Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Shan Gian who is the Fenway Site pastor at Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on September 26, 2014. Shan is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“No More Putting My Foot in My Mouth”
Ecclesiastes 10:8-11 (ESV)
Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. 13 At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness–14 and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming– who can tell him what will happen after him.
When I was in college, I knew one brave sister who decided to give up sarcasm for Lent. I thought that this was a great idea, so I considered giving it a shot myself. But as I thought more about it, I realized how impossible this would be. To endeavor for 40+ days not to mock nor make any witty disparaging comments to anyone was too great a task for me, so I concluded that it would be easier not to speak for 40 days (but I didn’t do either one).
Solomon would likely have called someone like me a “fool,” but I don’t think I’m the only one, for James 3:8 says, “No human being can tame the tongue.” Maybe you don’t have a problem with sarcasm, but we all have said things that we regret; words that have offended or stumbled others. And what do we typically do when we’ve said something that we know we shouldn’t have said? We “multiply our words” and try to justify ourselves, digging our graves a little deeper. We are all fools when it comes to controlling our words.
James tells us, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19). This is a path to wisdom. The wise person listens first, learning and understanding what others are saying; and slow to speak, meaning they take time to process their thoughts and speak well. Also, he doesn’t speak with many words but with a few thoughtful words. Solomon tells us, “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious” (v. 12). While we will all struggle with the foolishness of our words, let us strive to be like the wise man and speak words of grace.
Prayer: Father, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts will be pleasing to You. We pray that You will set us free from the folly of our own lips. Give us the wisdom to speak words of grace and love towards others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 2:14-16: Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Questions to Consider
- What is it about grumbling or disputing that prevents us from being blameless and innocent?
- Why do we shine as lights in the world when we refrain from grumbling?
- How can you use your words to shine like lights in a dark world this day?
- Grumbling or complaining ultimately reveals a heart of discontentment towards God and his rule over our lives. It’s a declaration that we know better than God, and that is, of course, a sin of pride.
- If we “do all things without grumbling or disputing,” then we would shine brightly in the world since most people are constantly grumbling and complaining, dissatisfied with everything. (Just browse through some reviews on Yelp to see how dissatisfied and entitled people feel.) But if we as Christians can refrain from a heart and mouth of grumbling, we will stand out as people of joy, content with what we have and who we are in Jesus Christ.
- Consider how you can encourage someone today with your words.
Think about how you used your words today. Were you encouraging people with words of grace? Or did words of grumbling and complaining come from you? Take some time to reflect on your words and what it shows about your heart and relationship with God. Pray for wisdom and joy to overflow to the words you speak.