Five Reasons To Eat Your Words

Sugar Lips
Taste the flavor of your words before you spit them out.

As we all know, words can be either helpful or harmful.

It is extremely important for everyone to examine the content of their speech before they let their thoughts escape their lips. While this is a lesson that most people should have learned at an early age, unfortunately there are many individuals who are quite careless about the things they say. Sometimes those of us who try to be careful in this area can be capable of accidentally offending someone, or simply saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Within the confines of human nature, it is a difficult challenge to tame the tongue.

Let’s take a look at five reasons why it is necessary for us to eat our words on a daily basis:

  1. Words are verbal symbols of objects or actions.

What most people seem to forget is the simple fact that words are tools to represent things. As an avid lover of the English language, I thoroughly understand the truth that all words have a very distinct, specific meaning. Therefore, it confuses me to no end when I hear people around me using profanity, since those words are usually unpleasant. This is especially true when I hear people using curse words that refer to bodily functions or other vulgar things that should never be mentioned. Instead of preaching at those who commonly use profanity, I would just ask them one question: Would you still use those disgusting words if the objects they represent literally came out of your mouth?

Think about it – would you really want something nasty to emerge from your mouth just because you weren’t being careful about what you were saying? I know it’s a bit of an extreme metaphor, but it’s an accurate depiction of what occurs when people choose to use vulgar profanity. Once a particular bad word is spoken, an image of the object it represents is planted in the mind of the person who hears it, just because of its common association. The result is a distasteful mental picture, all because one person did not make any effort to use decent, polite vocabulary. Instead of resorting to using profanity to express yourself, try to challenge yourself to use accurate, precise vocabulary words for the sake of being courteous to those around you.

2. Words can stay in people’s minds for the rest of their lives.

I believe that everyone who has ever lived has been guilty of saying something they shouldn’t have in a heated moment of anger, or at the very least speaking without thinking how it will affect someone else first. While you can always apologize for something you said to another person, your apology may not necessarily guarantee their forgiving you. Even if they do the honorable thing by forgiving you, it is unlikely that they will forget what you said to them anytime soon. No matter how much time might pass, or what you might try to do to compensate that person, the damage has already been done, and there is nothing you can do to reverse any emotional scars your words might have caused. It makes no difference whether you said something in haste or not; once spoken, your words can never be taken back.

While every person has the ability to make their own choices in life, hurtful words can still affect the outcome of a person’s decisions. Since most people are born with a natural desire to please others and be accepted, anything and everything they are told can be taken to their heart, whether they like it or not. Man’s opinions are fickle things; but how a person’s heart and mind responds to those opinions is not easily changed. The truth is, all people are sensitive deep down, even if they make an effort not to show it. Therefore, it is highly important that we show the utmost respect to everyone around us by being very careful with the things we say to them, since we never know how strongly our words might affect them.

3. Words and the way we use them define who we are as people.

Whenever you hear someone speaking with an accent, you can usually tell where they are from, especially if it is a very strong accent. The same thing applies to the words we use – our speech allows others to determine our level of education, our cultural background, and our character. Of course, for every occasion there is an appropriate style of formality in which we should use our speech. For example, the type of casual conversation you would carry with your friends at a party is quite different from the professional way of speaking that would be expected of you at a job interview. Instead of laughing it up and joking around with a potential employer, you would want to portray yourself in the most polished, refined way possible. Doing so will cause them to perceive you as mature and respectful. You should want your words to benefit you in all of life’s many different situations.

Also, the words you use every day will give your community a reflection of your testimony. If your words are positive, uplifting, helpful, and kind, then people will be more likely to say good things about you. If your words are negative, discouraging, contrary, and unkind, however, then people will be more inclined to say bad things about you. However, it is important to use good words for the sake of your own testimony, since people will always tend to criticize you no matter what you do or say. Your testimony in your local community is quite valuable, especially if you claim to be a Christian. The things you say are ultimately a reflection of the contents of your heart, as the Bible says. As a Christian, you are an ambassador for Christ to the world around you. Keeping your speech pure and your words honorable is one of the best ways to make God’s light shine brightly from your heart.

4. Words used in the appropriate time and context can be very powerful.

You’ve probably heard the saying “silence is golden” before. The main reason that phrase is so humorous and popular is because most of the time, the world around us is incredibly noisy! There are people who love to talk, and then there are those who just love to hear themselves talk. It doesn’t take very long to discern the difference between someone who is sociable and someone who is domineering. Sadly, many people think that for their friendships to last, they must be with someone who loves to talk just as much as they do, labeling any others who have a more quiet nature as “boring.” This unfortunate misunderstanding comes from these people choosing quantity over quality. It is far better to use fewer words in a meaningful way than to talk excessively and make white noise.

For example, if you have friends who are going through a very stressful situation in their lives, they would find you to be much more helpful to them by just listening to their problem instead of volunteering your input. Remaining silent as they tell you about the difficult time they’re experiencing is better than trying to fix their problem without knowing all the facts. However, your friends would be extremely grateful to you if you said something encouraging, genuine, and heartfelt to them once they are through explaining their rough circumstances to you. You never know just how much your appropriately timed words might mean to them while they are fervently seeking for hope in their life.
5. Words are a gift from God, and should be used to honor Him, not disrespect Him.

All language and forms of communication are direct gifts from God, and serve as evidence that we are all created in His divine image. However, because man chose to rebel against God back in the garden of Eden, he tainted the divine image in which he was created with sin, losing his former respect for God and taking the gift of language for granted. Because of this lack of respect for God, man began to take God’s holy Name in vain, exchanging its powerful association for a common curse word. Of course, God was not pleased by this whatsoever; and as a result of man’s wickedness, He made one of the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Apparently it was such a prevalent issue back in Bible times that God literally had to set it in stone. Sadly, it is still a huge problem today, even with many Christians. God’s Name should only be used in a respectful way when people are talking to Him in prayer or praising Him.

When people take God’s Name in vain, they are forgetting that He is a real Person with feelings and emotions just like we have. Taking God’s Name in vain is essentially the same thing as hearing someone call out your name, only to hear them say “Never mind,” when you reply. Imagine if someone kept repeating your name many times, and each time you say “What?” the person just says “Nothing,” for the sole purpose of annoying you. You would most likely be tempted to lose your temper with them for wasting your time. Well, that’s how God feels every time someone decides to take His Name in vain as profanity. Most importantly, it offends God because people are using His powerful, holy Name as a cheap way of sinning, by turning it into a form of corrupt communication known as cursing. The blameless Name of God Almighty should never in any way be associated with the very thing He detests the most – sin. God specifically warns people in His Word that He will not hold people guiltless who take His Name in vain. A much better alternative to say is the word “goodness” in place of the perfect, pure Name of God.

 

Here are God’s own Words to help us to make better choices in selecting our words:

 

Ephesians 4:29 ~ “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 5:4 ~ “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

Proverbs 25:11 ~ “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Proverbs 16:24 ~ “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

Exodus 20:7 ~ “Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.”

Psalm 12:6 ~ “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 ~ “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Matthew 12:36-37 ~ “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

James 3:6 ~ “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Proverbs 21:23 ~ “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

2 Timothy 2:14 ~ “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”

Luke 6:45 ~ “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Colossians 4:6 ~ “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

What’s the flavor of the words you’re using?

Now that we’ve discussed five reasons we should eat our words, we should be more conscious about the flavor of the words we speak. Just like people prefer sweet and salty flavors with real food, Christians have the best tasting speech when their words match those same flavors also. Just like a chocolate-covered pretzel, we should be sweet to others around us by showing God’s love in our words, but also salty by preserving our Christian testimony when people ask us about our faith. Don’t be like some Christians whose words taste like vinegar due to their bitterness; but rather a perfect balance of good flavors to edify and build up the people in your life. So before you serve other people a meal made of your thoughts, make sure you taste and swallow them in your mind first! The Master Chef of course should be the Holy Spirit inside you, Who will let you know whether or not he approves of the way your words taste. Don’t feel discouraged, as this subject is something ALL of us must work on daily, myself included. If I can refine my speech with God’s help, then I know that you can too; you just have to trust Him and believe in His amazing power.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

 

 

Canning the Cravings

Crushed Coke Can
Instead of filling up on emptiness, we should quench our thirst for fulfillment with God.

Do you ever find yourself craving something?

Usually, people have cravings for certain foods, activities, or music, depending on whatever mood they’re experiencing. Most people live off of coffee, tea, or energy drinks; but my main caffeine source comes from soda. Since a very young age, I have loved the bubbly, fizzy, sweet taste of carbonated liquid sugar, equating its delightful properties to a magic potion. Being very imaginative, I always like to pretend that the soda I’m drinking is a special substance found only in fairy tales, such as a divine nectar produced by fairies. Aside from the fantasies of my mind, my soda addiction certainly isn’t helped by the prolific advertising campaigns of the mass corporations that market my favorite brands. Almost everywhere you go, you can find the logo of my favorite sodas plastered across billboards, race cars, posters, t-shirts, and a large variety of other media serving as a commercial canvas.

However, one day I noticed a significant difference.

As a teenager, whenever I was thirsty, a can of my favorite soda was my go-to beverage of choice. Like most other young adults, I could bond with other teens my age through a mutual love of the same sodas, even if we had nothing else in common. Being a rabid fan of a specific brand of soda meant that you were cool, since that’s what everyone else was drinking. Several years later, I was a sophomore in college at home during Christmas break, reveling in my favorite food and drinks that I had been deprived of during the previous semester. I took a drink of one of my favorite sodas, and noticed something different that I had never been aware of before – even though liquid entered my mouth, it still felt dry and sticky, with my thirst unsatisfied.

I realized that no matter how many drops of soda I drank, my thirst would ultimately never be quenched, because the caffeinated contents were dehydrating my body. As most health experts will tell you, soda consumed in large quantities can have quite a damaging effect on your body. Without turning this post into a nutrition or diet-themed lecture, I will simply state that from that day forward, I made a solid decision to drink less soda than I had been all the previous years of my life. I am currently trying to make water my main source of hydration in an effort to be healthier and improve my quality of life. Sometimes, I tend to relapse and find myself drinking lots of soda all over again; but when that happens, I try to turn myself around right back where I left off, forcing my brain to choose only water when it recognizes that I am thirsty.

In a similar way, my struggle with soda can be compared to putting aside the flesh.

Every person who has ever existed came into this world with desires. No matter how many desires people have, or what type of desires they may be, all of us are connected by one single desire –

fulfillment.

God created us with an inherent need for fulfillment because he wanted His creations to be drawn back to Him, no matter how far they might stray. If we were all made to be self-sufficient, we would have no need for God whatsoever; but the truth is that we are incapable of being self-sufficient. You see, the very fact that we were created by God means that we are dependent on Him: we cannot even have life at all without Him. Those who choose to deny this biblical truth and advocate the atheistic doctrine of evolution instead are only fooling themselves, preferring to live in darkness instead of light.

At the end of a long day at work, most people will automatically turn to their favorite interests and hobbies to relax themselves, wanting to think about as little as possible. Christians are no exception, as I am prone like others are to immediately engage myself in electronics, television, books, or literally anything else besides reading my Bible and praying. It is indeed a natural instinct to do so, since the flesh always demands to be satisfied before anything else. However, there have been many nights that I have sadly discovered that I have neglected to spend time with the God Who loves me far more than I could ever deserve. I lie down in my bed to rest before the next day, and then I suddenly realize that I have left no part of my day reserved for acknowledging God.

The problem lies in misplaced priorities and misunderstanding.

Just like my addiction to soda, our tendency to put self first and God last comes from being ignorant about what is truly good for us. In our flesh, we think that we can satisfy ourselves by doing whatever we feel like at any given moment, when in reality we are just perpetuating a vicious cycle. God designed us to need Him, and the more we keep ignoring that need, the more we’re going to feel a gaping hole inside of us. There is an intrinsic void that only He can fill inside of every human being, whether saved or unsaved. We were created for God’s pleasure, and we were meant to spend time with Him to give us our much-desired fulfillment. When we do spend time with Him, we can discover that we have been depriving ourselves of what was meant to be ours the whole time – lasting peace and contentment.

The solution can be achieved through a method of replacement.

The first step I took in overcoming my addiction to soda was replacing the urge to drink it by choosing water instead. Likewise, the most effective way to overcome the natural, selfish instincts of the flesh is by replacing them with spiritual activity, such as praying and reading God’s Word. To help myself make spending time with God a priority, I’ve been trying to set aside time for Him immediately after I come home from work. That way, my heart and my mind can be refreshed through the replenishing waters of God’s presence. Instead of choosing to surf the internet or play games with no point to them, my mental energy has a redirected purpose when I decide to spend time getting to know God better. I realize that all of us are different, so some people might prefer to take a different approach that works better for them; and that is totally fine. However, I would encourage you to use this strategy: Whenever you are inclined to do something else with your free time, spend time with God first. That way, you will not be filling up on emptiness, but instead the rest of your day will have meaning and purpose.

 

Here are God’s Words to encourage you to fill yourself with Him regularly:

 

John 4:13-14 ~ “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Jeremiah 31:25 ~ “”For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”

Psalm 17:15 ~ “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Psalm 63:1-5 ~ “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:”

Isaiah 55:1-2 ~ “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

Ephesians 3:19 ~ “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ecclesiastes 4:16 ~ “There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Romans 8:19-20 ~ “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,”

Jeremiah 2:5 ~ “Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Acts 14:15 ~ “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:”

Psalm 42:1-2 ~ “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”

Ephesians 4:22 ~ “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”

Galatians 5:16-18 ~ “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

 

Canning our cravings will always be a work in progress.

While it is possible to permanently change physical habits over a period of time, changing our spiritual habits will always be a struggle. However, I do not say this to discourage you; but rather to encourage you to always rely on God for His help. Remember, we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. Overcoming the natural cravings of the flesh by replacing them with spiritual habits is expected to be challenging, thus emphasizing how much we really do need God in our everyday lives. Just keep in mind that achieving success in anything we desire is dependent on keeping a positive mindset. Whenever you need help in this area, remember that God is always just a prayer away. He is more than happy and willing to give you the victory in overcoming the flesh with the spirit. I am still learning to kick the proverbial soda can on all of my bad habits, both physical and spiritual. If I can learn how to change my ways with God’s help, then I know that you can too.

– Gloria D. Hopkins