Daily Devotionals

Would You Rather? Week 3 Tuesday

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

In today’s day and age, we could use a reminder that we are building something with our words. You see, although we cannot physically see words fly off of our tongues, the words we speak are creating something. They are building someone’s confidence, or perhaps they are tearing that confidence down. They are building an atmosphere of trustworthiness, or maybe of distrust. They are either building up the kingdom of God, or they are building an atmosphere of division. I do not know about you, but I want to build something good with my words. I want to build something that points others to Christ. In light of the impact our words can have, Scripture teaches us to lead with gentleness. 

As we consider what we are building with our words, we would do well to heed Paul’s words in Ephesians 4. In this chapter of Ephesians, Paul talks about how followers of Christ are to live. “Don’t use foul or abusive language,” he writes. “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (verse 29). This verse gives us a vivid example of what it looks like to live with gentleness. You see, using bad and argumentative language is the opposite of gentleness. Instead of using these harsh words, gentleness speaks words that are good and helpful. Those who speak gently provide encouragement. In other words, they build people up and bring light everywhere they go.

Don’t you want to be someone who builds people up? Don’t you want to be someone who brings light and encouragement in situations that seem hopeless? When we are tempted to lash out in anger and respond harshly, let’s remember to build an atmosphere of gentleness. Let’s fill up the atmosphere with encouragement through the gift of gentleness today. 

Moving Toward Action

Determine today to use your words, in gentleness, to build others up. Is there someone in your life whom you are tempted to argue with or whom you have found yourself speaking words that tear down instead of build up? What can you do today to encourage them with your words? Can you send them a kind email or text? Can you reach out and ask if there is a way you can help them today? Maybe you can encourage them and tell them something you see that they are doing well. Whatever you decide, choose gentleness today and use your words to build something good today.

Going Deeper

Read Ephesians 4:17-32 (NLT)

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.