“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3. This verse is short and to the point, but it can be one of the toughest obstacles for us to overcome. The power of life and death are in the tongue and what we choose to speak is more critical than we realize. Too many times, we do the devil’s work by simply opening our mouths. And though it can be tough to admit, I myself have fallen victim and had to retract my words on more than one occasion. There is nothing more humbling than hurting someone by something we said, or even more so, grieving the Holy Spirit. And without evaluating our speech, it can lead us down a hard road.
In the book of Numbers, we see Moses and the Israelites waiting to enter the Promise Land. His sister, Miriam, has become jealous of his authority and that God spoke face to face with Moses. Numbers 12:2 says, “They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t He spoken through us too?”. But the Lord heard them.” It goes on to say that the Lord immediately called for them and corrected them. Miriam was then stricken with leprosy and had to leave the camp. But Moses pleaded to God on her behalf and she was later restored both physically and spiritually.
The Israelite story is my favorite in the Bible because there are so many things we can learn from their wilderness experience. And complaining seemed to be their biggest downfall. Now does that mean God will strike us with a deadly skin disease if we become jealous and complain? Probably not. But, sin always separates us from God. And even an ill word about the authority over us or someone else’s calling, can position us “outside of the camp”, so to speak. Our words hurt us more than anyone else. It shifts our focus on to what we think we lack, rather than what God has given us. Complaining steals blessings, robs us of joy, causes delays and detours, and a million other hurdles that ultimately hinder our walk with God. And the devil sits waiting for these open door moments, as our words invite him in.
I don’t believe this is an area that we will fully overcome in this lifetime or never struggle with. But through the power of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds through the Word of God, we can tame the tongue. Just as David prayed, we too can ask the Lord to put at guard over our mouths and help us to overcome our flesh. I believe now more than ever, we need spiritual discernment over when and what to say. That our lips would be anointed, only to speak the heart of the Father in every situation. My prayer is that we would rise up and take our rightful place as sons and daughters of the Most High. And that our words would only be reflections of His Kingdom, power, and authority. Because thats what this world needs. It needs “thus sayeth the Lord”. Not the opinion of man.
I encourage us all, starting with myself, to examine our words a little closer and to ask God to shine his light over our speech. And that any root of jealousy or bitterness would be exposed and dug up before it’s harvest reaches our lips. That we would be so full of the Word of God that our thoughts no longer determine our speech. That our minds would be renewed and our hearts fully restored, so that when offense knocks on our door, we don’t even notice.