with the tongue. We often are not tongue conscious, and instead of inspiring others with courage, we may bring great discourage with our words. It takes a baby 2 years to learn to talk and 60 years to learn to keep his mouth shut! If you filled a library with a lifetime of your words, what would be the titles of the books in it? Our tongues have potential to build up or cause destruction.
The Bible speaks much about the tongue. The book of Proverbs speaks of both the evil and good side of the tongue. Tongue, lips, mouth and words appear 150 times in Proverbs. James 3:1-12 speaks with greatest authority and impact on the subject of the evil side of the tongue. James compares the tongue with the rudder on a ship. It has a powerful influence. A rudder on a ship, though small, steers a ship to its destiny. We lived on a ship for years, and I am amazed at how that small rudder steered our ship all over the world. James also speaks of the tongue as like a fire’s spark which can set a whole forest on fire!
“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” (James 3:4-5).
God wants us to stimulate others to love and good deeds. He wants us to use our tongue to edify and build up, to encourage and set free. The purpose of our life is to be a blessing to others. Most people are afraid, especially now with the threat of terrorism and the increase in natural disasters. We live in a fallen world. Those who are serving God in the nations know that the spiritual battle is not easy. Instead of pulling one another down, let us help each other to really live for Christ in a greater way. We can do this in a number of ways – wise counsel and advise, spiritual exhortation, encouragement, comfort, etc. We need to learn to tame our tongue, so that blessing can flow to others freely and unhindered.
How can we tame our tongue?
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
- Acknowledge your dependence on God – You cannot control your tongue yourself. You need to ask God for help. Even David had difficulty in controlling his tongue. See Psalm 39:1-3.
- Admit and confess sins of the tongue – We need to admit the sins of the tongue. We need to come into the presence of God, and ask Him to reveal any sin areas in our speech. God promises to forgive us. See I John 1:9.
- Be sensitive in your speech towards others – Think before you speak. Ask God to give you sensitivity towards others and alert you to negative speech even before you say it. The tongue is the showcase of the heart. See Ephesians 4:29.
- Fill your mind with Scripture on a daily basis – What we feed into our spirit, comes out of our mouths. If we fill our minds with God’s Word, we can better help and encourage one another. God’s Word can judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. See Hebrews 4:12.
- Don’t listen to negative speech or gossip – It will only bring you down and tempt you to sin in your speech as well. Gossip hurts deeply and is a snare. See Proverbs 18:7-8.
- Cultivate the art of listening to others – Many of us are good talkers but not good listeners. We need to cultivate the art of listening carefully to others. The Bible says that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. See James 1:19.
- Spend time in praise and thanksgiving to God – Spending lots of time in praise and thanksgiving puts us into the atmosphere of encouragement. We then become more heavenly minded with a greater ability to bless others in our speech. See Psalm 50:23.
- Think of ways you can build others up with words of life – We must consider and give attention to how we can stimulate others to love and good deeds. By nature we are self-focused, but God wants to make us other-focused. See Hebrews 10:25.
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 10:25)
I exhort you to make it a point to encourage others through your speech this month. Whether it is through a telephone call, writing a note or e-mail, or through verbal words, make a conscious effort to put courage into others. Consider and give attention to how you will do this. It does not come naturally for most of us. Some of you may need a breakthrough in your life regarding your future. Taming your tongue and using it to bless and encourage others could open the way for God to bring you to the next level in your walk with Him and your future ministry. Study how you will stir up and stimulate others to love and good deeds. You may be surprised, because often when we encourage others, we ourselves are encouraged.
“And let and give attention, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities” (Hebrews 10:25).
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International