Wednesday, March 14

Fashioning My Words

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. --Proverbs 25:11 (NIV)

It's hardly a secret that women talk more than men. Although it's impossible to verify the exact statistics, it is believed that women use somewhere on the order of 20,000 words per day. In considering this information, along with the fact that Solomon had 700 wives, is it any wonder that he would know an aptly spoken word when he heard it?

What exactly is an aptly spoken word? More importantly, what spiritual significance is there in such a manner of speech?

The word, aptly, describes anything that is done in a competent manner. Competent words are those that are spoken in such a way that they are beneficial, verifiable, and relevant. As the imagery used by Solomon suggests, apt words are also lovely and precious. When I picture golden apples in settings of silver, I think about what was involved in fashioning such a thing. What comes to mind first is the notion that great care and craftsmanship would be necessary to produce the desired result.

There are times (too many to count now) when my words, especially my spoken words, are far from lovely. I allow my voice to give life to careless thoughts. When they tumble from my lips I watch as they landing painfully and haphazardly on their intended target. This is not the sort of thing I should be doing with my mouth, and it is not the sort of thing that is consistent with a woman whose heart is attuned to the things of God.

Rather than opening my mouth just to hear myself talk, I should seek first to fashion my words carefully and thoughtfully. When I pause, giving the Holy Spirit some time to reveal to me how speak obediently, as one who desires earnestly to take every thought captive --as the apostle Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 10:5b--I am submitting myself to God's authority. This should always be my goal, whether in word or in deed.

No matter how well I may use my vocabulary to express myself, unless my words are seasoned with grace, they will be lifeless. Even if I bring all my educational background and professional expertise into a conversation with others, unless I examine my words in the light of the gospel, I will appear ignorant. I seek to make it my heart's desire that I communicate verbally in ways that are beneficial, relevant, and altogether lovely in the eyes of God.

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