Throughout Scripture, God addresses the need for each of us to be aware of our words and all that comes from our mouths, through our lips and our tongues. King David knew that he could not trust his own power or wisdom to keep from sinning with his words. He was a “man after God’s own heart,” yet David desperately needed God to make him a man whose mouth also honored Him. I, too, am so very aware of my real and constant need for God’s mouth management over my words. And as did David, so I pray fervently for God to…
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. – Psalm 141:3
This is such a great, and a rightly humble and oh-so-very necessary, prayer for me to pray. For all who are followers of Christ. We need to invite God to guard our words, our tongues, our lips, and every single thought that motivated our speech in the first place! As followers of Jesus, we’re supposed to be ambassadors – message bringers – of God’s love and His words of grace and truth. Passionately, I want this to be true of me at every moment of every day. Sadly and humbly, I admit that it is not. Other words and other tones of voice come from me that do nothing to show the beauty and love of Jesus that have transformed my life.
The prophet Isaiah was given a magnificent and mysterious vision of the Lord seated on His throne surrounded and worshiped by angelic beings. When confronted with the holiness and majesty of the glory of God, Isaiah immediately confessed his sin. And what would this man of God, this prophet of the Most High God, need to confess? Sins of the mouth.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” – Isaiah 6:5
This problem of unclean lips is something that each of us honestly needs to address. It’s not just about having a “potty mouth.” So, if that’s not your particular sin of choice, good for you! However, whether our words and tones of voice come out in hateful ways, lying ways, gossiping ways, condemning ways, shameful ways, manipulative ways or prideful ways, we all need our God to intervene and interrupt us. This needs to happen even before our thoughts can be formed into words and spew out from our mouths. God’s intervention and interruption need to happen inside our hearts. Remember: the heart in biblical language encompasses all of our emotions, thoughts, motivations and actions. So, once our words – that have not been, first, filtered through God’s holy and loving mouth management – are out, it isn’t going to be pretty.
Sin is not ended by multiplying words [When words are many sin is not absent]. – Proverbs 10:19
We each need God to infuse our mouths, and our hearts, with His love, grace, truth, wisdom, peace, purity, humility, kindness, thankfulness and compassion. Our Lord Jesus, who is the Word of God, wants to guard our words and guard all others who would hear our words.
Will you invite God to manage your mouth today? And continually?
I will. And I’ll ask God to just keep me quiet altogether – just shut me up, when necessary!