But Rather Giving of Thanks

Is God interested in the words that come out of your mouth?  Yes, very much so!  As you associate with people of the world, you may hear cursing, swearing, bad language, boasting, foolishness, jesting, gossip, hurtful words and so forth.  There should be a great difference between what comes out of a Christian’s mouth as opposed to people of the world.  Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  Corrupt words are those that make rotten and destroy the hearer.  Rather than tearing others down, you should seek to edify or build others up.  Your words should be those that the hearer enjoys hearing; pleasant, favorable, and beneficial.

But there is more.  Ephesians 5:3-4 “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”  What you talk about is important.  Filthiness is shameful or obscene talk.  Foolish talking is silly talk – talk that contains nonsense or what a fool would say.  Coarse jesting includes joking or humorous language done in a vulgar or lewd fashion.  Possibly this type of talk is done when people don’t know what to say – just to provoke the other person or make conversation.  Instead of this kind of talk, the apostle Paul tells you that you should give thanks. 

Colossians 3:8 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”  Anger, wrath and malice all imply hateful anger that is seeking vengeance; as a result of these, one may say spiteful, hateful words – totally inappropriate for Christians.  Blasphemy is irreverence toward something considered sacred or holy; it can also include evil speaking and railing.  Filthy language is vile conversation.  Just as you want to avoid things which might physically harm you or make you ill such as poison or contaminated food, in the same way you should avoid language that is spiritually harmful and takes you away from God’s values.

Perhaps the reason that God is so interested in what you say is that your words come from your inner person.  Matthew 12:34-37 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  You will be judged by the words that you speak.  If you find that your words are not good words, it is a heart issue.  Confess the corruption in your heart and ask God to change and purify your heart.

Here again is Ephesians 5:4 “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”  When you get rid of the bad, inappropriate words, you need to replace them with good words and especially giving of thanks.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  God wants you, as His child, to be thankful and to express your thanks. But notice that the writer said “in everything give thanks.”  It is easy to give thanks for unexpected blessings and good things that you receive.  But what about things that are not so pleasant?  James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Do you thank God for your trials and difficulties?  You can do that when, in faith, you trust that God is in control and He is allowing what is good for you in the long run and what will be for His ultimate glory.

Colossians 3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Hebrews 13:15 “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Have you ever helped someone but they didn’t thank you?  Maybe it was something simple like picking up an item that they had dropped and handing it to them or opening a door for them.  And you receive no thanks.  How did you feel about their attitude of unthankfulness?  Then you can appreciate how God feels towards you if you are not thankful for the blessings He gives you.

I have known special people who had learned the secret of being thankful.  I knew that they had many problems in their life to include serious health issues.  But rather than complain, they were thankful.  There is an old song entitled Count Your Blessings.  Here is the first verse and chorus:  “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done; count your blessings, name them one by one; count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”  When you consider all the ways that God has blessed you, there are many, many things for which you can give thanks. The next time you don’t know what to say, try naming the things that you are thankful for and how God has blessed you in your life.

You can be a bright light in the world when you eliminate the bad, inappropriate words from your life and replace them with giving of thanks.  I encourage you to be thankful.

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