Caution in Times of Temptation
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God ….” (KJV)
“If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God….” (HNV)
– 1 Peter 4:11
If we want to speak only the things that are in alignment with God, there are particular times of weakness or temptation when we must be extra careful to choose our words wisely and perhaps even be quieter than is normal for us.
Here are just a few examples:
1.) When anxiety, stress, or extreme weariness are knocking on our door
2.) When we are in circumstances which tempt us to be afraid
3.) When our emotions are temporarily depressed and pressure us to give in to discouragement
4.) When we are feeling insecure or in need of recognition or approval
5.) When we are tempted to doubt
These are times to especially refrain from speaking whatever thoughts come into our heads. It isn’t always necessary to express how we feel; sometimes doing so just makes us feel worse and wreaks havoc on our faith. These are times to read more in the Word of God, speak aloud what it says, ask God for greater understanding of what we are dealing with, and focus on God’s faithful character. If we are weary, getting a good night’s sleep may be all that is needed to restore a better perspective, and if we have kept ourselves from speaking hasty words, in the morning we will be grateful for it.
There are less obvious times of temptation that we may not so easily recognize, because they are not necessarily negative, as discouragement or doubt would be. Social situations might fall into this category, because they can easily precipitate gossip, a loose tongue, or foolish talk, just because we don’t like embarrassing silences where nobody knows what to say. Maybe that’s not everybody’s problem, but it can be one for me!
I am not a big talker (at least orally), but there are a couple of verses I still have to remind myself of frequently:
Proverbs 10:19 – In the multitude of words there is no end to sin, but he who refrains his lips is wise.
Matthew 12:36, 37 – But I say to you that every idle word which men shall speak, they shall give account of in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
Those of us who are pastoral by nature may be tempted to try to “fix things” for hurting people. Our motive is love for them, but our sympathetic or soothing words may be applying Band-aids, when God wants to dig to the root of their hurts so that He can heal them. We can delay God’s work in their lives by saying positive things that are not really coming from the Lord. This is one more reason why care and discernment are needed, even when we intend to say good things.
Next time we will talk about positive words backed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the power they carry in others’ lives.
Speaking as the Oracles of God & Resisting Negative Words audio teaching (CD or mp3 download)