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Walking a Disciple’s Walk, Week 2, Day 8: Walk in Wisdom, Our Conversation

Day 8- Walk in Wisdom, Our Conversation
Part 2: Devotional Reflections

Ashley Waliczek

Reflections:
The past several years, if you had been listening in on my prayer conversations, you would have found yourself unable to count how many times I have had to repent of my words. It is a shameful fact, but impossible to escape. I cannot recount all the moments when I lost my cool at work over the actions of a coworker or client and said words I regret; whether they were spoken directly to my colleagues or muttered under my breath or ranted afterward to my husband is irrelevant. I cannot recount all the times when I have angrily raised my voice at my young children when the whining, arguing, and overall chaos have brought me to my wits’ end. As a child, I had little patience for friends or family who were doing things I found unacceptable or inconvenient and I reacted bluntly. Even as I have matured, that petulant child still pokes out her head and wants her way.

That said, I do not think it wise to sugar-coat a sin issue as constant as our speech, both public and private. I find it likely (or perhaps only hope, for my sake) that the vast majority of us have weaknesses in this area. As a result, we can often fall into one of two extremes: either we unload our evil words in spaces where we think no one will notice, or we succumb to the idea that we simply can’t help ourselves and eventually stop feeling shame for our words altogether. We make excuses. We claim it is just a byproduct of a rough day or a bad week or a lousy month or a challenging season or a hard life. Of course, we reason, that’s why.

Then, as we open the Word for our nice, peaceful quiet time, we get an ice bath of a reality check. “On the day of judgment,” Jesus says, “people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Gulp. As preacher Voddie Baucham often says, “If you can’t say Amen, just say Ouch!” Well, this passage elicits an ouch from me every time. I have to admit on most days, I am positively not ready to give that account. My carelessness is not even close to being sanctified out of me yet. And, were it not for Jesus Christ standing in the gap for me on that day, I would crumble into ashes. But, because I know He is my Mediator and my Advocate, I get to run every day to the throne of grace for forgiveness. I can plead for help and wisdom to speak what He wants me to speak. I can praise God for the incredible fact that I no longer live under fear of condemnation, that I have been justified by a Savior who never spoke a wrong word or thought a wrong thought or made a wrong choice. Not once!

The next time we think about using our words to tear down another person or spread a lie or boost our own pride or to do whatever other malevolent thing we think up, I pray that we will let a glimpse of the Lord Jesus capture our minds instead. He had to die because of the wickedness in our tongues. He, in all His purity and perfection, willingly offered His perfect life to us through His sacrifice on the cross in the greatest exchange we could ever imagine.

It matters what we say because it matters to the Savior who loves us.

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“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of armies!” Isaiah 6:5.

“His eyes see the Holy King of Israel, the God of armies, and he does not run to sit on his lap, but falls to his face, confessing the evil, not only of his tongue, but of the tongues he lived among on earth. Here he did not lament that he dwelled among a people of sexual immorality, murder, or idolatry. What he said, and what the people said—their conversation—horrified him before the Righteous One. If we each saw the Lord today, we would dread how unclean our mouths have been….”

“Isaiah felt crushed by the weight of a world of wicked and worthless words pressing down upon him. Seeing God and hearing the flaming voices, singular in purpose of praise, exposed Isaiah’s own life of unclean speech. In that room, profane and purposeless talk held no place. “

“But this did not end his story. He judged himself worthy of death, but God had more grace to give, as he does with us. A flaming messenger brought to Isaiah’s lips coals from the sacrificial altar (upon which the King himself—the Lamb of God—would rest as Isaac’s ram, slain). And when the Lord asks whom heaven should send, Isaiah turns from cursing himself for his mouth to eagerly volunteering to go forth to speak as God’s ambassador. ‘Here I am! Send me’ (Isaiah 6:8).”

“Forgiveness met him as it meets us, repurposing and commissioning the mouth of even the most foolish and idle talkers. What was once given over to darkness can now be used to praise God and bless mankind. Seeing the glory of Christ banishes small purposes for redeemed tongues. And amazing grace sends us forth as the seraphs to speak of Christ.”

-Gregory Morse, “Worthless Conversation: How God Weighs Our Words,” at Desiring God, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/worthless-conversation

Hymn: “Fill Thou My Life”
By Horatius Bonar

Fill thou my life, O Lord my God,
in ev’ry part with praise,
that my whole being may proclaim
thy being and thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
nor e’en the praising heart,
I ask, but for a life made up
of praise in ev’ry part:

Praise in the common words I speak,
life’s common looks and tones,
in fellowship enjoyed at home
with my beloved ones,
enduring wrong, reproach, or loss
with sweet and steadfast will,
forgiving freely those who hate,
returning good for ill.

So shall each fear, each fret, each care
be turned into a song,
and ev’ry winding of the way
the echo shall prolong.
So shall no part of day or night
from sacredness be free,
but all my life, in ev’ry step,
be fellowship with thee.

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