10/01/17 Only That Which Builds Up

READING: Isaiah 11-13, Ephesians 4

“No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

Our words matter. What we say, and how we say it, matter.

I fear that we believers have paid too little attention to these truths. Much of our witness is built around our words – both when they strengthen our witness and when they tear it down. For those of us who are ministers, our work is wrapped up in our words, so it’s wise for all of us to remember Paul’s words to the Ephesians in today’s reading. In fact, note how much of what he said is connected to our speech: “Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. . . . No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. . . .  Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Eph. 4:25-32).

Think about how our conversations would change if we avoided all foul language, all bitterness, all anger, all shouting and slander. Consider then what they might sound like if we spoke only that which builds somebody up—only that which illustrates truthfulness, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Frankly, I think many of us would talk less (which may not be all bad) if we lived up to these standards. In that sense, the old adage of “if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all” may not be that far off base.

On the other hand, the better approach is to decide to build others up every day. We must speak truth to others, but we can do that in a way that edifies people. We can find reasons to affirm brothers and sisters in Christ if we simply make the deliberate decision to do so. Unbeknownst to us, we may be walking alongside believers who desperately need affirmation and strength – and our words can challenge them to press on in faithfulness. An expression of thanksgiving can both surprise and encourage someone who’s weary from faithfulness in the battle. The truth of the words “God loves you” can change a life today. So, words that change lives need not be many; they just need to be godly. 


  • Determine that all of your words will be godly today. Avoid foul language.
  • Use your words to affirm and encourage someone today.

PRAYER: “God, use my words for Your glory today.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  Isaiah 14-16, Ephesians 5:1-16

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