Stop Talking, Start Praying

Piranha Plant and Penguin Mario

I’ve realized over the years that sometimes it’s best to keep my mouth shut. Our tendency to speak without thinking comes naturally. When your family says something that bothers you, it can be easy to go on autopilot and snap at them like a piranha plant.

Angry words aren’t the only thing that gets us into trouble. Boasting or bragging about the good things we do is also bad news. Ironically, it reduces the value of the good thing we did in the first place.

It pays to watch our words. Words have the power to hurt or heal! Having a big mouth can get us in all sorts of trouble! How much trouble? Keep reading to hear my thoughts!

A Small Spark

Shh!

James 3:1-8 (ESV)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,

but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

A fire capable of setting a great forest ablaze. A world of unrighteousness. A restless evil, full of deadly poison. Those are some strong statements! I believe, these words are so bold for a good reason.

The words we speak are a big deal! In many ways, they define us. More than our looks. More than the friends we hang out with. More than the religion we claim. Our words show others who we are, and what we believe.

Are we exhibiting love with the words we speak? Are we demonstrating the love of Jesus that we claim to follow? Even a small spark, can set an entire forest ablaze. A few words can change the course that we are on. Words can change what others see in you. What do we let slip through our mouths on a day to day basis?

It’s likely that many unbelievers have their eyes on you. That’s because, to them, you are a representative of what it means to be a Christ follower. Don’t ruin that opportunity. Guard your heart. Watch your tongue.

It’s unfortunate that more people don’t look at the Bible. They don’t try to understand who Jesus is. If more unbelievers looked to Jesus first, they might have a change of heart.

What often times really happens is, people look to those who claim to be Christians. If you claim to follow Christ, it is your personal responsibility to make sure that those people can see Jesus in your life and actions. (Are you completing quests?)

One more time:

If you claim to follow Christ, it is your personal responsibility to make sure that those people can see Jesus in your life and actions.

Don’t be a false representative!

One Mouth and Two Faces

Two Face

James 3:9-12 (ESV)

9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?

12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

I have advice for all you superheroes out there. Don’t be Two-Face! He’s a villain!

Two-Face has a trademark coin that he often flips. Depending on which side it lands on, he will either act out of cruelty or mercy. Obviously Two-Face is still a bad guy, despite his fifty percent chance of mercy.

In the same way; some people claim they love God, but run around insulting other people. Don’t flip a coin to decide who you are going to be today. Don’t be a gossip. Don’t talk behind peoples back. Because if you are only acting out of love half the time, you probably aren’t really acting out of love at all.

Find the heart issue, and stop that nonsense!

Stay Humble

Yellow Pikmin

James 3:13-18 (ESV)

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The last part of James 3 is really cool. Not only is it important to keep a handle on what you say, but also to do it for the right reasons. If you help someone, don’t do it so that everyone can see how great you are. Don’t post your name on a big billboard. Do it to help, not to be noticed as a helpful person.

The verses below do a much better job than I do of capturing this message. The message is both challenging, and beautiful. It cuts to the point, and I love that. Read them and enjoy. They are some of my favorites.

Matthew 6:1-6 (ESV)

1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

New Quest Available!

Read all of Matthew 6 Here!

Some of you may be wondering how any of this could possibly have anything to do with the picture of a yellow Pikmin above. In my opinion, Pikmin are humble little dudes. They risk their lives to help Captain Olimar rebuild his ship. They ask for no reward. They just want to help.

They don’t think that they deserve anything in return. They just simply act out of love.

We should be kind of like Pikmin. We should serve God and others because we love them. We shouldn’t serve God so that we can be blessed. We shouldn’t serve God so that we can get rich. To me, that’s really missing the point.

Yes, God blesses us. Yes, that’s a great thing. No, it shouldn’t be our motivation.

On the same note, we aren’t blessed because we deserve anything. Our blessings are gifts from a loving God.

A Few Proverbs

I always encourage you to read the Bible in context. Here are a few Proverbs that are significant to this article, but are just pieces of a full book. Feel free to read the entire chapters, or all of Proverbs, in your own Bible study time.

Proverbs 10:19 (ESV)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 17:28 (ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 29:20 (ESV)

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

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV)

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 14:23 (ESV)

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

Proverbs 13:3 (ESV)

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Want more? Read all of Proverbs 15.

 

If you’ve read this article up to this point: You’ve read all of James 3, the beginning of Matthew 6, and several verses in Proverbs! That’s great!

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Thanks for reading! Keep an eye on your mouth (not literally or you’ll go cross-eyed), and I hope you have a great week!

Love you guys, and praying for you!

-Caleb

Gamerfaith

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BibleMario Penguin Piranha PlantShh!, Two FacesYellow Pikmin

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