Extending His Grace, Part 3
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
We find another opportunity to extend grace—in fact, to impart it—by our speech. To really understand what Paul is saying in Ephesians 4 (above), we need a little context. In the previous verse (28), he says this: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”
Note the progression. Someone used to use their hands to steal, to take things. Paul is saying that they need to now use their hands to work, to create, to earn a living. Then the former thief will have something to give him who has need.
Our mouths need to be looked at the same way. As hands need to be re-viewed as something we can use to create, earn and have something to give, we need to see our lips as imparters of grace. Some of us need to repent of the idea that our speech is primarily self-expression. Or that we need to comment or express ourselves at all times on every topic. Unfortunately, we live in a time and culture where rampant self-expression is often the norm, so we don’t see what a wrong use of our communication that can be. God’s goal is that we use our speech to edify others and impart grace to them—an exciting spiritual opportunity.
Did you ever open your mouth without thinking? Of course, we all have. Perhaps for a season, we need to actively think before speaking, aligning our will and hearts to edify and impart grace with what comes out. Like the thief who starts to do honest work, we can repurpose our speech to bring blessing. We have a great opportunity to build the kingdom, to extend Christ’s love, to help others achieve their spiritual destiny, to express the truth in a situation. It’s a great opportunity!
We all know what damage we can inflict with our tongues (check out James 3). But this passage presents the positive possibilities of extending grace through our lips. We can do great good through our mouths!
What do we have to lose? There are sacrifices: the great feeling of expressing ourselves, telling other people off, unloading, and expressing. Some of us simply enjoy the sound of our own voices.
Yet look at what others may gain. They can be built up, encouraged, made wiser, shown a better way—all through the fruit of our lips. Remember the repentant thief’s journey as Paul described it. Remember that God’s purposes include doing that with our mouths.
Prayer: Father, help me to make my mouth an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13) and an avenue of Your grace that builds up the hearer. I don’t always think of verbal expression that way. Please change my thinking and my way of communicating to reflect Your purposes for me.