Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Managing the Tongue, or Sanctification by the Grace of God

This is one loaded topic that has been on my mind for a few months now, and it's an important one to talk about.  I'll be the first to say that I'm not perfect in this area, and that is precisely why the Lord has put this on my heart.  I don't have all the answers, and I won't pretend to, but it's a good discussion to open up. 

Isn't it a wonderful thing how the Lord instructs and corrects in a matter?  If you pray for Him to reveal and correct sin in your life, he will!  I am living proof of this, as this battle is hard and difficult for me

My struggle with this topic began in late December or early January, and I have wrestled with the nuances of purity of speech relentlessly - in my own heart, knowing full well that I have to answer for every word that leaves my mouth.  I have nit-picked most all of my conversations, cried, prayed, and wrestled with the "what-ifs" and "how-did-I-do's" and "wasn't-that-just-too-much's".  And you know what?  It still hasn't "fixed" my sins - especially in this area.

So, a few things, in no particular order, that I've learned the last few months on this quest to starve this sin:

Everyone has a problem with their words.  This is not a problem unique to me, nor past the grace of God in my life.

James 3:7-9
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

Every thought must be taken captive, in order for my words to reflect Christ.  Remember the fresh water/salt water analogy in Scripture?  It doesn't necessarily apply contextually, but can on a micro-level.  If my heart is filthy and yucky, my words will be also.  Yes, I know this from experience.

Christ is ready to forgive, the Holy Spirit can and will sanctify, and there is restoration to be had.  This is indeed very sweet.

My standing before Christ is what matters most.  I am hid in Christ.  That is my identity.  There is wisdom to be had in only worrying about myself, but there is a time and place for other things.

I will fail.  Especially in those areas where discernment is more difficult.  That line between truth and not painting others in a bad light.  Or, between helping a husband and strongly disagreeing.  Or, between correcting a child and explaining why their actions did not line up with Scripture and imparting shame.  The line between defending truth strongly and letting love cover a multitude of sins.  I have failed in all of this and much, much more.  And I will - because I'm human.  You will, because you're human.  If you're a Christian, we're striving for the same goal.  And when there's conflict, it's not about who's right or wrong or whatever - it's about restoration and spurring each other on to good works.

Surround myself with those willing and quick to correct me in my error, and who will encourage me towards righteousness.  This is key.  Not only is my husband excellent in this, but the ladies at my church have been excellent.  As uncomfortable as correction can and will be, remembering that the point is restoration has helped me tremendously.  I am eager to see how the Lord will continue to refine me through the body.  This is a good thing!

I'm certainly not the one qualified to write a post like this (can't say that enough!), but reformed and still reforming is an accurate statement here.  Praise God that perfection is not His requirement of us, and that we can give Him ALL the credit for ANY good thing in our (MY) life! 

What are some ways that the Lord has taught you, and helped you in the area of your tongue?  Any tips or helpful hints to share?  I'd love to hear them!

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