November 9, 2013 – November 15, 2013
“If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 314–318; The Voice in Speech and Song, 126, 128–130.
“Consider the life of Moses. Meekness in the midst of murmuring, reproach, and provocation constituted the brightest trait in his character.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 368.
- What is wrong with flattery? Proverbs 26:28, last part; Job 32:21, 22. What can we do to stop this apparently innocent practice?
Note: “Do not receive flattery, even in your religious life. Flattery is an art by which Satan lieth in wait to deceive and to puff up the human agent with high thoughts of himself. ‘Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ’ (Colossians 2:8). Flattery has been the food upon which many of our youth have been nourished; and those who have praised and flattered have supposed that they were doing right; but they have been doing wrong. Praise, flattery, and indulgence have done more toward leading precious souls into false paths, than any other art that Satan has devised.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 304.
- What is the best cure for flattery? Proverbs 28:23.
Note: “Praise no man; flatter no man; and permit no man to praise or flatter you. Satan will do enough of this work. Lose sight of the instrument, and think of Jesus. Praise the Lord. Give glory to God. Make melody to God in your hearts. Talk of the truth. Talk of the Christian’s hope, the Christian’s heaven.” Evangelism, 630.
2 FRIVOLITY AND JOKING
- How does God’s word view frivolity and joking? Ephesians 4:17; 5:3, 4.
Note: “All frivolity, all cheapness of conversation, all jesting and joking, weakens the soul, and weans the heart from prayer. Like Paul, the true followers of Christ will ever bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus; they cannot keep in mind the sufferings of Christ for them, and yet be light and trifling.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 126.
- What is the only cure for a frivolous spirit? Hebrews 12:2, 3.
Note: “The very thoughts are to be brought into subjection to the will of Christ. Then the affections will be refined and ennobled; those who carry the burden of the work will not be impure in thought or word or act, neither will they be light and trifling.” Gospel Workers (1892), 233.
- How are the youth, especially, to guard against the danger of indulging a frivolous spirit? I Timothy 4:12–16.
Note: “It is the duty of the youth to encourage sobriety. Lightness, jesting, and joking will result in barrenness of soul and the loss of the favor of God. Many of you think you do not exert a bad influence upon others, and thus feel in a measure satisfied; but do you exert an influence for good? Do you seek in your conversation and acts to lead others to the Saviour, or, if they profess Christ, to lead them to a closer walk with Him?” Testimonies, vol. 2, 236, 237.
- What type of accounting system is kept of frivolous speech? Matthew 12:36.
3 EXAGGERATIONS, SARCASM, INNUENDOS
- Who can be compared to a crazed archer scattering firebrands in all directions? Proverbs 26:18, 19.
Note: “God’s word condemns also the use of those meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity. It condemns the deceptive compliments, the evasions of truth, the exaggerations, the misrepresentations in trade, that are current in society and in the business world.” Education, 236.
“You love to visit and talk, and you say many things unbecoming a Christian. Your statements are exaggerated and frequently come far from the truth. Your words and acts will judge you in the last day. By them you will be justified or by them condemned. Your education has not been of an ennobling character, therefore there is the greatest necessity of your now training and educating yourself to purity of thought and action. Train your thoughts so that it will be easy for them to dwell upon pure and holy things. Cultivate a love for spirituality and true godliness.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 315.
- What advice is given to those who enjoy foolish, cheap talk? I Peter 1:13–19.
Note: “Few realize that they drive away the Spirit of God with their selfish thoughts and feelings, their foolish, trifling talk. … Purity in speech, and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced.” Sons and Daughters of God, 316.
“The atmosphere of unbelief is heavy and oppressive. The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully I Peter 1:13–18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 457.
4 HARSH AND PROVOKING SPEECH
- Why are harsh words never to be heard from the mouth of a Christian? James 3:17.
Note: “The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Let your praiseworthy example, your peaceable words and unselfish deeds, be a savor of life unto life. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Do you dislike to have harsh words spoken to you? Remember that when you speak such words, others feel the sharp sting.” The Review and Herald, December 31, 1901.
“The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Sharp words wound and bruise the soul. In this life everyone has difficulties with which to wrestle. Everyone meets with grievances and disappointments. Shall we not bring sunshine instead of gloom into the lives of those with whom we come in contact? Shall we not speak words that will help and bless? They will be just as much a blessing to us as to those to whom they are spoken.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 64.
- What is the best rebuke that can be given to those that are provoking you? Ecclesiastes 3:7, third part.
Note: “If provoking words are spoken to you, do not utter a word. The best rebuke you can give the one who has uttered the provoking words is to keep silent until you can speak in a calm, pleasant voice.” The Review and Herald, July 6, 1905.
“If the love of God is in our hearts, we shall not think evil, we shall not be easily disturbed, we shall not give loose reign to passion; but we shall show that we are yoked up with Christ, and that the restraining power of His Spirit leads us to speak words that He can approve. The yoke of Christ is the restraint of His Holy Spirit; and when we become heated by passion, let us say, No; I have Christ by my side, and I will not make Him ashamed of me by speaking hot, fiery words.” Ibid., January 25, 1898.
“The sharp word must be left unspoken. The passionate words must be quenched in the love of Jesus Christ; for if this dross is not cleansed from the soul, there is no hope of eternal life. The selfish temper, and tirade of passionate words is placed in the same dark list with swearing.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 144.
5 GROWING IN CHRIST
- What will growth in Christian character do to our speech habits? James 3:2.
- What advice was the apostle Peter inspired to supply in this regard? I Peter 2:1–3.
Note: “Before his fall, Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former fervor, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He was no longer impetuous, self-confident, and self-exalted, but calm, self-possessed, and teachable. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ’s flock.” The Desire of Ages, 812–815.
- Trace the progress of how Moses, the once impatient and impetuous man, became the earth’s meekest man in speech and life. Exodus 2:11–15; Numbers 12:3.
Note: “Moses was naturally of an impetuous spirit. In Egypt a successful military leader and a favorite with the king and the nation, he had been accustomed to receiving praise and flattery. He had attracted the people to himself. He hoped to accomplish by his own powers the work of delivering Israel. Far different were the lessons he had to learn as God’s representative. As he led his flocks through the wilds of the mountains and into the green pastures of the valleys, he learned faith and meekness, patience, humility, and self-forgetfulness.” The Ministry of Healing, 474.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What can we do to stop someone from using flattery?
2 How can we help young people to cease frivolity and joking?
3 How are we in danger of driving away God’s Spirit?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.