Matthew 10:19-20 “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
For some people, public speaking is an absolute terror. Of course this isn’t talking about public speaking in general, but there are many points of similarity. This is more like entering a plea or giving testimony in a court case. In all such situations we tend to try to figure out what will give us the best reception/advantage with our audience. The problem with that is, when we start tailoring our words, we are all too likely to leave truth as a secondary consideration. God calls us to absolute honesty, because there is no deception in Him. It is true that the truth can get us into trouble, today no less than in the 1st Century. However, in John 14, 15, and 16, Jesus repeatedly referred to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth. Frankly, it’s much easier to talk when you aren’t hiding things. A prime example of exactly what Jesus is talking about here is found in Acts 4 and again in Acts 5, when Peter and John and then the whole group of apostles were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. It was a rough situation from the standpoint of the apostles, but Peter’s words had a massive impact on their hearers and have echoed down through the centuries since. Acts 4:12 and 19-20 and Acts 5:29 in particular are loved by many, and have encouraged even martyrs. We tend to think we don’t have the wisdom to handle such situations, and we’re right. However, as James said, “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.” (James 1:5) The first step in that is acknowledging you don’t have wisdom, as Jesus essentially said, and so relying on the Holy Spirit.
I’ve never been hesitant to speak in front of a group, large or small, but then I’ve never been put on formal trial, either. I think I understand the gravity of speaking as God’s representative, but I know I couldn’t do it on my own anyway, so I trust Him to do it. I have many pastor friends who labor at preparing messages, and I respect them for it, but preparing message notes is rarely a labor for me. I understand that my role is simply that of a conduit, so I do my best to stay connected to the spigot. Meeting with the Lord morning by morning as I do, I have a problem with knowing when to stop talking when I have the opportunity to share! “Truth dumps” aren’t very effective communication. Part of what Jesus is talking about here is letting the Holy Spirit put the brakes on when my hearers are nearing overload. Above all, I need to let God’s Word work in me even as I seek to communicate it to others. I am as much in need of it as they are!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the incredible privilege of speaking as Your agent. Help me not fear people’s response, or even my own inability, but simply yield myself fully to You, applying myself faithfully but knowing that I can accomplish nothing apart from You. May Your Word through me accomplish that for which You send it, for Your glory. (Isaiah 55:10-11) Thank You. Hallelujah!