A Yankee transplant, I tawked funny. Remember, I was plucked from the rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and plunked into the sandhills of Columbia, South Carolina. Every time I opened my mouth, people knew I was “not from around here.” No doubt about it, I tawked funny.
A soft-spoken woman with a gentle smiled shared a prayer request in Sunday school, and I knew she wasn’t from around here either. Here speech was lyrical and delightfully different. I found out later she had moved to this army town from Europe as a bride.
My daughter recently took a dialect test. Using a series of questions, it pinpointed which region of the country her speech most resembled. Despite the fact that she’s lived in the South all her life, her dialect strongly reflected the language of New Englanders. This comes as no surprise since I am her mom and was her homeschool teacher.
Whether we’ve lived in the same town all our lives or moved 20+ times, our speech should tell people that we’re not from around here.
Peter and John were good examples of this. Although they had never left their hometown, religious leaders immediately detected something different in their speech. “Salvation is found in no one else,” Peter proclaimed, “for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
“Unschooled and ordinary,” Peter and John had nothing within themselves to draw people to Christ. No seminary degree. No charisma or polish. No eloquence or advance speaker training. But people knew where they’d been and who had been their primary influence. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men,” Acts 4:13 reports, “they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
I’ve noticed on days when I take time to be with Jesus, my speech is more likely to reflect his nature. Although not foolproof, filling my mind and heart with his thoughts through Bible reading and prayer better enables me to speak words that are kind, true, edifying, and full of grace.
Jesus said in Luke 4:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Being with Jesus is the best way to fill my heart with good things. Then, when my heart overflows, what splashes out is a blessing to others. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).
Can people tell from our speech that we’ve been with Jesus? If not, perhaps we need to spend a little more time with him.
What about you? I’d love to know what helps you honor God with your speech. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like, "What Comes Out When You Are Squeezed?" and "Does EVERYTHING have to be about God?"
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