This past weekend I was blessed with the ability to attend the True Woman 2016 conference “Cry Out!” in Indy. The first session I attended at the conference was taught by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She spoke on the topic of brokenness—my favorite study topic I have gone through so far. Needless to say, I was very excited the moment she shared what she would be speaking on.
I studied her book “Brokenness: the Heart God Revives” early last year with the ladies in my church. It was a book that changed my walk and my life, one that I will not ever forget. As Nancy began sharing the importance of being broken, humble before the Lord and those around us, she said we would be looking at three different stories in the book of Luke that displayed the characteristics of brokenness. These three stories were mentioned in her book, so I already knew what we would be covering. What I did not know was how God would use one of these stories to open my eyes.
The second story we read was in Luke 15:11-32; the parable of the prodigal son. I had read this story many times before, but this time was different. As we went through this parable and looked at the attitude of the prodigal, I noticed how similar his story was to mine, just not in a way I would normally think of.
The prodigal took his inheritance and went out into the world seeking pleasure, running away from his home to find enjoyment in a life of rebellion. But the fun came to an end, the money ran out, and he found himself at rock bottom. The son decided to humble himself and return home to repent and ask to become a servant in his father’s house. On his way back, while he was still a good distance away, his father saw him coming and ran to embrace him. Before the son could even get the words out to apologize, his father’s response was: “22 (speaking to his servants), ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Wow.
Though I’d heard this many times before, the grace the father showed his rebellious son really hit me. I began to cry when I realized that I am a prodigal child. I can find myself relying on things in the world to satisfy my desires instead of running to my Heavenly Father who is the only One that can satisfy all of my needs. Yet when I humble myself and repent, my Father is faithful to extend His grace, love, and mercy on me, even though I do not deserve it. This is such an incredibly humbling blessing.
I am so thankful that God used this message to speak to my heart in this way. Through this story I saw just a glimpse of how truly loving and gracious my God is. No matter how I fail, my Father is faithful to forgive when I repent and embrace me as I run into His loving arms.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
One of the biggest things I have battled with is thinking before I speak. I used to just say whatever popped into my head, no matter how rude or insensitive it was, without thinking of how my words could affect those around me.
Ephesians 4 verse 29 says; “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.” When reading this verse it is hard not to feel convicted about how I use my words. I should be speaking in a way that is kind, encouraging, and ultimately glorifying to God.
In James chapter 3 we read of how powerful our tongue truly is. “7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” In the book of Proverbs the author tells us that words can speak life or death; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Prov. 18:21). These verses show us just how difficult it can be to watch what we say and “tame our tongue.”
In the psalms we read of David calling out to the Lord for help with this very thing; “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps. 141:3). It is so important that we ask for the Lord’s help with this in our own lives. On our own we cannot successfully conquer this struggle, yet by God’s grace through the righteousness of Christ we are able to overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
When we take time to think before we speak, we are able to consider how our words can affect others—whether that is in a positive or negative way. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Prov. 16:24), “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 16:1). One of the biggest blessings I have experienced through trying to choose my words carefully is seeing the way that I can encourage others through words of affirmation. It is so wonderful to be able to encourage others through the words we speak!
As believers, our goal in life should be to bring glory to God in everything that we do—including how we speak. Though this can be hard at times, through prayer, studying the Word, and leaning on Christ, we can use our words to speak life into others and glorify God’s name.
One verse that is great to use when we pray is Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” It is simple, yet powerful. We should take time each day to ask God for His help to guide our speech and shape our hearts and minds to reflect Him.
How will you use your words today?