Dealing with our thoughts and words, a practical application

 

Do our words bring life? (Proverbs 18:21) Do we receive what ever we ask for? (Matthew 21:22) When is the last time you heard of someone moving a mountain by speaking to it? (Matthew 11:23)

 

These are all promises in YHVHs word, so what is the problem? Why do our words lack power? We know we must have faith, (James 1:6) and we are to ask in His will, (1 John 5:14) but could a part of the problem be with our own tongue?

James 3:8-12 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless YHVH, even the Father; and with it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of YHVH. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a fountain send out at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries? Or a vine, figs? So no fountain can both yield salt water and fresh.

 

The tongue is a tool that can be used for building up or tearing down. What are we doing with it? YHVH does not take our words lightly, and neither should we.

Proverbs 6:16 These six things does YHVH hate. Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that are swift in running to mischief, A false witness who speaks lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

 

The following are some examples that can result in bitter water. There are others that could be added; they all have in common a spirit of death behind them. Which of these do we struggle with?

         Speaking (and/or listening to) evil towards others.

       Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. (Psalm 101:5)

       "Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. "Do not try to get ahead at the cost of your neighbor's life, for I am YHVH. (Leviticus 19:16)

       A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11:13)

         Selfish motivation, putting yourself, opinions, and words first.

       Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

         Foolish and/or argumentative talk.

       But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. (Titus 3:9)

         Complaining:

       Now when the people complained, it displeased YHVH; for YHVH heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of YHVH burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. (Numbers 11:1)

         Idle talk. (My definition: Words without action, empty promises, useless and vain words.)

       But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

         Being Annoyed which leads to and including Anger

       And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, (Ephesians 4:26)

 

So what can we say? You have heard it said that idle hands are the devils workshop, so is an idle mind. The following are some examples of proper uses for the tongue, they have in common a spirit of life behind them.

         Give Praises

       And my tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. (Psalm 35:28)

         Encouragement

       But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

         Prayer

       Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

         Speak His word

       My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness. (Psalm 119:172)

         Let your words be few

       Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before YHVH: for YHVH is in heaven, and you upon earth: therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastics 5:2)

 

How to deal with problems: We should begin and end our problems with YHVHs help, but we also need to do our part in the middle.

         Ask YHVH for help:

         Start with the heart.

       Create in me a clean heart, O Yah; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

         Ask for protection.

       Set a watch, O YHVH, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)

         Ask for wisdom.

       If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of YHVH, who gives to all men liberally, and with no reproach; and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

         Clean up our thoughts for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45) Can we control our thoughts? We think about the things we have been and continue to expose ourselves to. If you are plagued with bad thoughts, then examine the things you do. For instance, I saw a film that had prolific swearing in it. Some of these lines stayed with me after the movie. The point is: garbage in, garbage out. Dont expect YHVH to do something for you if you can do it yourself. Get out of the garbage and stop thinking about it. Fill your time and meditation with good things and you will find your thoughts will be cleaner.

       Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

         Examine ourselves. Are we looking for the faults in others to feel better ourselves? We need to take responsibility for our actions and stop blaming others.

       You hypocrite, first cast out the beam from your own eye; and then you will see clearly to pull out the twig from your brothers eye. (Matthew 7:5)

         Forgive those who offend us.

       Then Peter came to him and asked, "Master, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?" "No!" Yeshua replied, "seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:21-22)

         Follow the proper steps for correcting a fellow believer who is violating Torah.

       Moreover if your brother trespasses against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he neglects to hear them, then tell the congregation. Then if he neglects to hear the congregation, let him be to you as a heathen man and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)

         Keep a proper perspective. Things could be worse, consider other people and things outside our box.

         Look at biblical examples of others for guidance.

         After all the troubles Job went through, he still guarded his tongue. (Job 27:3-4)

         Yeshua kept silent during the accusations of His inquisition. (Matthew 27:13-14)

         David did not speak against the man cursing him. (2 Samuel 16:10-13) (Psalm 39:1)

         Let YHVH Handle it.

       Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath. For it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says YHVH . (Romans 12:19)

 

Some traps to look out for:

         Not doing what we say. (Makes one untrustworthy.)

       This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)

         Speaking down to yourself and/or others Your stupid., I cant remember anything., You cant do anything right.. Psychologically it takes about 10 positive comments to equal one negative one.

         How we speak to animals or objects is a look into our heart. (Matthew 12:34) (IE Stupid Computer, Dumb Dog) It may not seem like a big deal, but there is a wrong spirit here that will manifest in other areas.

         Judging others. (Can lead to hypocriticalness, could be a lesson from YHVH.)

       Do not judge, so that you are not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged. And with what measure you measure, it will be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:1-2)

 

So whats the big deal about letting some of these things slip once in a while if we are speaking good most of the time? We are still speaking death (Remember James says you can not have it both ways.) Think of it like this: Take 1 Gallon of clean water, which is life, and mix in some occasional poison, the result will still be death, perhaps a slow and miserable one.

 

 

The tongue is a sword, and a devouring fire. Are not the ones we cut down the most the ones closest to us? (Psalm 64:3, James 3:5-6)

 

F A M I L Y

I ran into a stranger as he passed by,

"Oh excuse me please" was my reply.

He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you."

We were very polite, this stranger and I.

We went on our way and we said good-bye.

But at home a different story is told,

How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,

My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.

"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.

I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,

God's still small voice came to me and said,

"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,

but the children you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,

You'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.

He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,

you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small,

And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;

"Wake up, little one, wake up," I said.

"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"

He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree.

I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.

I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;

I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."

He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay.

I love you anyway."

I said, "Son, I love you too,

and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

(obtained from the internet, source unknown)

 

 

The Thought Filter

Typically the biggest problem we have is speaking (or doing) what is on our mind without thinking about the consequences of our actions. To control the tongue, we need to start with cleaning up our thoughts. Just as we need a water filter to clean up our water, we need a thought filter to process our thoughts before we take action on them.

 

For an exercise, take a piece of paper and make 2 columns. Put life at the top of one column and death at the top of the other. Then list some appropriate thought classifying words under each column.

 

Sample Table:

Though Input

LIFE (Yeshua)

DEATH (hasatan)

Buildup

Encourage

Helpful

Keep silent

Proactive

Unity

Positive

Constructive

Beneficial

Useful

Breakdown

Discourage

Hurtful

Complain

Idleness

Division

Negative

Destructive

Slanderous

Selfish

PROCEED (at an appropriate time)

STOP (relinquish the thought)

Action Output

 

Now when you get a thought, for example: Hey Bob, you did a great job. Run it through your filter, in this case it would fall under encouragement in the life column. Another example might be I hate you. This could fall under multiple categories in the death column. The idea of the filter is to classify each thought you have as life or death before you take action upon it. If life, then proceed, if death, then stop your thought before it can go any farther. Sometimes our intent might be pure, but we may also need to consider how others may perceive our actions. Other times we may need to run a particular thought through our filter a few times, considering both whom we are speaking to, and whom we may be talking about. Sometimes we may not be able to determine our thought as life or death and we should ask for wisdom from YHVH as to which it might be. You might come up with a different methodology that works for you, but the goal of the exercise is to get us to think before we speak. It may seem cumbersome and slow our responses down to process them in this way, but the more we practice it, the quicker and more natural it will become.

 

The next time you find yourself wishing you could take back something you have said, remember the thought filter.

 

Some more verses about the things we say:

       For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no deceit: (1 Peter 3:10)

       YHVH shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: (Psalm 12:3)

       The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom: but the perverse tongue shall be cut out. (Proverbs 10:31)

       The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)

       Who ever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)

       The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. (Zephaniah 3:13)

       Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister favor to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

       Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O YHVH, my rock, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)


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