Watching Your Words
You can never outgrow the wisdom in the books of the Bible. Instead, every time you read them, your understanding will increase.
The book of Proverbs is no exception, particularly in its presentation of how to walk in wisdom through trusting in God and watching our words.
Trusting in God
Part of walking in wisdom is leaning on the Lord instead of on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6). It can be easy to fall prey to the temptation to trust in our own expertise on a matter. However, Proverbs teaches us that we must depend on the Lord for everything—entirely, exclusively, and extensively.
Think about the created order, for example. We may think we understand how the world works (gravity, the stars, animals, etc.), but the more we study, we will realize the created order is beyond our understanding. In that case, then, how can we walk with wisdom without the help of the Lord?
Learning to Listen
Another aspect of wisdom is learning how to listen instead of instantly speaking without thinking.
Imagine if you were to record your speech for an entire day. What would the recording sound like? Would your words be self-centered, filled with “me,” “my,” and “I,” or would your words glorify God?
Words have the power of life and death, of healing and wounding (see Proverbs 12:18). Unlike the popular saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt,” words do matter. As a result, those who are wise speak with clarity and honesty, and they also listen when receiving criticism.
Words hurt when others rebuke us, but we can still learn from that rebuke, especially if it comes from another believer speaking to us out of love. There is not a person we can’t learn from.
Reducing Your Words
There are five ways to cut back on words:
- Cut out flattery, which is deceptive speech.
- Stop boasting.
- Avoid harping and nagging.
- Eliminate gossip.
- Reduce arguing.
We would be wise to watch our words, making sure that what passes through our lips is honoring to God.