Yesterday I posted an article that gave you a fact a day to concentrate on for each day of the week. The Tuesday fact is Small sparks can start big fires, so mind your manners and tame your tongue. The following steps will help you accomplish this:
Step 1: Recognize the power of this mouthy muscle. James says the tongue:
- Boasts great things
- Is as destructive as fire
- Is a world of unrighteousness
- Pollutes the whole body,
Step 2: Rely on God for the strength you need:
- James said the simple fact is this: no man can tame the tongue (3:8).
- Philippians 4:13: I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me
Step 3: Realize that God hears every word you say:
- Speak as though you are in God’s presence and talking face to face with Him.
- Make the words of Psalm 19:14, your prayer: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Step 4: Reevaluate your motives. Pause throughout the day to assess your conversations, and ask yourself:
- Why did I say what I said (Proverbs 17:27)?
- Have I used my words to build people up or to tear them down?
- Have my words been healing or hurtful?
- Has my conversation been more than just rank criticism and slander nitpicking and complaining (4:11; 5:9)?
Step 5: Retune your heart. The tongue is the index of the heart, and the words you speak reveal the true condition of your heart. Your heart will never be pitch-perfect until you begin to practice His principles:
- Ask God to examine your heart and mind: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts (Psalm 139:23).
- Fill your mouth with praise for God, so there’s no room for profanity.
As you think about the five steps above, keep in mind that God’s desire is for you to put away lying. to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25; Psalm 15:2), and to be a person of true Christian character.
Should I stay or should I go? Should my answer be yes or no? Some decisions are easy to make, but there are times when choices leave us baffled and befuddled.
The solutions to some problems are quickly discovered and come as easily and flipping on a light switch. Frequently though, life can be a perplexing journey filled with head-banging frustration as you seek an elusive answer:
- Where should I live?
- Which doctor should I use and which treatment should I try?
- Should I keep the job I have or should I seek employment elsewhere?
- Is this the person I should marry?
- Which college should I choose to pursue my education?
Psalms 25:12:12 offers the assurance that, The Lord shows his faithful followers the way they should live. And, Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
The question remains: How can you know that you’re making the right decision? Let me suggest a few questions that might help you focus your thoughts:
- Am I violating any biblical principles?
- Will my actions be an embarrassment to my parents or grandparents?
- Is it legal, moral, and ethical?
- Who will it help and who will it hinder?
- What is the financial, emotional, and spiritual cost to me and my family?
- Will my decision lead me to do what’s good, better or best?
- Have I prayed about my situation?
When you confuse your wants and desires with your needs, making the right choice can be difficult. Your discernment can be hindered due to either wanting too much of the wrong thing or desiring too little of the right thing—both can be obstacles when you pray for guidance:
George Muller, a champion of orphans and an evangelist, once said: Nine-tenths of difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
Here are four steps to consider as you chose your path in life:
- Yield to God, and be willing to will the will of God for life (Joshua 24:14-15).
- Spend some time in prayer and meditating on God’s word (Joshua 1:8).
- Seek the counsel of the wise (Proverbs 19:20).
- Don’t rush your decision; take the time to think it through (Proverbs 21:5).
In times of indecision, I’ve found comfort in Jeremiah 29:11; and I think you might as well: I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11