Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
In our previous series, we talked a lot about how powerful words are—and how we need to choose and use them carefully. Sometimes the things we think are true and need to be said, simply aren’t and don’t.
As a writer, there are words I’ve written to others that would have been better off left unsaid. Why? Because I was trusting my own judgment and opinion, believing I knew what was best for them, that they needed to hear what I had to say. That’s prideful, arrogant, and dangerous and has damaged some of my relationships in ways I wish I could take back.
On the other hand, there have been times when I didn’t speak up. I simply lacked confidence in my words, even though I knew what was on my heart to say was true and could have benefited those who would hear it (Ephesians 4:29). Choosing to stay silent in those situations also proved damaging.
It kind of sounds like there’s no winning, but there’s a big difference between those two situations—where I placed my trust.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
For anyone who has accepted Jesus as their Savior, God is with us always in the form of the Holy Spirit—and sometimes he speaks through us—if we let him. When we don’t trust what he has to say, we are withholding good from those around us.
So how do you tell the difference between words from your own judgment and words from the Holy Spirit? First, stop and consider them before you say them. Words that fly quickly are often the ones we regret the most. Next, consider the source—where are these words coming from? Are they rooted in something you can trust, like Scripture or the advice of a wise fellow Christian, or more likely, are they just something you feel is true? Even if you feel strongly about it, that doesn’t make it true. Ask yourself if the Bible and Jesus’ teaching support your feelings. Last, run it by the Ephesians 4:29 test: Is it good? Is it helpful? Will it benefit and encourage those who hear it?
If your source is trustworthy, the Bible supports it, and the words will be good, helpful, and encouraging to those who hear them (even if the message may be tough to hear)—have the courage to speak. Sometimes the Holy Spirit says difficult things through Christians who deliver his message with grace and compassion.
If you’ve accepted Christ into your life, God is with you, and he wants to speak through you.
Do you tend to struggle more with speaking your mind when you shouldn’t or not speaking up when you should? (Remember, we all do both at times.)
Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit spoke through you? How did it feel? What were the results?
To speak words that are good and wise, we must make sure we’re filled with the good and wise words of God. You can achieve this by watching a Bible-based, life-giving message every week (online or better still at church); reading your Bible daily (I recommend reading a Proverb a day on top of your usual devotional); joining a Group to develop authentic Christ-centered friendships where people can speak truth into your life (and you into theirs); or asking a wise, trusted Christian to be your mentor.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being present always. Thank you for the way you strengthen and carry me through challenges, taking what the enemy intends to hurt me with and, instead, using it to help me grow closer to you. Thank you for the times you’ve spoken through me. Give me the humility to hold my tongue when I’m tempted to speak out of my own foolish pride and sin nature, and give me the confidence in you that I need in order to speak out when the Holy Spirit prompts me. Help me to know the difference. May your will be done in me and through me. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently the apprentice copywriter at CedarCreek. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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