Sunday, August 4, 2013

Muzzle My Mouth, Lord!

"I said, 'I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.' But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased." Psalm 39:1-2

The tongue is a powerful persuader. It can cut to the core or build up with encouragement. Most importantly, it can point people to Christ. What comes from my mouth is an indicator of what is in my heart. "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34b) If I want to live a life that is pleasing to God, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin." Like David, I resolve to be ever mindful of what I do and say - to walk circumspectly - that my life would line up with God's Word. 

     circumspect -adjective

          1. watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent: circumspect behavior. 
          2. well-considered: circumspect ambition. 

          Synonyms: considerate, guarded, safe, vigilant, deliberate

David remembers his covenant "against tongue sins - that he would not sin with his tongue, that he would not speak amiss, either to offend God or offend the generation of the righteous (Psalm 73:15). It is not so easy as we could wish not to sin in thought; but if an evil thought should arise in his mind, he would lay his hand upon his mouth, and suppress it, that it should go no further." (Henry)  He "muzzled" his own mouth to prevent his tongue from committing sin; to prevent sinful thoughts from coming out of his mouth. When I find the need to muzzle my own mouth, I must take this as an indicator that I have a heart issue to deal with. I should evaluate and repent of any sin in my heart that is muddying up my mind.

David was particularly diligent in watching his tongue in the presence of the wicked. As he pondered their pride and prosperity, he was more apt to speak amiss, therefore he had to be doubly resolved to take care with what he said. "If good men fall into bad company, they must heed what they say" so as to not cause the hearts of the wicked to harden all the more toward God or give them occasion to blaspheme. (Henry)

In bridling my tongue, I must be cautious however, not to run to the other extreme: not saying anything good. In David's mind it may have been "an easy, safe and effectual way of avoiding sin, if it did not involve a neglect of duty which he owed to God to speak well of His name. ...A sound course of action [can] be pushed to extreme and become a fault." (Spurgeon)  While being resolved to be watchful with my words even in the midst of wickedness, I must not grow silent. God's Word instructs in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." My words are meant to edify, to build others up, and to glorify the Lord. Resentment harbored will turn to bitterness and burn within. I should always take such feelings to the Lord. As I consider speaking up, I should pray for God's grace with my words. I am not to speak about indignation as though I am above such things, as I too have been in need of much grace, but speak in a way that points to the Grace Giver, who is also our Righteous Judge. 

Father God, You are the Grace Giver. Thank You for the undeserved grace You have shown me. Help me Lord to be a minister of grace to those I interact with. Prompt me to muzzle my mouth, I pray, before thoughts not of You pass over my lips. Help me to keep my heart in check so that out of the overflow of it, I speak words that give life vs. words of destruction. I ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

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