Tongue-tied? Bound really.
I had a rude awakening a couple of Sundays ago, to my tongue-tied speech impediment. The funny thing is I didn’t even realize I had one. Mine just happened to be spiritual. I was sitting in church listening to my Pastor. It was the first day of our corporate fast. Every year we commit to a 21-day fast of our choice to usher in the new year. Mine was a no-brainer made without much thought… or prayer.
I had already decided that I would clean up my act again and go sugar-free, among other things, to get back to the Maximized Living approach. Trust me, this is affliction for me. But just like a fool, I fell back into my old, wicked, sugar-eating ways over Christmas thanks to some amazing sugar cookies and lavender, white-chocolate scones. Can you blame me? After working so hard to detox not only of sugar, but dairy and grains, too, this may be considered stupidity. My brain throbbed for the first twelve days of the detox, and you’d think I’d never sample sugar-infested things again. But, I did, and it’s not really the point of this blog.
So back to my rude awakening…
I sat there listening to the Pastor as he preached on how our words limit us. This was followed by how we need to stop talking about our respective husband or wife. Then came the whisper… “I want you to fast your words.” I stopped listening to the Pastor and inwardly groaned. And just in case I tried to slough it off as a random thought, I heard the LORD whisper again in my spirit, “Yes, I want you to fast your words.”
There was no denying what I heard. He wanted a word fast. What about the sugar! I wanted to scream. I knew the challenge of what He was asking, and sugar was the easy way out. Looking back, I didn’t grasp the extent of His why at that time. I thought I passed this test. A couple of months ago, I had my first taste of tongue restraint which led me to assume this topic was closed.
To better explain, I guess you should know what fueled my 30-day sugar-grain-dairy detox to understand my angst sparked by His whisper. What started as a healthy, life-style change quickly turned into a fast when my friend gave me a word from the LORD. She came down from her quiet time with a hand-written note for me. It was about my words. It was a call to action and what I’d call a gentle rebuke. I was to say nothing negative about my husband, but only pray and intercede for him instead. I was to implement a war room of prayer.
To further clarify, we were in the throes of a very long trial with a nebulous ending. I was beyond frustrated. My words, whether justified or not, were a problem. I was making a strained situation worse. I didn’t think what I was saying was an issue, but obviously, God did. So, I offered up negative Mark-talk along with sugar, grains and dairy. I think I was more successful with restraining from the food portion which might explain why…
He asked for my words again.
Underestimating the condition of my clean speak at the beginning of the corporate fast, I started a word fast devotion in my Bible app. It was a heart and gut punch at the same time…. tongue-tied still. Oh, the conviction, and it was just the intro! Before starting the fast I didn’t think I had a problem until I dug deeper.
Not only did I find traces of each negative theme in my speech, the LORD revealed the heart of sarcasm to me. It’s a form of vengeance. Wow… Verbal assault really. My sarcastic humor was verbal retaliation for any perceived affront or offense with the intent to put its victim into their assigned place. A place assigned by me.
What was encouraged by my other snarky friends, I also ascribed as sharp humor and a sign of intelligence. Snarky comments, normally at someone else’s expense, are considered the same as tearing flesh like a dog. It’s how sarcasm’s Greek root word is defined. Ouch! Reading that made me cringe. What is celebrated as rapier-like-wit by the world is really the most debase form of humor. Sarcasm is the lowest and mine was helping to pour the foundation of low. And if that weren’t enough, all negative words such as complaining, criticism, judgment, sarcasm and gossip are diffused like a stenchy aroma in the spiritual atmosphere like emotional viruses. They create an environment where the Holy Spirit won’t dwell.
I now understood His why for the word fast. It revealed my word limitation. I wasn’t just tongue-tied, I was bound. Negative words, even in jest, not only made me tongue-tied of positive power, but bound to negativity. My words had power, but not of the Holy Spirit. What comes out of the mouth indicates which world I live in… carnal or spiritual. Words build bridges and pathways to the world of their origin. Never forget they have the power to attract or drag others there, too. This was a humbling reminder to not underestimate the power of the tongue… the source of life or death, blessings or curses. Words are a weapon of supernatural power which may be used for good or bad, and must be handled with great care.
LORD, make me slow to anger, quick to listen and slow to speak. Remove every idle word from my mouth. Make me a speaker of life and a source of blessing, who releases the power of heaven on earth. I choose to live limitless and unbound. LORD, make me a weapon for only the Kingdom of God.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.