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James 3: 2
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
Putting my tongue in check has proved to be the greatest test of all and it is no wonder that James says that the person who is never at fault in what they speak is perfect. Late last year I had three dreams all of which were speaking about the need to put my tongue in check and all these dreams happened in the span of one month.
In my first dream someone jumped on my back and began to violently bite my back and then suddenly there was a blanket of darkness. I woke up feeling extremely traumatized, the dream did not feel like a dream but a real life encounter. It was a darkness I had never seen or experienced before, a supernatural darkness. As I went through the day I could still re-live the trauma I felt when someone jumped on and started to bite my back. I wondered what it all meant. I have a book in my library that a friend gifted me that helps in decoding dreams. A quick glance at “someone biting your back” indicated that one ought to check their life for backbiting.
I was shocked, annoyed even, that the Lord was calling me a gossip. Notably, my first reaction was to defend myself, eventually though, I took the higher route and humbled myself before God. I honestly couldn’t have described myself as a gossip. Was I sharing other people’s stories? Yes, but to my defense I was sharing facts only. It’s not like I was coming up with lies about people. Even though I had been trying to live a complain free life I was doing very badly at it because again, I was justifying what I said with “but it’s a fact.” God obviously thought otherwise.
In the second dream I was under attack and when I tried to rebuke my attackers my voice was muffled and nothing could come out. In the third dream someone tried to steal from me and as I was sounding alarm suddenly my voice got choked and nothing could come out.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
From the dreams I had I knew for a fact that God was speaking to me and instructing me to bridle my tongue. I, just like every other believer desire to walk in authority. But it is impossible to rebuke even just a common cold if our lives are full of complaining, criticizing and lying. We may not be aware of it, but we have unseen witnesses to the words that we speak. The words we speak will determine which kingdom has legal authority over our voice.
I asked God for help because I didn’t know where to start, but I was willing. When we are used to a particular sin, it becomes a place of deception and a stronghold for the enemy. I have become more intentional with the words I speak even though truth be told, I fail often.
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Of the seven things that the Lord utterly detests, two involve the tongue: lying and bearing false witness. I’ve always had a casual attitude towards this passage of scripture. First because I never regarded “white lies” as “real lies” and second I’ve never regarded myself as a false witness. This is of course deceptive.
We may not see ourselves as false witnesses, but when we gossip, we bear false witness. Sometimes we may feel that we are speaking the truth, but any time we engage in a discourse that slanders the other person, that is bearing false witness. In 1 Peter 4:8, God would rather that we cover other people and not expose them. Further, the devil is described in the Bible as a slanderer and an accuser, when we gossip we fail to carry the image of God and instead showcase the devil’s characteristics.
We have all been victims of gossiping, and we have all been perpetrators of gossip. Sometimes I have said “factual” things but every time I thought that that piece of information would get to the other party I cringed and prayed hard. Unfortunately I have listened to other people’s description about other people that left my image of them tainted even though I didn’t know those people. Because of this, even when I come across a piece of information that slanders someone I may or may not know, I want to be the last person that information gets to and not act as a conduit.
A prayer: Psalm 141: 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
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Wow! Such a challenge! Thanks for this.
Reminds me that our words emanate from our hearts (remember “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks?”). So important to examine what lies in our hearts. God tells us in Psalm 51:6 that He “desires truth in the inner parts,” and that He “teaches us wisdom in the inmost place.” I wonder the kind of eyes God has in order to look into our hearts. Cause we men can’t really tell. Remember 1 Samuel 16:7? We men focus on the outward appearance but God sees our hearts. Or John 2:24-25 saying that Jesus knew what was in man. And what is in man? In Mark 7:21-22 we are told that “…For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” So literally when we speak we “pour” these things out. Such a contradiction between the truth God desires and the evil that is in us. Now I understand why David asked God to create in him a clean heart. The worst “epidemic” in our lives is sin in us. That’s what we needed saving from. Why? It separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). This is what Jesus (meaning “the Lord saves”) did. In Matthew 1:21 we get to see that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.” Not rogue governments? (That time they had an oppressive Roman government). No. But our sins.
No wonder my righteous acts are like filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). That’s why the Lord becomes our righteousness.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
If only our eyes could be fully opened to how much of a desperate state we are in. Sin is our worst enemy. We desperately need help. As in without this help we die. A life and death matter. David saw this need and spoke of earnestly seeking, thirsting and longing for God in a dry and weary land (Psalm 63:1). And Psalm 42:1-2 saying that the deer pants for streams of water, and in the same way he pants for God. And Psalm 130:6 saying that his soul waits for the Lord “more than watchmen wait for the morning.” And Psalm 84:2? “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” We could never have enough of Him. Once I realise my desperate need for Him, that’s when He becomes my deepest desire.
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