“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Prov. 18:21
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. (Jas 3:5-6)
Two years ago a man who had a great influence on my coming to know the Lord had a stroke that left him with slurred speech and partial paralysis of his right side. Because they treated it fairly quickly and through rigorous physical and speech therapy, he can now walk and talk normally. His hand and arm are gradually gaining more and more use as well. He has always been a kind-spoken man with a tender heart. The stroke left him with his emotions closer to the surface and with very little “filter” on what he is apt to say. I never realized just how important the protection of the Word is to filtering what we say until I saw and heard some of the things that this man was now capable of saying. To begin with he was unaware that what and how he was saying things had changed. He now has to consciously think about every word he says and apply the Word as a filter before he speaks.
I use this man as an example–not because he has become a “bad” person–but specifically because he is a “good” person. Remember that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10). All of us have things going on in our minds and hearts that are sinful and displeasing to God. It is only by the grace of God and the covering of Jesus that we can overcome these and learn to say and do the things that He wants. How many times have we heard Christians gossiping or criticizing our government leaders? It is so easy to speak critical things about others. Imagine how frustrating and frightening it must be to lose the sense that God is filtering what we say and do. Think about Samson. He took for granted the blessing and protection of God to the point where he lost it and didn’t even realize it until it was too late. Set aside by God at birth, he married a Philistine women against his parents wishes and eventually lost her. He was a mighty man who was always trying to gain revenge for the bad things that happened to him, but successfully led Israel for twenty years against the Philistines. He later fell in love with Delilah, who tricked him into telling her the secret of his power, which then was taken away. With God’s help, he later redeemed himself, but it cost him his life.
Never take for granted the blessing of the Word as a filter for our thoughts and words. And make sure that you keep renewing that filter daily.