ODJ: Words of Life

September 10, 2017 

READ: Prov. 10:11-14,18-21 

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29).

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” This witty, humorous saying has been popularly attributed to both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. Three millennia earlier, Solomon, the wisest man of his time (1 Kings 4:29-34), gave us this take: “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28).

Writing of the bane of using too many words and the virtue of becoming a person of wise speech, Solomon cautions us, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut” (10:19).

Our speech reveals who we really are. It’s through our words that we’re deemed to be a wise and God-honouring person or a foolish and evil person. A wise person is careful and timely in speech, speaking pleasant words that instruct and encourage others (Proverbs 10:20-21, 15:4,7,23, 25:11). A godly person “thinks carefully before speaking” (15:28). “A truly wise person uses few words” (17:27), whereas “the mouths of fools are their ruin; [trapping] themselves with their lips” (18:7). If we keep silent, we’ll avoid saying the wrong thing and will even be thought to be wise (10:19, 17:28).

Jesus said that our words come from our hearts and reveal if our hearts are good or evil. “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45). He warned that we’re accountable “for every idle word [we] speak” (Matthew 12:36). But in Jesus, we also have the perfect example of speaking words of life. May He give us what we need to follow His way with words today!

—K.T. Sim

365-day-plan: Matthew 25:31-46

Read Matthew 12:36 and consider what “idle words” you’ve spoken recently. 
Who might you speak “good and helpful words” to this week? (Ephesians 4:29). How do your words reflect who you are? How do they reflect on Jesus?