Practical Application of the Word of God
In “Practical Christianity: Walking the Walk – Pt. 1,” we looked at how we in the ekklesia often fall into the same “Who is my neighbor?” skewed and wrong thinking of the lawyer who tested Jesus Christ with this question in Luke 10 and how we can overcome that by walking the walk of practical Christianity that Christ Himself modeled for us. We saw practical examples of what this looks like in our own lives.
In this post, we’ll look at another aspect of walking the walk in the area of communication.
God’s word has a lot to say about communication. There is much wisdom about proper and improper communication, when and if to communicate, and how to communicate in the pages of the Bible.
If there is a glaring area of disconnect between God’s word and what we actually do in practice, I submit that it is in our communication with God and with others.
Humans seem hardwired to communicate. We talk, talk, talk and/or write, write, write continuously.
With social media constantly encouraging us to speak our minds, it seems that we have followed the world in believing that we’ve been given the go-ahead to share an endless stream of consciousness conversation with the entire world with no thought or care of our wording, no filters on the words we choose, and no concern that our words will cause hurt, damage, and offense.
As social media has opened this door, this kind of communication has become the way we as Christians communicate with people in person as well.
Communication is powerful, in both positive ways and negative ways. The ability to consistently control our communication – and the top two ways are to simply listen and to resist the urge to say or writing something just because you can – is a rare sign that we are using God’s spirit to exercise self-control.
We as Christians have stopped asking God to put a guard on our mouths and to set a watch over our lips. Instead, we have decided it’s okay to say whatever we want, whenever we want, and however we want. And we do.
But I submit to you that we could all use a refresher course in the value of both silence and an economy of words.
The reality of life is that we don’t know all the facts, we don’t understand the whole situation, and, too often, we are just ignorant (either we don’t know what we’re talking about or we’re too lazy to educate ourselves to talk intelligently about something).
The first way we walk the walk of practical Christianity in communication is to stop and determine if we even need to speak or write.
We are uncomfortable with silence and often get into trouble when we try to fill the void with words to ease our own discomfort.
We have increasingly lost the art of just listening to someone without answering (whether it’s that running conversation in our heads, our platitudes to act like we’re interested but is really to get away from anything serious as quickly as we can, or our pronouncements from on high about why and how the person talking or writing is wrong).
There are times when someone is speaking or writing when there are no answers. They aren’t looking for answers. They’re not complaining, but instead explaining.
We are actually doing a lot of damage that we may not be aware of because we’re shutting the person down. The more this happens, the further and deeper the shutdown goes, until the person simply chooses to quit communicating anything on a human level out of self-protectiveness.
This is a brother or sister who knows that God and Christ are the only ones with answers and they pray without ceasing about everything to God the Father.
But it is a shame – and to our discredit – that because we are not walking the walk of practical Christianity in communication, they come to believe there’s not a living soul on earth that they can communicate with.
Another thing we need to be doing is to think before we speak or write. We should run every single word through the litmus test of God’s word before we say it or write it.
Before a word ever crosses our lips or fingers we as Christians must think about and apply scriptures like James 1:26, Proverbs 15:4, Ecclesiastes 5:2-3, Proverbs 10:19, Psalm 39:1, Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 15:11, and Luke 6:45.
To our discredit, this kind of rein on our communication by living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God has, by and large, disappeared.
A third area of walking the walk of practical Christianity in communication that we all need to be doing is to ensure that what we say or write is true (by researching, by proving, by testing, by verifying) and not misinformation, disinformation, or an outright lie.
This too is, sadly, less and less common among those of us who claim to follow God and Jesus Christ.
We live in an information age, but the reality is that a lot of the information we have is bogus, wrong, unproven, manipulative, skewed, angled, twisted and, although it often contains a tiny bit of truth it is surrounded by a lot of untruth.
It’s clever hook that seems, more and more, to trip us as Christians up. But anything that contains anything that isn’t true is a lie. It’s that black and white to God and it should be to us as well.
As maturing Christians, we should be able to discern this, but it seems that we have abandoned discernment completely and just accept whatever we see, hear, and read.
And then we pass it on to others who are expecting us to be truthful, and in the process, we are perpetuating lies.
Go back and read Matthew 4. Notice that Jesus Christ and Satan both quote scripture, but Christ speaks the truth of scripture, while Satan twists and manipulates it.
When we say or write things that are not true, whether it’s misinformation, disinformation, or outright lies, then we are behaving like Satan and not like Jesus Christ.
It’s that serious. And yet it seems that in the area of communication, we increasingly don’t approach it with any kind of seriousness at all.
God cares deeply about our communication, because it reflects our internal selves: our hearts, our souls, and our minds. We should care just as deeply.
Two questions should always accompany our communication.
“What do my words say to God about me?”
“Would I say or write these words to God?”
The answers may give you some unexpected, but profitable, results.