We do what we choose to do
For reading & meditation: Proverbs 18:15-21
“The tongue has the power of life and death ‘” (v.21)
We are seeing that the first step the psalmist took to save himself from falling was stopping himself from saying what was on the tip of his tongue. In other words, he took himself in hand. This is an extremely important issue. What a lot of heartache would be saved if Christians would take heed to this and learn to put a bridle on their tongues. Expressions which convey the idea that the Lord acts unjustly or unkindly, especially if they fall from the lips of men and women who have a long experience in the Christian life, are as dangerous as sparks in a timber factory.
Despite his doubts, the psalmist recognised the importance of self-discipline, and that proved to be a saving virtue. People sometimes claim: “It is impossible for me to control what I say. It slips out before I realise what I’ve said.” This is nonsense, of course, for what we say is the result of what we choose to say. Sometimes we may feel as though we have no control over what we say, but that is all it is a feeling. Dr Lawrence Crabb, a Christian psychologist, tells us: “The loss of felt choice does not mean the loss of real choice.” When you give a person “a piece of your mind”, as we say, there is always a moment, albeit a split second, when you can choose to speak out or stay quiet. We cannot hide behind the excuse that our tongue is not under our control. What we do is what we choose to do. The psalmist, though beset by many doubts and difficulties, chose to control his tongue – and so can you.
Father, help me see that the things I do and say are not the result of compulsion but of choice. I am free to obey or free to disobey. Help me to use my freedom in the right way. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.
For further study:
1. What does James teach about the tongue?
2. What are we to ask God for?