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Updated: Apr 8

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD, is One. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

The SHEMAH, as Deut 6:4-9 is known, is one of the most notable passages in all of Hebrew Scripture. Sadly, for many Christians, the “them” we speak of when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down, and when we get up isn’t God’s word at all. It’s other people.

We talk about people who irritate and frustrate us.

We talk about people who don’t look, talk, or act like us.

We talk about people whose ideas, values, and struggles aren’t ours.

We talk about people more readily than the Gospel.

We talk about people more frequently than God’s Word.

In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul made NO distinction between people who participate in orgies, who revel in drunkenness, who embrace rampant sexual immorality, and those who run off at the mouth as chronic gossips.

In fact, Paul contrasted the “obvious works of the flesh” with the fruit of the Spirit saying, “...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So the next time we find ourselves talking about someone rather than God’s word, let's stop. The next time we find ourselves spreading gossip rather than the Gospel, let's get back to the work of the LORD rather than the work of Satan. That’s one powerful and tangible way we can evidence the self-control of the Holy Spirit. It’s tangible proof of God’s hand upon, and the Holy Spirit in, our lives.

Here are a few short verses to consider committing to memory or writing on a sticky note for the next time those feelings or urges to gossip, slander, disparage, slam, or sling mud at anyone come creeping in:

The one whose walk is blameless… casts no slur on others.

-Psalm 15:2-3

Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.

-Proverbs 10:18

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

-Psalm 141:3

Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;

-Psalm 101:5

God delivered them over to a corrupt mind… They are gossips...

-Romans 1:28-29

...the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

-Luke 6:45

May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees.

-Psalm 119:171

We can justify it however we’d like, but King Jesus said we’re either with Him or against Him. We’re either gathering with Him or scattering for Satan. We’re either building up the Body of Christ to the glory of God or tearing it down to the glory of the Devil. We’re either lifting others up or digging our own graves.

God said, “These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts… teach them… speak of them… tie them… bind them… write them…”

Talking about people is not the same as talking with people. The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18-21, “ filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the fleeting vapor we have this side of heaven, let's use our time and tongues to build one another up, to praise Christ Jesus, to make every effort to keep the unity through the bond of peace, and to glorify our Lord by advancing His kingdom to the ends of the earth.

LORD Jesus, lead us into obedience by the power of The Holy Spirit so that we might speak hope, truth, love, and life to the glory of our Heavenly Father.

SPEAK LIFE! by Toby Mac

Grace and Peace,

Kevin M. Kelley

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