Me, my mouth and I
I'm going to add to an article I have run before (early
2000). It's as much a reminder to myself as anything, that the smallest member
of my being can often have the greatest impact...but why does my tongue seem to
have a mind of it's own? Someone once accused me of being like an old shoe...all
worn out except for the tongue.
I sometimes feel like standing up in the middle of a room of
'caring people' and confessing "I have a big mouth". You see I find it a
struggle obeying some very simple directives from our Master who made Himself of
no reputation. I don't necessarily want to be a big shot, I just automatically
'speak' as if I do. And as a person who desperately wants to be like Jesus I
sometimes feel I've missed the boat when I listen back to my verbal pushiness.
It's so easy to display how much you strive for acceptance from others -– via
things you say! Even in spiritual matters, I often forget that God's spirit
speaks to people, and that I do not have to go about trying to convince people
to tow my party line... The paradox is that within leadership one should give a
clear 'toot of the trumpet' so to speak, so that those following have clear
vision...but then not direct dependence to ones self -– for we are all
followers together of Christ Jesus. Because we are all in 'the making',
leaders and followers alike, our message should always be "To the extent that
I follow Jesus, follow my example". If we could do this, the trap of 'following
another man or woman' or being 'let down by a man or woman' would be seen
for what it is. I'm convinced that all too often, people in leadership roles
(Churches included) fall victim to pride because they take themselves far too
seriously...forgetting that 'God has many people He can use for His
Sociology has proclaimed it and I believe it: mankind has a
hang up with needing to get 'one up' on others...it happens in the natural,
and definitely happens in the spiritual. Last week I had a guy ask me if he
could pray for me. I sometimes decline such generous offers from people I don't
know, due to a numerous past experiences...even in prayer, some people will
attempt to take an advantage 'over you' (They do not address God on your
behalf -– they try to address and direct you...). Weird isn't it? I believe
this is why Jesus pushed the position of 'servanthood' to all who would
desire to lead -– it neutralises the desire to be 'one up', to be King. In
serving, we develop empathy...empathy which tempers self exaltation, and God
knows whether we humans openly display pride OR humility, he must develop
empathy within us!
Pride is the curse of humanity, and our tongues express and
expose openly (unfortunately) the abundance of our hearts...scary thought. I
might just take up gardening programs.
Many Bible verses instruct us to do things 'quietly or
privately' before God, and allow him to vindicate and bless as He pleases -
yet so often my natural default is to make a big show openly. I don't know
exactly why I do it -– and I'm thrilled that at the end of the day, God is at
work, changing and rearranging me to save me from my-self.
Matthew 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet and shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret, and thy Father
which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly"
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... Remember that the tongue expresses the intent of the heart.
James 3:6 outlines the situation for us: on earth we have some amazing animal
trainers who can tame beasts, birds and fish, but they can't do much with the
human tongue! We bless God with it, we curse men with it -– even though men are
made in the image of God...this really shouldn't be happening James says. I
agree in principle, but struggle in practice. And it is the practise God is
wishing to work in us -– because what our hearts believe is manifest in what we
Proverbs 18:4 "The words of a man's mouth are as deep
waters, and the spring of wisdom as a flowing brook". The flowing brook part I
think I've mastered, a bit more depth and wisdom would be great.
It's not self deprecation or false humility God desires -–
it's truth in the inward part which manifests itself in our tongues. It's
His gift of a transformed heart within us. We cannot even boast about this inner
'quiet', because it is a work only He can perform!!! May God continue to
prompt us, and grant us the courage to face our biggest 'demon' -– self!