Proverbs 29:19-20 I remember my mother’s instructions, “Put your mind in gear before you start the motor of your mouth.” I’ve tried to follow that advice all my life, but sometimes I forget. When I do, I usually find that what I say in haste hurts others. Someone told me to roll my tongue around in my mouth twenty times before I speak. That also is good advice.
The Holy Spirit moves in a gentle way and speaks in a quiet voice. He does not press us into action. Instead He impresses our spirit with a gentle leading. Whenever we move in haste we are going the way of the enemy. Often our tongues are the weapon Satan uses to invade our souls. There is a proverb that says, “He that keeps his lips keeps his soul from troubles.”
When we speak in haste, we supply the enemy with a rapid-firing machine gun that does not even need reloading. Our mouth drives on before our minds get in gear. When our spirits are provoked, we speak unadvisedly. Psalm 106:32-33 says, “They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spake rashly with his lips.”
If you have provoked someone to anger, that situation can be defused right away if you say, “Wait a minute; I spoke in haste, and I ask your forgiveness for causing you to be upset.” A good scripture to meditate on before we begin our day is Ecclesiastes 5:2: “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.”
This scripture tells us that God has a lot more to say than we do, so we had better listen to Him before we speak. If we are listening to God before we speak, then our words will be few. He wants us to speak only those things that are true, lovely, of good report, pure and virtuous. This limits our conversation, doesn’t it? It also keeps us from speaking foolish words. “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more help for a fool than for him” (Prov. 29:20).
Lord, help me to hold my tongue. Sometimes I just rattle on and on, and when I do, I always say something wrong. Help me today to listen to You before I speak. You have things You want me to say to others.
READ: Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20