Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs 23:7’

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

May 25, 2018

James 1-19

Found in James 1:19, Verse of the Day for May 25, 2018 offers these words of wisdom in the New King James Version:

[Qualities Needed in Trials] So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

Here are two additional renderings:

New Living Translation (NLT):

[Listening and Doing] Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Amplified Bible (AMP):

19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

A previous blog post connected this verse with a discussion based on the expression “Think before you speak” where the verb “T-H-I-N-K” formed an acrostic of questions we should ask before opening our mouths to speak.

In addition, Proverbs 17:28 in the Amplified Bible makes this astute statement regarding speaking, or rather, not speaking:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent

Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) also speaks of the center of our thoughts:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

This verse is coupled with this sobering reminder from Luke 6:45 in the Amplified Bible:

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” We should be very concerned about the words that we speak since “life and death” is in

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

We desire life and long to see good all our days,

So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

Indeed, James 1:19 offers sound advice for us to heed, so aptly stated in a three-prong approach to life:

Be quick to hear [a ready listener],

Be slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words . . .]

Be slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

Taylor McCall offers a musical rendering of James 1:19-27 from which the Verse of the Day is taken.

 

 

 

 

THINK before you speak

June 28, 2014

Think before you speakRecently the Office Manager at Carolina College of Biblical Studies, Pam Recod, shared an intriguing acrostic based on a statement that she has shared with her children as they were growing up. The words of wisdom that she imparted centered on this statement: “THINK before you speak.”

When written as an acrostic, the word “T-H-I-N-K” was broken down into a series of questions.

Instead of reflecting on the Verse of the Day for June 28, 2014, I have composed a devotional based on the statement: “Think before you speak.” I then looked for scriptures related to each of the questions asked in the acrostic.

“THINK before you speak.”                                            

This particular statement immediately brought to mind James 1:19:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

The Amplified Bible renders the verse in this way:

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry

Proverbs 17:28 in the Amplified Bible makes this astute statement regarding speaking, or rather, not speaking:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent

Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) also speaks of the center of our thoughts:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

This verse is coupled with this sobering reminder from Luke 6:45 in the Amplified Bible:

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “Thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” We should, therefore, always “Think before you speak” and ask these questions:

T     Is it true?

In every situation we want always to speak the truth, and so we ask this question before we open our mouths in response: “Is it true?” We are always looking to the Word of God as our standard for what is true:

Psalm 19:9 declares:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 119:160 reiterates this truth:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Whenever we open our mouths to speak we want to be a “true witness,” as Proverbs 14:25 indicates:

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

Jesus Christ made this statement in John 17:17:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

H   Is it helpful?

The words that we speak should be helpful, as Romans 14:19 reminds us:

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Colossians 4:6 also offers this encouragement regarding the words we speak:

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Ephesians 4:29 reinforces the same message:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

I   Is it inspiring?

The words that we speak can build up or tear down; they can encourage or discourage. Before we speak, we should ask, “Will what I say inspire and motivate those who hear me?”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 offers these words of encouragement:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do

Believers are also exhorted to “admonish one another” in Romans 5:14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

A similar expression is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

A Bible study from Xenos Christian Fellowship explains that to admonish is to “apply moral correction through verbal confrontation which is motivated by love.” We should always endeavor to speak the truth in love which involves “Communication of God’s truth in love in ways that strengthen Christians to go on following God’s will.”

N Is it necessary?

Although the Scriptures encourage us to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks (I Peter 3:15), we may encounter situations whereby we should “hold our peace” and say nothing. Indeed, there are occasions when it may not be necessary to say what we have in mind. Indeed, Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking.

In exercising the grace of God, some believers may feel that they can say whatever they think whenever they want to. 1Corinthians 10:23 calls to our attention this truth:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

In life we all may encounter situations where it may be better to say little or nothing, as we ask, “Is it necessary?”

K Is it kind?

Most remarkably, what we put into our minds is what comes out of our mouths. Colossians 3: 12-14 (AMP) exhorts us:

12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

 13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

 14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

If we put kindness into hearts and minds, then the what we say and what we do will clothed with kindness, as we follow Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:32:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If we are endeavoring to speak the truth in love, we can be assured that what we speak will be kind because “love is kind.” (I Corinthians 13:4)

And so we have endeavored to answer the five questions which form the acrostic based on the statement: “ ‘T-H-I-N-K’ before you speak.”

The essence of the message of this post is captured in this song by Fernando Ortega, “Let the Words of My Mouth”:

 

To be who you want to be: pay the price

June 2, 2014

Proverbs 23--7

“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” This thought-provoking quote by Mignon McLaughlin brought to mind another familiar saying, “Everything has its price.” Many times we have a mental picture of ourselves as we would ideally like to be. The road to success in going from the “real” to the “ideal” can be quite arduous. It takes considerable time, energy, and effort to bring those mental pictures into reality. To achieve success in any endeavor, one must be willing to pay the price.

In the public speaking classes that I teach, I sometimes introduce the concepts of affirmation and visualization, whereby students can improve their speaking ability through using these techniques: through what they say about themselves and how they see themselves. Claude M. Bristol states, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” In addition, Paul J. Meyer says, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon… must inevitably come to pass!” In Mark 11:24 in the Amplified Bible, Jesus Christ boldly declares:

For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

I encourage my students to spend a few quiet minutes each day visualizing themselves as successful in speaking before the public or in whatever activity they may undertake. I also encourage myself by speaking positive affirmations and developing positive mental images of the person that I desire to become.

Many times in the morning as I rise to use the bathroom and refresh myself to start the day, I often recite a statement made by Kim Clement, as I look in the mirror and wash my hands: “I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now. . .” I go on to attach this personal addendum: “But right now, I’m looking good!”

The mental picture that you carry of yourself is what you will become. The Scriptures confirm that “As a man thinks in heart so he is.” As believers we are to look into the mirror of the Word of God to see who God says we are.

The recent documentary series on “The Sixties” shown on CNN brought to mind that pivotal decade that formed the backdrop for my coming of age as a Christian believer who was impacted by The Jesus Movement. I recall the lyrics to one of the songs written and performed by the Christian rock group of that era Cookin Mama: “You can be who you want to be/when you find out who you are.” Lyrics from another song from Ted Ferrell also make known this truth:

You are what God says you are

Just believe it and you’ll go far

Don’t sit around feeling blue

You can do what God says you can do

As I reflect upon my life that continues to unfold as a scroll, I see that I am still in the process of becoming the man I have desired to be. In the midst of these most turbulent times of crisis and seemingly overwhelming circumstances, I anchor myself in the truth of God’s Word that tells me in no uncertain terms exactly who I am. In the last stanza of the poem “Be Still and Know” I refer to “the man I thought I could be.”

Be Still and Know

Psalm 46

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams have faded and long since gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.

These scenes will reveal the man I thought I could be,

As words of the Psalmist comfort and remind me,

When this life is over and all is said and done:

Be still and know that I am God.

 

The accompanying video by Steven Curtis Chapman is inspired by Psalm 46:10, the verse from which the title of the poem is taken.