May 30, 2014

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

This is a remarkable prayer, and one that brings to mind James 3, which talks at some length about the power and danger of the tongue. We have all said things we regretted the moment they left our lips, and we have all been wounded by words spoken by others. There is great wisdom in praying this prayer along with David! At the same time, words are the foundation of our communication on all levels, so we can’t just “not speak.” I do a lot of marriage counseling, and it is my observation that marriages are hurt at least as much by what fails to be said as by what is said. We expect others to understand and accept us when we haven’t expressed who we are on the inside, and what we really want. Sometimes international marriages succeed precisely because both partners realize that communication is a problem, and needs to be worked at. When people share a native language, often they presume too much and take understanding for granted, when it is actually something of a miracle when any two human beings achieve deep communication! However, the situation is not hopeless, because God is a God of grace. He will enable real communication, but we need to recognize the risks and seek His help, both in speaking and listening. That of course applies to our communication with Him as well as our communication with each other. We have the promise of the help of the Holy Spirit in prayer, (Romans 8:26) and we need to ask for that same help in other communication as well, so that His truth, grace, and love may flow through us unhindered.

I realized years ago that I’m a professional talker/communicator, as a pastor, counselor, and teacher. That makes David’s prayer all the more vital for me! Words come easily, and the temptation is to let the words take over, so to speak, and not really engage my heart and mind. That’s dangerous! My mouth has gotten me into all sorts of messes over the years. At the same time, even after 45 years of marriage, I have to be intentional in understanding my wife, because of differing male/female speech patterns. At all times in every situation I need to seek to speak God’s truth in God’s love, or the results will not be as He and I desire. That is of course especially true when I am preaching or counseling, but it is actually true at all times. This morning I expect to be preparing sermon notes and buying gasoline. I am to be God’s mouthpiece in both situations, letting His love flow through me as He chooses, to destroy the lies of the enemy and set people free. However, that will happen only to the degree I am committed and submitted to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do ask for Your anointing as I prepare sermon notes now, and I pray that anointing would continue throughout the day in my every interaction. May my words be Your words, spoken or written, to work Your will in the physical and spiritual realms, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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