Words are powerful things. They can build up but also tear down, hurt or heal. Words can destroy but they can also rescue and rebuild. Whether or not we’re aware of it, our words are constantly affecting the people around us. James 3:1-8 points out that although the tongue is such a small part of the body, it can steer us like a rudder steers a ship. The tongue can never be tamed and is as dangerous as a spark that can start a forest fire or as deadly as poison. If the tongue and our words can be so terrible, what can we possibly do about it?
MEMORY VERSE: “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)
Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” David, the man who wrote this psalm, shows us the first step of being responsible with our words… we have to ask God for help. What we say comes from what is in our hearts. If our hearts are icky and sinful, then icky and sinful words will come out of our mouths. God is the only one who can change our hearts and make them clean. God even uses HIS WORDS to help us be responsible with OUR WORDS. How? God’s Word tells us the Good News about Jesus, how we can be saved, and how we can live in a way that honors Him. We can spend time meditating on His Word, reading, thinking, and praying about it, letting it get into our hearts. God can use His Word that’s in our hearts to help the words that come out of our mouths be pleasing to Him and also encouraging to others.
At dinner this week bring your bible to the table and start a discussion by reading Luke 6:45 to your family. In this verse Jesus is speaking and very clearly explains that our words directly reflect what is going on in our hearts. It is right after Jesus pointed out that you can tell the type of tree by its fruit. Ask your family where they think your heart is by the words you use. Then ask them where their hearts are by the words they use. Read Philippians 4:8 and remind your family that what you think about affects your heart, which then affects your words. Commit to thinking on the things mentioned in Philippians 4:8.
As you are driving with your family, ask them to think of small things that have a big impact. Example: a candle in a dark room, the handle of the toilet, a light switch or the car steering wheel. Then talk to them about how our words are similar. The Bible says the tongue is very powerful and has the ability to tear others down or build them up! God has called us to be responsible with our words. Even though they might seem small to us, they have a big impact.
Responsibility is an incredible thing to learn but can also become simply a moral value instead of a true heart change that only God can accomplish. As you are putting your family to bed, explain this to them. Tell them that being responsible with their words is good, but God is most concerned about their hearts. Pray for grace to surrender your hearts and thoughts to stay focused on God.
Spend time this week working on memorizing this month's verse together. You can make flash cards to study, put sticky notes on a mirror and remove one word at a time throughout the week, and more. Keep it fun and challenging and encourage one another to keep at it.
Thank God for the people in your life who have encouraged you with their words. Ask God to help you take special care with what you do and do not say this week. Pray that you and your small group kids learn to build others up with your words.
Next week we will continue learning about Responsibility!