Proverbs 31:26She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This means that acknowledging and respecting the incredible majesty of God's character is, for Christians, the foundation of wisdom. It causes us to obey His instructions, not just because we want to please our heavenly Father, but because we know it is best for us and our character - in fact, our whole person.

The facets of fear

  • Delight in the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 11:3)
  • The fear of the Lord is pure. (Psalm 19:9)
  • Friendship with God is for those who fear Him. (Psalm 25:14)
  • Let all the earth fear the Lord. (Psalm 33:1-8)
  • God will teach us to fear the Lord. (Psalm 34:9,11)
  • For Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to You. (Psalm 90:11)
  • Blessed are all who fear Him. (Psalm 128:1-4)
  • He delights in those who fear Him. (Psalm 147:11)

The only way to speak with wisdom is to fill our hearts with God's word. James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.”

learn to listenPeople with wisdom

  • They are loyal. (Proverbs 3:3)
  • They are kind. (Proverbs 3:3)
  • They trust in the Lord. (Proverbs 3:4-5)
  • They put God first. (Proverbs 3:4-5)
  • They turn their backs on evil. (Proverbs 3:7-8)
  • They know right from wrong. (Proverbs 3:13-15)
  • They listen and learn. (Proverbs 4:10-11)
  • They do what is right. (Proverbs 4:18-19)
  • They know where to find knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 8:1-5)
  • They hate pride, arrogance, corruption and deceit. (Proverbs 8:13)
  • They respect and fear God. (Proverbs 8:13)
  • They give good advice and have common sense. (Proverbs 8:14-16)
  • They welcome correction and are teachable. (Proverbs 9:7-9)
  • They know God. (Proverbs 9:10)

A controlled tongueThe benefits of wisdom

  • A long, satisfying life. (Proverbs 3:1-2.
  • Favour with God and people. (Proverbs 3:4-5)
  • A reputation for good judgement. (Proverbs 3:4-5)
  • Success. (Proverbs 3:6)
  • Health and vitality. (Proverbs 3:7-8)
  • Riches, honour, pleasure and peace. (Proverbs 3:16-17)
  • Protection. (Proverbs 3:24-26)
  • Riches and honour. (Proverbs 8:18)
  • Justice (Proverbs 8:18)
  • Righteousness. (Proverbs 8:18)
  • Life. (Proverbs 8:35)
  • God's favour. (Proverbs 8:35)
  • Continuous learning. (Proverbs 9:7-10)
  • Understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

The "joyful woman" knows not only that she has to keep her mouth shut at times (because words are so powerful) but, when she does speak, it has to be with the wisdom of God, not her own bright ideas or opinions. “The power of death and life is in the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) We must learn to be in charge of everything we say. It is “out of the abundance of our hearts that we speak”. (Matthew 12:34) We have to make sure that, what we have in our hearts in abundance, is something godly and pure.

Avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” (2 Timothy 2:16)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, 0 Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14.

This should be our prayer daily. We must train ourselves to speak only what God wants us to say; to build others up, never to tear them down. Even if we are in a position to give advice, to children or friends, we must always remember the positive and be gentle when we say it. If we think like Jesus (Philippians 2:5), then it is possible to speak with kindness and give wise counsel. Here are some pointers:

An uncontrolled tongueThinking like Christ

  • Avoid anger and hatred. (Matthew 5:21-22)
  • Have right relationships with God and others. (Matthew 5:23-26)
  • Control desires and be faithful. (Matthew 5:27-30)
  • Live out marriage commitments, day by day. (Matthew 5:31-32)
  • Avoid casual and irresponsible commitments to God. (Matthew 5:33-37)
  • Show mercy and love to others. (Matthew 5:38-47)

God spoke into the "empty wastes and darkness" and created the whole world. (Genesis 1:1-5) Speech has always been the power tool to create situations. Jesus spoke everything He did into being: healings, miraculous feeding, raising people from the dead. (John 11:14; 11:23-26; John 11:40-44) He spoke to demons with authority. (Mark 5:8-13) He spoke of His death. (Mark 8:31; Mark 9:30)

To experience ongoing healing, we have to make sure that we speak God's word in faith, moment by moment. Naming a symptom confirms and establishes it. As we focus increasingly on symptoms, the battle becomes harder. The accounts of the Roman centurion and his servant who needed healing (Matthew 8:5-10) and the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:28) emphasise the power of Jesus' speech in healing. When Peter responded to Jesus' command - "Come!" - he was able to walk on the water in the sea of Galilee. (Matthew 14:24-32) He only started sinking when his thoughts became focused on the size of the waves and the power of the storm. Even then, as he was sinking, Jesus still saved him! This is such an encouragement for us.

It's the same when we put our faith in Jesus for the first time. As we begin to tell others what we've done, our salvation is established. “If you confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:8-13) This is how our Christian lives began and this is how we need to continue on the journey, day by day: speak and believe; speak and believe!

Zachariah did not believe, when told by an angel, that his wife, Elizabeth was going to have a son. As a sign of his lack of faith, we was struck dumb until the baby (who later became John the Baptist) was born. Then he was given speech once more and was able to announce publicly: "His name is John!" (Luke 1:11; 1:19-20) The Shunammite woman kept her mouth shut when the special son that God had given her died. She remained silent until Elisha the prophet prayed and her son was raised from the dead. (2 Kings 4:8-37)

Whatever we are involved in - life, relationships, work - we need to remember that the power to make it fruitful and successful is right between our teeth. When faced with tough situations, it may help to ask a close friend (or someone you live with) to help you speak God's word into your circumstances and your own heart.

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