James 3:10 "And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.
Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!"
Hello righteous ones,
We are now entering into the heart of the book of Proverbs. The first 9 chapters were introduction, with the purpose of Proverbs found in 1:2-4, “Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.”(Prov.1:3 NLT).We need to remember that this book is a collection of wise sayings, not a highly organized thesis on how to get through life. The key to living out this wise advice is to know God. We cannot live out the truth of scripture apart from a work of God in our lives – regeneration through the new birth, affected by Holy Spirit. Declared “righteous” (a designation of God’s saints) only occurs when one believes and receives the finished work of Christ - repents of ones sins, and allows Jesus to be Lord of our life. Although Christ had not yet come to Earth at the time of the writing of these proverbs, it is clear from the contents that an intimate relationship with God and knowledge of His holiness was essential to carrying out the truths herein.
So here we are, in Chapter 10, right in the thick of the collection of wise sayings. At first reading, there appears to be no cohesion - just random thoughts. Yet, upon digging deeper, reading and re-reading, underlining, highlighting, circling repetition and other bible study techniques, there emerges a pattern; a theme. Surprisingly, the loud message first imparted to the reader is one of a proper use of the mouth/lips (verses 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, 32).
Are you convicted yet? I am! This tongue I possess seems so hard to control. I am constantly trying to tame it. It has been said, “your greatest gift is also your greatest nemesis”. With this tongue I praise God and preach His word, yet with it I also say the wrong things and sometimes hurt people. It’s like it just comes out of me! Where does that come from? A part of me that Jesus needs to purify. I know that I am definitely not as bad as I used to be. OH! When I think back at how I used to speak – always joking, ridiculing, slandering; definitely not edifying and building up. God has done a great work, but I am a work in progress. At the recent funeral of a dear brother in the Lord, many spoke of his patience, gentleness, and timely wisdom. He listened more than he spoke. He seemed to know what to say and when to say it. For that he was very much admired. He was an example!
As you read through Proverbs 10, (do so many times, in different translations) listen to the advice of Solomon regarding the use of the mouth. Remember, we are the godly ones, righteous because God has done and is doing a great work in us. That great work can be seen in the transformation of our speech. Can we use these verses as a check list to evaluate what we say before we say it? Will it build up or tear down:
- 10:11 The words of the godly lead to life (NLT)
- 10:13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding (NLT)
- 10:19 Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow! (NLT)
- 10:20 The words of the godly are like sterling silver (NLT)
- 10:21 The lips of the righteous nourish many (NIV)
- 10:31 The godly person gives wise advice (NLT)
- 10:32 The godly speak words that are helpful (NLT)