August 20, 2014
When Words Run Wild
I put my hand over my mouth(Job 40:4, NIV).
Friend to Friend
When I was young, I loved reading the story of the stately steed, Black Beauty. In my early teens, I enjoyed visiting my friend Cammie and riding horses on her parents’ dairy farm. We often clicked our heels and raced through the fields with reckless abandonment.
A horse is a powerful animal, yet with the tug of the reins or the tap of a heel, he will submit to his master’s bidding. On the other hand, a wild stallion that has not been brought under control of a master is of very little use.
In the Bible we are instructed to have a spirit of gentleness which tempers the words we speak (Galatians 5:23). The Greek word for “gentleness” is prautes, and suggests a wild horse that has been tamed. Unfortunately, in our modern society, the word “gentleness” is often associated with weakness. However, the Greek word means anything but weak.
Picture a muscular steed, proudly holding his head high, poised to move with speed and power, nostrils flaring, but at the same time, under his master’s control. It is the picture of a warhorse under the control of its master. That is a true picture of prautes—gentleness.
The same word, prautes, is translated “meek” in the King James Version. When Jesus said He was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), He was saying He was submitted to God—mightily powerful but under God’s control. Only when we submit our tongues to God will we have the ability to use our words for good. Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s power under control. It is taming and training our tongues to be under the submission and control of the Holy Spirit.
Let me give you an example. Oh, I hate to admit this, but I fear many sisters will relate—the dents in my armor attest to it.
Before I became a Christian, I was very “gifted” with a quick sarcastic wit. Have you ever been in an argument and two hours later thought of a great comeback or slam remark? Not me. I could think of them on the spot. I was good—so good. Why, I could have opened up a side business feeding disgruntled wives, employees, and friends quick comebacks through earphones during confrontations.
However, after I accepted Christ as my Savior, it didn’t take the Holy Spirit long to convict me that my tongue was not glorifying God. Sure, it brought some laughs, but Jesus wasn’t smiling. So I began the arduous task of taming the tongue.
I memorized Job 40:4, “I put my hand over my mouth” and bit my tongue. It was hard letting all those good sarcastic comments go to waste, but I knew they were only fit for the garbage heap.
That was over thirty years ago. On many occasions, when someone is telling me about a confrontation with a family member or a co-worker, those quick-witted remarks still pop up in my mind like a cue card on the stage. When a store clerk offers a snide remark, I can usually think of one snider. So where’s the victory? The victory comes when I choose not to let the words out of my mouth. When I lasso the words before they have a chance to run out of the gate. When I offer blessings rather than cursing. When I put on the humility of Christ and take the comments without the retaliation. That, my friend, is choosing to walk in the Spirit instead of choosing to walk in the flesh.
It can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit, and it becomes easier with practice.
Heavenly Father, I pray that the fruit of the Spirit will grow in my life today. I pray that the evidence of that fruit in my life will be in the words I speak to others. Help my fruit to be sweet today. Show me where I need to clip off unproductive branches that hinder healthy growth.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Luke 6:29. How do you think this relates to refusing to retaliate hurtful words with hurtful words?
Read Romans 12:20. How do you think this relates to refusing to retaliate hurtful words for hurtful words?
OK, girlfriend, I was honest with you today. Are you willing to be honest with someone about an area that you need to change? Accountability is a powerful tool for change. If there is an area in your life that God has convicted you needs to change, tell a girlfriend and ask her to hold you accountable. Ask her to pray with you about the desired to change and invite her to ask you about your progress. That’s what girlfriends in God are for!
As you go through the day, be aware of any snarly comment that comes to mind. Then pat yourself on the back when you don’t say it…because you’re not going to…right?
If you refrained, even once today, let’s celebrate! Click of to my Facebook page and leave a comment that says, “I held my tongue today!”
More from the Girlfriends
You have a powerful force, right under your nose. To learn more about how to use your words wisely and control your tongue, see my nook, The Power of a Woman’s Words. One way you can use your words well is to pray for your husband. Come visit us over at The Praying Wives Club and pray for your man.
On September 8, 2014, I’ll begin my on-line fall Bible Study on The Power of a Woman’s Words. I have the book and Bible study guide specially priced for the months of August and September. Those who sign up will receive access to free video lessons and a free video viewing guide. Click here to view a sample video lesson. This is perfect for church groups, small groups, or individual study. Click here to sign up and learn more. We’re going to learn about the power we possess, the people we impact, and the potential to change. Hope to see you there!
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Wednesday, 20 August 2014.