Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Ryun Chang who serves as AMI Teaching Pastor, was originally posted on February 4, 2013.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Work on Tongue in 2020”
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. 2 Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue—4 those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
A young pastor, speaking to a travel agent over the phone, was courteous at first, but grew increasingly impatient at the agent who, again, put him on hold in search of a better flight for a summer missions trip the pastor was planning. Thinking that the agent was away from the phone, he murmured, “What a dork!” The agent, having heard everything, let the pastor know of her dismay, which left the pastor speechless.
This pastor, to his credit, shared this unflattering story of himself in a sermon about not using our tongue to hurt people. James put it like this: “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 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” (James 3:8-10).
Today, remember to use your tongue, not to deceive or hurt others but to edify them! Examine your heart to see if you harbor any bitterness toward anyone (perhaps someone close). It is often our bitterness and resentment toward people that our tongue is used to denigrate and demean them. Would you confess your grievances against others to the LORD and pray for those individuals? And, as we are about to enter the New Year, plan to really work on your tongue.
Prayer: Dear God, I don’t know how many times I’ve hurt others with my tongue! While I thank You that I’ve already been forgiven, please remind me to use my words carefully and be honest in my dealing with people in my life. Please strengthen me!
Bible Reading for Today: Luke 13
Lunch Break Study
Read James 1:19-20: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God;
Luke 6:45: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks;
Eph. 4:25, 29: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another . . . 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Questions to Consider
- In view of James 1:19-20, what external factor is the leading cause of our verbalgaffes?
- According to Luke 6:45, what internal factor is the leading cause of our words that end up hurting others2?
- What’s the best policy when speaking or writing an email to someone about an issue (Eph. 4:25, 29)?
- We typically invert this: We are slow (i.e., not ready) to listen and quick to speak. Instead of responding to what the person actually said in its proper context, we jump on one or two things that we disliked and harp on them. It’s a perfect recipe for a big argument.
- The real cause behind the harmful use of our tongues is the heart; whatever words we speak are the overflow of what’s in the heart. And nothing can cleanse a soiled heart more thoroughly than a genuine repentance over our lack of love for others. Why should we do that? The apostle John would say, “We love because he first loved us” (Jn. 4:19).
- First, we evaluate the situation objectively and fairly (“put off falsehood”); second, we commit ourselves to speak truthfully (even if it’s disadvantageous to us); third, we think before we speak in order to eliminate unwholesome talk; fourth, we aim to say things that would be constructive and helpful to build others up according to their needs.
How did you use your tongue today? Did you encourage anyone? What did you say? Maybe it wasn’t a good day; what happened. Evaluate and pray for a better day tomorrow—and for 2020.