We all carry with us at all times an incredibly dangerous weapon. This small thing has built nations and torn down empires. It is used in careful manipulating ways and also used casually without much thought. This small thing is our mouth. The words we use can be incredibly influential or our mouths can get us in more trouble than almost anything else. It is all in the way we use them. Words have a lot of power and used inappropriately, they can be amazingly destructive. But there is also the potential for our words to be a potent tool that encourages others, strengthens our relationships, and gives us substantial influence and credibility. What does the Bible say about using your words to build others and have great influence?
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29 NASB
The good news is that we get to choose if we will use our words as a weapon or a tool. This is one of the greatest areas of opportunity in our lives. If we can control the way we talk, we can make a huge difference in the lives of others and soon you will see that difference in your own life as well. This verse gives us four things to implement to make sure our words are helping not hurting.
Filter Your Words
I’m glad that we don’t blurt out everything that we’re thinking. I’m sure you are too. We all have some sort of filter in place. That filter just needs to be expanded to include all things that wold fall into the category of unwholesome. The simplest way to make sure that your words are constructive is to stop any destructive words before they are spoken.
Choose to Build
Edification is a great word. When we speak to others we should intentionally invest in them. Our words can give someone the encouragement they need to break free and move forward. Your words may be just what God uses to give wisdom or direction to someone in need. We can’t see what is happening behind the scenes. We can’t know when those divine connection point will happen. We just need to consistently choose to be constructive with what we say.
We need to speak words that are impactful according to the need of the moment. I find that I get myself in the most trouble when I speak without thinking about what is going on around me. I’m sure you have been there too. A small, seemingly innocent comment turns completely insensitive because I didn’t remember a situation that was going on in someone’s life. Taking a moment before we speak and assessing the situation can help us say only the things that will add value. Also, when you pray, spend time praying for people that you will talk to today. Allow your words to be Spirit-led.
Focus on the Hearer
So many times I zone out in a conversation waiting for my chance to say something. I get so wrapped up in what I want to say. Our focus, however, should be on others. This is a constant struggle in every area of life. I selfishly want to move back into the center of everything even my conversations. When we move out of the way and let God use our conversations for His glory, we move from simple self promotion to a godly influence that can have eternal implications. Focus on the other person in the conversation. Listen, understand, then speak.
Be the Inspiration
Think about all of the people that inspire you. Chances are that you don’t admire people who are gossips, liars, or negative talkers. In fact, most of us try to avoid these kinds of people. People who use their words well are rare. By choosing to use your word constructively, you open up the potential for great things. Choose to disengage from the negative talk around you. Become a light in dark places and use your words to actively help others. We should be the kind of people that inspire others to follow God with all their heart. If you want to win at life then start talking like a winner. Leave excuses behind and become the person who is known for their positive uplifting words.