7 February 2013

Devotional: Habits of Speech

"4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,"
1 Timothy 1:4-6

These few verses are so relevant to me. They make me question the subject of my speech.

What do I talk about most?
How do I talk about it?
Why do I talk about it?
Should I be talking about it?
And must I change the habits of my speech?

Verse 4 notes that some subjects cause disputes rather than godly edification.

I spent some time meditating on this, and realized that there are definitely some parts of my speech are not godly or edifying. They include:

  • Complaining
  • Criticism
  • Quick judgment
Verse 5 brings some very important steps to my attention.
Perhaps, just perhaps, if I "LOVE from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith", then godly edification will flow from my mouth??

I want to change that "perhaps" to "surely". Surely my speech will be godly when my heart is full of love?

Verse 6 points out that some people (may I say, all of us, at one point o r another?!) stray from love and purity and faith and godly speech, and turn instead to "idle talk".

For me, idle talk includes the amount that I lament about my life. I am quick to complain about what people do or say to me; what happened yesterday; how uncaring people are; how one coffee shop never, EVER gets the entire order right ;-) You know what I mean!

Another example is when I say or think that I do better than other people. So often I look at the way things are done and immediately see the failings. As a fairly organised person, something I do very regularly is see how others coordinate events or plan their time, and think of the ways that I would do it differently - aka, better.

Idle talk can simply be a quiet, off-hand judgment. Have you ever turned to the friend next to you and commented about what such-and-such is wearing or doing (in a negative way), even when you don't even really know that person? I sure have. If I don't know someone much deeper than a surface-level "hello, how are you?", surely I have no right to make a quick judgment about their dress code or actions!

So how can I be more edifying?

  • When I am about to complain, realize that I am not perfect
  • Replace criticism with thankfulness
  • Look deeper into people before judging
I want my heart and life to be like Christ's, and my speech is one area I know that I need to improve!

What are some areas of speech that you struggle with?
How can you make your speech more edifying?

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