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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”—Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)
The Word of God is laced with wisdom about words and the power of the tongue. Yet, the verse for today has something interesting tucked inside of it. It says, “those who love it . . .” Love what? The tongue? Well, no. The “it” we are to love is wisdom.
We see this earlier in the chapter where it says, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook” (Proverbs 18:4 NKJV). This means our words have a tendency to pour out like a flood of muddy water; but when used wisely, they can be like a refreshing spring. And good water equals good fruit.
This verse is highlighted in my Bible because I often struggle with knowing what to say in a given situation, and more importantly, knowing the right (wise) thing to say. Anxiety creeps in, and before I know it, I have what my mother calls “diarrhea of the mouth.” Forgive the colorful language, but it illustrates how language can muddy the waters of communication when not filled with wisdom and grace. And muddy water equals unpleasant fruit.
Take note, wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Case in point: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. A person can know there is a God, but wisdom begins through the fear of God (Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom grows when we have a relationship with God and follow the commands of Christ. As we grow in grace through the daily watering of the Word, our faith is fertilized and our wisdom increases.
As ambassadors for Christ, we are compelled to use our words wisely. This is crucial in our marriages and families because we want to cultivate fruit (godliness). Perhaps that is why James, the brother of Jesus, had much to say about true wisdom and controlling the things we say. How much did a lifetime of being in the presence of Jesus influence his heart, flow through his words, and produce the invaluable wisdom and fruit of the Book of James? James shows us that wisdom from above is pure, gentle, peaceable, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality or hypocrisy (James 3:17). Ultimately, it is the wisdom and grace in the heart that puts a bridle on the tongue.
DIG: Read James chapter 3. What is the evidence of wisdom in a person’s life?
DISCOVER: Read one chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day. You’ll finish in a month. Note/circle/highlight how many times words and wisdom are referred to. How does the evidence of wisdom in a person’s life influence his or her communication?
DISPLAY: As you read these areas of Scripture, be prepared for the Holy Spirit to communicate with you. These impressions make room for growth. Pray for His guidance in each area and journal what you experience. You can later share with family and friends.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.