Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” NASB
I have heard this passage used to decry the use of profanity, but I believe its reach is far beyond foul language. Merriam-Webster defines ‘unwholesome’ as detrimental to physical, mental, or moral well-being.’ A sub-definition includes the idea of shady unwholesome dealings and loathsome. Another dictionary renders it ‘not wholesome; unhealthy; deleterious to health or physical or moral well-being. Not sound in health; unhealthy, especially in appearance.’
As believers and moral people, we should have as our objective to make our words those that lift up and inspire not tear down and deflate. I pray with David, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14).
The writer of Proverbs declared, “Wholesome speech is a tree of life, but dishonest talk breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4). The words of Titus 2:8 provide a needed reminder, “Use wholesome speech that cannot be condemned. Then any opponent will be ashamed because he cannot say anything bad about us.” Then Paul issues the wonderful declaration in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one [who questions you].”
We need to be reminded of the words of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequence of their words.” The apostle James brought to light the incredible power of the tongue and its tendency to be unruly in James 3:6, “And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by hell (Gehenna).”
But if we are to have sanctified tongues more than self-control is required. We must have right hearts. Jesus reminded us in Matthew 12:34 that it is out of the ‘abundance of the heart’ that the words are presented. David cried to the LORD in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The Psalmist declared in Psalms 26:2, “Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.” The heart is the key!
The apostle Paul instructed us in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be, conformed to this world: but transformed via the renewed mind. David declared in Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks and what the mouth speaks first is filtered through the gate of the mind. Paul made an amazing statement in Ephesians 4:23, “And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds…”
Many, if not most of the problems, in this present world have their root in an unsanctified heart, which produces an unsanctified mind from which an unsanctified tongue is allowed to spew forth its death, discord, and destruction. If our hearts are sanctified, our minds will be renewed, and our tongues will be brought into captivity and we will demonstrate sanctified tongues. Tongues that bless rather than curse are might weapons in the Kingdom of God.
I pray that each of us will seek the LORD and ask Him to sanctify our hearts and our minds and as He does the tongue will become sanctified and be a fountain of life not a cesspool of unwholesomeness.
God bless you as you pursue His Person, Peace, and Power. Have a great day in Him!