Examinations are never fun. You never know what might be revealed. As we continue this self-examination let us examine a couple more important aspects of our past! Consider your past…
The tongue is very powerful. In fact, there are few things more powerful. James said, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (Jam. 3:2). Why would a person, who could keep from stumbling in what he says, be considered a perfect man? James goes on to tell us, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil full of deadly poison” (v. 8). He would be considered perfect because no man can tame the tongue. It’s too powerful. Since the tongue is so powerful, it’s vital that we use our speech for good.
When you think about your past speech, was your speech used to build others up? Paul said, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). Have you ever had someone say something to tear you down? It’s not a pleasant feeling is it? The wise man described reckless words as sword thrusts (Prov. 12:18). Just thinking about how we use our words to stab someone like one does with a sword is painful. We must be careful not to use our speech in a way that tears others down.
Also, when considering your past speech, was your speech used for godly communication? Paul told the church at Ephesus that there should be no filthiness or foolish talk out of their mouths (Eph. 5:4). Have you said anything in the past that would be considered filthy or foolish? I’m afraid if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is a definite yes! We’ve all been down this road before, perhaps in ways we have never considered. Take gossip as an example. Wouldn’t using our speech for this kind of talk be considered ungodly? The Bible has a lot to say about gossipers, whispers, backbiters, etc. The wise man said, “Where there is no wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Prov. 26:20). Friends, we must be careful not to use our speech for ungodly communication.
Perhaps the best way to use our speech is for giving thanks. When Paul told the Ephesians there should be no filthiness or foolish talk out of their mouths, he ended with, “But rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:4). I know of no better way to use our tongues than to offer thanks to God for all that He has done for us. He has blessed us with far more than we ever deserved (Jam. 1:17). Have you used your past speech to offer up prayers of thanksgiving for all the good things that God has done for you? You should!
Another important aspect of our past to consider is our past…
When you think about the way you represented your family in the past, what comes to mind? A representation that made your family proud or a representation that embarrassed your family? The wise man said, “Let your father and mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Prov. 23:25). It’s important for us to remember that our family has worked hard to make a good name for themselves. We need to be careful in how we represent that name. We should always be mindful of the fact, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). We should want nothing more than to leave our family a good name.
We should not only consider how we have represented our family, but we should also consider how we have represented our Lord and His church. The church does not belong to you, me, elders, or any other man for that matter. The church belongs to Jesus. He told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus purchased His church with His blood (I Pet. 1:18-19). When you consider your past representation of the Lord’s church, how would you rate yourself. Have you been representing in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord? When people look at the way you are living your life, is God glorified? Jesus said, “Let your lights shine in such a way that others may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). The manner in which we represent the Lord and His church has a great impact on whether or not people will choose to be a part of the Lord’s church.
Friends, the first part of our self-examination is to consider your past. How did you do? If your self-examination has revealed things about your past that are not what you would like them to be, stop right now and spend time in prayer asking God to help you in the areas of your life where you need it.
Great! Tomorrow we will continue with part three of our self-examination, “Choose your future.” Until then…let’s keep on keepin’ on!
Now that’s Something to Think About!