Examples in Life and Speech

We have the power to be witnesses. Are we using it?

Let not one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in faith, in purity.

  - 1 Timothy 4.12

Therefore whoever wishes to be made God’s dwelling-place, should strive to make himself humble and peaceable, that he may be known to be God’s servant, not by his greed for talk and pliability of mien, but by the reality of his lowliness; for goodness of heart requires no false unction of talk.

  - Columbanus, Sermon II, Irish, 7th century

Americans are becoming more involved in talking about political matters and social issues.

This is a very good thing, to be sure. However, what such conversations need is not a lot of blame-laying, finger-pointing, and ad hominem name-calling. Serious matters deserve serious conversation on the part of serious people. Anyone can talk loudly about things he holds or opposes passionately.

It’s another thing to get others to listen.

People listened to Jesus, and have been listening for 2,000 years. Jesus was wise, calm, and spoke to the heart of matters with clarity and conviction. Only rarely did He flare up with passion, and only then because His immediate audience was too stubborn and hostile for mere reason to do its work.

Our conversation must always signal that something besides passion or shallow opinion dwells in us. The more fully Christ makes His presence known in us – in all His gentleness, grace, and goodness – the more credible we will be when we open our mouths to speak on matters of great moment.

This means learning to be good listeners, treating others with respect, speaking winsomely, carefully, and clearly about the subject in view, and making ourselves an engaging presence to our conversation partners. We must let our speech be always with grace, always for edification, and always truthful and loving (Col. 4.6; Eph. 4.29; Eph. 4.15).

We can’t work this up on our own. We need the grace of God, the fullness of His Spirit, and the authority – lived and spoken – of the indwelling Word of God (Col. 3.16).

Growing in Christ is more than just feeling good about His love, forgiveness, and the hope of eternal life. It means acquiring the righteousness of Jesus, which we live out in every area of our lives, before and with all the people we meet each day.

Grow in Jesus and His righteousness, and the things you have to say will command the attention and interest of those with whom you speak.

Psalm 145.1-3, 4-6 (Brother James’ Air: “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want”)
I will extol You, God my King, and ever praise Your Name!
I bless You, Lord, for everything each day, and e’er the same!
Great are You, Lord, my praise I bring; unsearchable Your fame!

To ev’ry generation we Your wondrous works shall tell.
The splendor of Your majesty we contemplate full well.
We speak of all Your mighty deeds and all our greatness tell!

Give me grace, O Lord, to grow in You and to speak effectively for You.

This matter of talking about our faith is serious business. We have the Spirit of God in power to be witnesses for Christ, yet we are rapidly becoming a generation of non-evangelistic evangelicals. Let’s make it a matter of prayer and focus for the year to come to look for ways of initiating conversations about the Lord with the people around us. Thanks for your prayers and gifts in support of our ministry. You can send a supporting contribution to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452, or simply use the donate button here or at the website.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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