Every Word

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Five-minute read.

Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.

Psalm 139:4

Every word.

Sometimes, I know what Ron will say before the words leave his lips, but most of the time, I don’t. To know someone’s words, we must understand what they think, and we don’t possess the power of telepathy. But God does, in His sovereignty, He knows our thoughts, and therefore, He knows the words that will come out of our mouths.

When I think of some of the words I’ve said, it embarrasses me. Times when gossip has left my lips, or I say curse words in anger make me blush. As I age, my words improve because I submit them to God. Learning to control my emotions and not succumb to temptation and share a juicy tidbit or let explicates come from my mouth comes with maturity. But, as always, I still have a way to go.

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6

Understanding God knows my words before I speak them convicts me of what I say. Putting into practice Paul’s words to the Colossians means I must stop and think about what I want to say before I say it. The Lord always wants us to use gracious speech seasoned with salt. In Colossae, at the time of Paul’s letter, unbelievers charged Christ’s followers with misconduct, not unlike today. Because of the accusations, Paul urged believers to choose their words and actions carefully to avoid slander.

Every situation requires different words. When I coach a beginner tennis student, my language differs from teaching an experienced player. However, regardless of skill level, all students need assurance and encouragement. One rule of thumb I use when talking to anyone, student or otherwise, comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

“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.”  Ephesians 4:29

Simply asking myself, “Is this uplifting and encouraging?” before I let the words come from my mouth changes my language. Wanting to honor God with our lips means we must become intentional about what passes through them. And just as the Lord knows our thoughts, we must also know them. Often, we don’t realize the rabbit trails we follow with our minds, getting lost in our thoughts. Believing lies takes us places we don’t want to go; only with God’s help can we stay focused on the truth and keep our thoughts in line with the Lord.

Gracious speech, tinged with salt that uplifts and encourages the listener, comes from the Lord. We can change our words by aligning our thoughts with God. To bring our minds into agreement with the Creator, we must spend time with Him.  Praying, reading scripture, journaling, and connecting with other believers help us stay in tune with the Lord. The closer we walk with God, the more our thoughts and speech will align with Him.


Words matter.

Before we let anything slip from our lips, we must think about what we want to say. When teaching a tennis lesson, the student criticized himself after every mistake. Constantly berating himself, I stopped him midstream and said, “Become your own best friend.”

“What?” His look of surprise told me volumes. My student didn’t realize his negativity, so I spent the next few minutes giving him ways to change his thinking and become more optimistic about his game. Instead of focusing on mistakes, celebrate the victories, devise a game plan to improve weaknesses, and stop focusing only on the negative.

Gracious speech begins with gracious thinking. Aligning our thoughts with God helps us become more like Jesus, using only uplifting and encouraging words spoken with love and kindness.

Words give life if used properly.

Journaling Questions:

  1. How do your words impact those around you?
  2. In what ways can you improve your speech?
  3. How does understanding God knows your words before you say them make you feel?


Lord, forgive us for empty words that don’t give life to others. Please help us use our language wisely as we draw closer to You.  Help us become aware of our thoughts that lead to our words. Let our speech become uplifting and encouraging to all, giving life to the receiver and helping them draw closer to You.  IJNIP. Amen

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