26 May “8 CHOICES” Spring-Summer Study – Lesson 3 “The Mouth Trap”
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 (NIV)
“A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which God loves, and a voice through which Christ speaks.”
And with those opening words in chapter 3, The Mouth Trap, I’m busted… again! I think I will just spend the rest of the summer under the bus.
For years I have quoted and tried to apply the words of St. Francis of Assisi’s as Jill quoted them on page 52, “Preach the gospel all the time. If necessary use words.” I love that quote; it’s profound. Likewise, I have often taught others that, “You just might be the first Bible somebody ever reads, and you might be the only Bible somebody ever reads!” But after studying this chapter and allowing the Holy Spirit to have his way in me, those quotes hit me just enough harder to cause me to seriously consider my words and the condition of the mouth from which they fly out of. The not-so-startling conclusion I’ve come to is this: I am in daily need of a Holy mouth-guard!
Mouth-guards. There are all kinds of mouth-guards on the market; like those gel kind you sleep in to keep from grinding your teeth or the kind that a professional athlete wears. Both of these mouth guards protect the mouth, teeth and tongue from getting hurt in some way. But the kind of “guard over my mouth” that King David is talking about is to protect the mouth from hurting someone… or yourself. More like a muzzle, but I like to think of God’s almighty hand wrapped ever-so-firmly over my pie hole to protect and prevent the emission of deadly, damaging, idle and rambling words whenever a yack-attack occurs. The root of the Hebrew word for watch or guard means to protect, save life, observe, restrain, retain, reserve; to keep. Consider, also, what the Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament says about the word “guard” – “…to watch carefully over, to be on one’s guard; to pay close attention to: Eli the priest continued to observe Hannah’s lips closely as she prayed (I Sam. 1:12)”.
Now that you have that full definition, picture God not with just His hand over your mouth, but with His eyes fixed carefully on your mouth, paying close attention to everything that comes out of it. Sometimes I don’t really fully comprehend something until I get a word picture gong in my mind. And now I’ve got it!
For the Christian who is serious about growing in her faith, there are some obvious things that just simply should not come out of our mouths. Jill has done an excellent job exploring the various ways our words can do harm through speaking profanity, uttering obscenities, blasphemy, nagging, gossip, slander, idle words and criticisms.
But less obvious is the way we use our own words to speak against ourselves. Her commentary on speaking “gracious words” made me think of the ungracious way I speak about myself at times… both in my thinking words and my spoken words. We can be so critical of ourselves, can we not? We can load up some of the most unloving, unkind words and fire them at our “perfectly and wonderfully made” selves all day long. And while we’d like to just blame it all on the devil, the truth is that we’ve invested way too much thought in what the culture’s brand of counterfeit truth has to say about us, and therefore have harshly compared ourselves right into a crisis of identity and an epidemic of deeply rooted insecurity.
As Jill writes on page 55, “Sometimes an uncomplimentary remark about someone just pops out of my mouth. And before I know it, I am horrified to find those words burning into my thinking and spreading throughout my personality. And the fire may instigate action by other parts of my body…” Yiiiikes!
Oh, sweet sisters, listen! Listen to this! Sometimes the most uncomplimentary remarks that pop out of our mouths are directed at ourselves! Our words, spoken words, have extraordinary power that can and will eventually change us for good, or damage us! Those self-directed critical, hateful and unloving words that we keep repeating to ourselves have got to go! It’s time to BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND through the powerful, life-changing Word of God spoken out loud! Start replacing those negative thoughts and words with God’s thoughts and words toward you. Your own ears need to hear your own voice speaking God’s brand of True Truth! Use the Scripture… your “sword of the Spirit”; meditate on it, memorize it, pray it out, sing it out… just get it into that beautiful gray matter of yours so that it comes flowing from your lips like a fresh, bubbling spring; reviving your spirit and refreshing your soul! That’s what Scripture memory is all about: Changing your mind by thinking new thoughts! God’s thoughts!
Change the way you think and you’ll change the way you believe… and you’ll change the way you live! It’s true!
I pray God will knock your socks off this week with His love, sweetie girls!
xo – P
My challenge for you this week is to:
- Find at least one person this week whom you can be a blessing to by speaking a blessing to them. Might be the checkout girl at the grocery, the bank teller, your housekeeper or your spouse. Let your words be gracious and generous!
- Pray for an awareness of God closely guarding your mouth and paying careful attention to your words, all your words, but especially the words you speak negatively and critically toward yourself.
- Keep a thin rubber band (yes, you knew it was coming) around your wrist and give yourself a little pop, as a reminder that God is listening to every word you speak about His precious and dearly loved child… YOU!
- Record the words you use against yourself and offer them up to God as a sacrifice, asking Him to give you His Truth to override those negative words. Read and reread II Corinthians 10:5 and take captive the arguments and pretentious thoughts you are speaking about yourself with His Truth!
- Make this your daily prayer: “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3 (NLT)
Now… let’s encourage one another!!