Prudent Speech

Do you see a man hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29:20

There are a select few that are sagacious with their words. Many of us pour out of our mouths streams of words. Many people have the gift of gab – the ability to speak on any subject. Once you start a conversation with them, they can carry it for days. Some don’t have this gift, but still practice lingual negligence. We speak when we need to shut up. We don’t speak when we need to scream. We put forth a plethora of words, many times without even thinking before about what is coming out of our mouths. How many of us are guilty of this?

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Christ Jesus was one that never minced words. In fact, by His own lips He said that His words are life because they are Spirit. He actually claimed that He says nothing out of His own mind, but everything comes from the Spirit of God. Then, at another time, Jesus said that we would be judged by every idle word that comes out of our mouths. Have you ever doted upon that? Mete on it for a moment. Every idle word… What about the words that are not idle? What about the words that are premeditated? I think the point is being made: every word, whether we think about what we’re saying or not.

If Jesus was one that would not speak a single word without its inception being from the Spirit of God, what then shall we say of ourselves? Paul said that he desired to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. What shall we say of ourselves, who are not the Son of God nor apostles? We don’t have such a caliber of character as they, and yet we find even they are making statements about a choosing of their words and understanding. If Paul desired to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified, what then must his words have been enriched in?

The art of prudence is lost to our generation. We often don’t think about the future, let alone act according to that thought. Of the famous music on the radio currently, we hear song after song about not thinking about what happens next. Let’s worry about that when it comes, for now we want to party all night and sex it up until our bodies explode from erotic bacchanal. If our actions are so unpremeditated and without intuition, how many of our words are the same?

Jesus had said that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. That, of course, supposes that our hearts are overflowing. But what is it overflowing with? We simply need to check out our words to know the answer to that. Think back on the past conversations that you’ve had. Think back upon the arguments or the reactions that you’ve had. What comes out from your mouth – whether in the good or the bad moments? How much was simply verbiage to fill the air, or make your point, or show how the person that you’re speaking with is wrong? How much was the weighty overflow of the Spirit of God that brings a glory out of your lips?

Out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth speaks. I’m becoming acutely aware of the need to speak less, yet in those fewer words speak much more. There are a few that I know that when they speak, it is some of the most precious words that you’ve ever heart. And when they listen to you speaking, they actually listen. There isn’t the hope of listening so they can respond. There isn’t the hope of listening so that they can then tell you their opinion. They actually listen. Why?

They listen to you because they themselves are more accustomed to not speaking unless they have something to say. When you have others around you that are in like manner, then when someone speaks up, why wouldn’t you listen? This is the very heart and soul of the person. To listen to the words of what a man or woman speaks is to listen to the very heart of that person. When their heart is given over to vanity, their words will reflect it. But there is a glory that comes when we “desire to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”

I’m striving for the latter. Many times I find myself listening to sermons, watching movies, talking to people, and I just want them to get to the point. They spend an hour talking, and yet there is barely anything said. The void isn’t filled simply because we’ve spoken. I know some that can speak for five minutes and say more than those that get up on Sunday morning and speak for an hour. The biggest need in our day is not to teach people more information about the Bible and the Gospel. The people aren’t ‘over-gospeled.’ They are actually under-gospeled. Our words aren’t weighty enough because we haven’t spent enough time listening to the Spirit and not speaking until that word is birthed in our heart out of the waiting.

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