October 13, 2013 – October 19, 2013
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29.
Study Help: Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 238, 239; The Voice in Speech and Song, 48–63.
“The most important results for good or evil are the consequence of our words and actions.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 542.
1 WHO IS IN CONTROL?
- What clear evidence demonstrates who is controlling our life? Matthew 6:24; 12:35.
Note: “You cannot be too careful of what you say, for the words you utter show what power is controlling your mind and heart. If Christ rules in your heart, your words will reveal the purity, beauty, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by His will. But since his fall, Satan has been an accuser of the brethren, and you must be on guard lest you reveal the same spirit.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 579, 580.
- What is the relationship between our thoughts, words, and character? Proverbs 23:7, first part; Matthew 12:34.
Note: “The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’ (Matthew 12:34). But the words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are.” The Desire of Ages, 323.
2 INFLUENCING OTHERS
- What influence are we exerting upon others? I Peter 2:11, 12; 3:9.
Note: “Day by day we are sowing seeds for the future harvest. We cannot be too careful of the seed which we sow by our words. Often words are carelessly spoken and forgotten, but these words, for good or ill, will bring forth a harvest. Sow one unkind, harsh word, and this seed, finding soil in the minds of the hearers, will spring up to bear fruit after its kind. Sow one seed in loving, gentle, Christlike words, and it will bring you rich returns. Let us guard ourselves, lest we speak words that are not a blessing, but a curse. If we sow wheat we shall reap wheat; if we sow tares we shall reap tares; and the harvest, whether of wheat or of tares, will be sure and abundant.” Our High Calling, 294.
- What is the strongest argument in favor of Christianity? Ephesians 4:29.
Note: “The life, the words, and the deportment are the most forcible argument, the most solemn appeal, to the careless, irreverent, and skeptical. Let the life and character be the strong argument for Christianity; then men will be compelled to take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus and have learned of Him.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 478.
“The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist.” Gospel Workers, 59.
- What will determine the extent of our influence as we seek to give counsel or admonition? Ecclesiastes 9:17; Philippians 1:27, first part.
Note: “Words of love, tenderness, and charity sanctify our influence over others.” Our High Calling, 175.
3 A FOOLISH MAN AND A WISE WOMAN
- What practical lesson can we learn by comparing the speech of Nabal with that of Abigail? I Samuel 25:2–11, 23–28.
Note: “With kind words she [Abigail] sought to soothe his [David’s] irritated feelings, and she pleaded with him in behalf of her husband. With nothing of ostentation or pride, but full of the wisdom and love of God, Abigail revealed the strength of her devotion to her household. …
“The piety of Abigail, like the fragrance of a flower, breathed out all unconsciously in face and word and action. The Spirit of the Son of God was abiding in her soul. Her speech, seasoned with grace, and full of kindness and peace, shed a heavenly influence. Better impulses came to David, and he trembled as he thought what might have been the consequences of his rash purpose. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). Would that there were many more like this woman of Israel, who would soothe the irritated feelings, prevent rash impulses, and quell great evils by words of calm and well-directed wisdom.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 666, 667.
- When confronted by anger, how will a Christian be able to influence the conversation? Proverbs 15:1, first part.
Note: “A consecrated Christian life is ever shedding light and comfort and peace. It is characterized by purity, tact, simplicity, and usefulness. It is controlled by that unselfish love that sanctifies the influence. It is full of Christ, and leaves a track of light wherever its possessor may go. Abigail was a wise reprover and counselor. David’s passion died away under the power of her influence and reasoning. He was convinced that he had taken an unwise course and had lost control of his own spirit.
“With a humble heart he received the rebuke, in harmony with his own words, ‘Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil’ (Psalm 141:5). He gave thanks and blessings because she advised him righteously. There are many who, when they are reproved, think it praiseworthy if they receive the rebuke without becoming impatient; but how few take reproof with gratitude of heart and bless those who seek to save them from pursuing an evil course.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 667.
4 GOD SEES ME
- What type of conversation will be evident in those who, by divine grace, have learned to control their tongue? Psalm 37:30.
Note: “ ‘Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom’ (James 3:13). My brethren and sisters, how are you employing the gift of speech? Have you learned so to control the tongue that it shall ever obey the dictates of an enlightened conscience and holy affections? Is your conversation free from levity, pride and malice, deceit and impurity? Are you without guile before God? Words exert a telling power. Satan will, if possible, keep the tongue active in his service. Of ourselves we cannot control the unruly member. Divine grace is our only hope.
“Those who are eagerly studying how they may secure the pre-eminence should study rather how they may gain that wisdom which is ‘first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy’ (verse 17). I [Ellen White] have been shown that many ministers need to have these words imprinted on the tablets of the soul. He who has Christ formed within, the hope of glory, will ‘show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 175.
- What habitual impression will help us to follow the dictates of an enlightened conscience as we speak? Psalm 33:13, 14; Job 34:21.
Note: “If you live upon the plan of addition, adding grace to grace, God will multiply unto you His grace. While you add, God multiplies. If you cherish a habitual impression that God sees and hears all that you do and say, and keeps a faithful record of all your words and actions, and that you must meet it all, then in all you do and say you will seek to follow the dictates of an enlightened and wakeful conscience. Your tongue will be used to the glory of God and will be a source of blessing to yourself and to others. But if you separate from God, as you have been doing, take heed lest your tongue shall prove a world of iniquity and bring upon you fearful condemnation; for souls will be lost through you.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 244.
- How can we persuade others to accept the salvation offered by Christ? Isaiah 26:3.
Note: “The teaching of Christ was the expression of an inwrought conviction and experience, and those who learn of Him become teachers after the divine order. The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality. When one has received the truth in the love of it, he will make this manifest in the persuasion of his manner and the tones of his voice. He makes known that which he himself has heard, seen, and handled of the word of life, that others may have fellowship with him through the knowledge of Christ. His testimony, from lips touched with a live coal from off the altar, is truth to the receptive heart, and works sanctification upon the character.” The Desire of Ages, 142.
- How is God’s standard of persuasive eloquence different from what one might expect? I Corinthians 13:1, 2.
- What prerequisite is needed before we can have a reservoir of persuasion? Acts 24:16; Colossians 4:6.
Note: “The most persuasive eloquence is the word that is spoken in love and sympathy. Such words will bring light to confused minds and hope to the discouraged, brightening the prospect before them. The time in which we live calls for vital, sanctified energy; for earnestness, zeal, and the tenderest sympathy and love; for words that will not increase misery, but will inspire faith and hope. We are homeward bound, seeking a better country, even a heavenly.” The Review and Herald, February 16, 1897.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How does our daily speech influence our character?
2 What can we learn from Abigail’s talent of speech?
3 What are the prerequisites of persuasive speech?
Copyright © 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.