THE CHRISTIAN'S VERBAL EXPRESSION
Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
THE BELIEVER'S ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS BY WORDS AND CORRECT DOCTRINE
Each of us speaks thousands of words every day. How many of these words and phrases can we honestly say are words that encourage, comfort, console, challenge, and refresh other people? The Word of God gives us correct doctrine through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. In addition, there are many other ways that we can use words to encourage others. When we use them appropriately, they will have a profound impact on those who hear them.
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
Anxiety in the heart (the thought pattern) weighs it down. You can be "bummed out" in your thinking because of fear, worry and anxiety, but somebody can come along with a good word that will cause you to again trust the Lord and to put your faith and reliance in God. This change of attitude and confession of sin eliminates the anxiety in the thought pattern of the soul. A good word makes the heart glad. At times, all of us have experienced the kind of anxiety spoken about in Psalm 34:18-19.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; (Psalm 34:18-19)
We have the presence of the triune God within our life. God the Holy Spirit indwells the body. The Father indwells the body and the soul. God the Son indwells the body and the soul. God the Holy Spirit can fill the soul and enable us to live the Christian way of life. God the Holy Spirit can enable us to come to love and appreciate all three members of the Trinity. That is how God is near. As you grow in the Lord, as you maintain fellowship with him, you become aware of the presence of God through the plan for your life that He unfolds. You know that He is near as Bible truth becomes a reality in your life.
Living the Christian way of life as a mature believer means that you are on praying ground with God a maximum amount of the day. It does not mean that you are down on your knees 24 hours a day. It means that you go about your life in fellowship with the Lord. There will be moments when something pops into your mind and you take it to the Lord in prayer instead of letting mental attitude sins control your soul. You maintain fellowship with Him and by this action you know that He is near.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted. Perhaps that is your status today. All of us have been greatly disappointed in our lives at one time or another. People have betrayed each of us or someone has hurt us in some way. This may occur in an area of disaster testing such as a loss of health, wealth, or a loved one. This can cause broken-heartedness and anxiety in the heart. It can cause a great sense of disappointment.
THE IMPACT OF THE BELIEVER'S CONVERSATION
Disappointment can turn to discouragement and disillusionment with other people, things, with self, or with circumstances if we allow it. However, we as believers have the problem-solving devices of the Word of God at our disposal! When there is any disaster testing or loss (of health, of wealth, of a loved one), the utilization of the faith-rest life solves those problems. Where there is heartache and difficulty that come because other people have failed us, unconditional love takes up the slack and enables us to keep on loving that person, though we might be filled with sorrow. We do not love what they have done to us, but we love them. This is how the Lord is near to the brokenhearted through those marvelous problem-solving devices in the spiritual life.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
The term "crushed in spirit" in Psalm 34:18 means they are completely crushed in the soul. If any physical pain is involved, it is usually nothing compared to the pain within the soul. There is nothing comparable to soul pain. The word in the Greek is THLIPSIS. That is the word Paul used when writing to the Corinthians about God comforting us through the Word during our times of trouble.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
The word "trouble" in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 means the deepest type of soul suffering, like a person who is crushed in spirit. Spirit here referring to motivation, attitude, and outlook on life. Sometimes, your outlook on life and motivation is very negative because you are crushed. That happens to many of us along the way. It is wonderful to realize that a good word can make the brokenhearted glad. The good word can make the anxious of heart glad. A good word can make those who are even crushed in the spirit glad. It can be an encouragement and refreshment to those with deep soul distress.
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. (Psalm 38:4-8)
Here is a picture of David and the tremendous soul suffering that he went through. He brought this upon himself because of his self-induced misery within his soul based on "Operation Bathsheba and Uriah." Have you ever been that hurt? Have you ever been that brokenhearted, whether self-induced or otherwise, that you just feel numb all over? Davids suffering was so bad that he was having literal physical heart palpitations. There was nothing wrong with his heart, but the suffering brought on by his own carnality and evil was so bad that it was actually affecting his cardiovascular system. This would be a psychosomatic effect because of deep sorrow and deep anxiety. This was self-induced in Psalm 38:8, but not self-induced in Psalm 34:18.
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
This refers to the heavy feeling that comes over us when we are deeply troubled about something. It usually relates to the uncertainty of the outcome of a situation or the future of a given circumstance. In Proverbs 12:25, Solomon was referring to the effects of a heavy heart. He also indicated that anxiety and heaviness can dissipate - a good word makes the heart glad. We should ask ourselves - to what extent we are encouraging people with kind words? It is right for us to withhold that which is so powerful, so effective and so Scriptural? What we are on the inside should make a difference on the outside.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13)
Here is a person who has inner happiness and it is seen as a cheery face. We see that the thought pattern of the soul can be weighed down by sadness. This can cause the motivation to dissipate. The spirit can be broken. The word spirit here, also in Proverbs 34:18, is not a reference to the human spirit. It refers to your motivation or outlook. Under deep sorrow and distress you can develop a "give-up-itis." You can become so "bummed out" that you may not want to do anything. That can become abnormal. Some people just stay in bed and don't want to get up. That is when it gets into deep-seated depression. This is depression that is based on self-centeredness and self-pity. This is depression based on arrogance, self-pity, recrimination, and being down on other people who have failed you and being depressed because of that. We all have disappointments in life. However, Bible truth with God's problem-solving devices can keep us away from perpetual discouragement and disillusionment that lead to depression.
Depression that is physiologically induced is a different thing. Depression that is induced because of biochemical imbalances in the brain is physiologically-induced depression. This type of depression can only be determined by medical means. If this condition is diagnosed, it should be treated by medication related to the brain that will correct it. For these cases, only after medical diagnosis and effective medical therapy can the believer then learn to correctly apply God's problem-solving devices from consistent intake and application of the Word of God.
Epaphrodites was the pastor of the church in Philippi and became sad and distressed when he was separated from his right congregation. He was gone for a long time and was helping the Apostle Paul during the first Roman imprisonment. Paul decided to send him back to his church because he was so distressed that he could not function as a help to Paul. He was heartsick. He wanted to be back ministering the Word of God to his own people. Paul recognized this condition in Epaphrodites and understood the only way to correct it was to send him back to his right congregation. This condition is not depression, but true sorrow from separation from a loved-one. This is something that a person can experience while being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
God's problem-solving devices of confession of sin, walking in the Spirit, the faith-rest life toward circumstances, and unconditional love toward other people, are what deliver us from perpetual discouragement and disillusionment. It is powerful and scriptural to give this type of encouragement to other people. What we are on the inside does make a difference on the outside says Proverbs 15:13. We all have the potential to heal a broken heart or a broken spirit. That should be an encouragement to you.
THE ANALOGY OF HONEY
A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:23-24)
Proverbs 16:24 shows us where something in the physical life is analogous to something in the spiritual life. One of the greatest health foods that has ever existed is honey. It was in the ancient world and still is today. Pleasant words are just like the honeycomb. Just as honey provides benefits to our health, pleasant words are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. The soul is the psychological or soulish side of life. The bones represent the physical side of life. This is a beautiful analogy because, unless we are abnormal, we all enjoy sweet things. Often, all we remember are the sweet things in life.
Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was motivated to use this analogy. Proverbs 16:23-24 tells us that we, as believers, are trichotomous and, as such, have three aspects or divisions within us. These divisions are mutually exclusive and are the body, the soul, and the human spirit. The human spirit is something that only believers possess. The unbeliever is dichotomous and has only the body and the soul. All Bible truth resides in your soul. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit controls your soul and enables this information to get into your human spirit. The Bible truth is then directed to the soul for your volitional decision toward it. Only when spiritual phenomena reside within your soul as academically understood information or GNOSIS can you either accept it by a positive faith response. If you accept it, the Holy Spirit is then able to metabolize it whereby it becomes EPIGNOSIS or full knowledge.
The human spirit can be thought of as a spiritual brain stem, just as your physical brain stem takes incoming nerve impulses and directs them to the different compartments of the brain. The frontal lobes have the highest electrical energy in the brain and are thought of as the seat of man's intelligence.
Everything that you are is in your soul. Your self-consciousness, your mentality, your conscience, your emotions, and your volition are all right up there in the precortal frontal lobes. The spiritual brain stem or the human spirit takes the information that we receive under the ministry of the Holy Spirit and directs it to all of the facets of the soul. Here, the information in the left lobe is called gnosis doctrine or academic doctrine. With this information, you are a hearer of the Word of God only. Then, your positive volition response of understanding and belief means you will act on it, use it, and obey it. This is not an attitude that you believe it, but intend to go on living a hell-raising life as long as you want to. If you do, you are deceived. God will discipline you until you wake up to see that believing doctrine is applying doctrine and obeying doctrine. Believing doctrine is utilizing doctrine.
The positive volition that metabolizes Bible doctrine makes you a hearer AND a doer of the Word of God. This means that you are learning, applying, obeying, and living it. You should avoid those who say all you have to do is have positive volition to Bible doctrine and that is all that counts. They erroneously say just believe what you understand and there are absolutely no further requirements placed upon your life. These people who are using this as an excuse for a lascivious lifestyle are totally out of line. These people are under divine discipline and are retrogressive types rather than advancing types. Believers all have a psychological or soulish part, a physical body, and a human spirit. We are trichotomous. These things are interrelated, yet separate divisions within us. As we learn Bible truth, we physically assemble for the intake of the Word. Through positive volition and the filling of the Holy Spirit, the enabling ministry of the Holy Spirit in the human spirit is the grace process for learning and living Bible doctrine.
Solomon reminds us that pleasant words affect both our psychological and physiological being in a positive way. On the other hand, Solomon reminds us the opposite is also true.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
To share the happiness of God in your soul is good medicine. When people are brokenhearted and under intense suffering, we can be used of the Lord to transform that into a cheerful heart. That heart can experience the happiness of God as we encourage them from the Word and see them respond to it. To what extent are you healing broken spirits? Or are you one of those people who enjoys breaking spirits and discouraging people? There are many people out there like that. They have a perverted sense of happiness. The only type of happiness they experience is a perverted happiness by thinking of themselves as good, content, happy, and fulfilled by hurting other people. You can never build your happiness on someone else's unhappiness. If you make other people unhappy, you are going to be unhappy. We can encourage others or we can discourage them. The very words that we speak can encourage or discourage people.
THE APPLES OF GOLD IN SETTINGS OF SILVER
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear. (Proverbs 25:11-12)
Imagine the ancient world where everything was done by hand. Imagine a beautiful silver necklace, silver bracelet, or as they had in the ancient world, silver anklets. Then take gold and fashion an apple by hand and set it in the silver bracelet, silver necklace or a silver anklet. That would be extremely hard to do, especially in the ancient world where the tools were very primitive. This was the bronze age. The tools that they had in the jewelry business were nothing like we have today. Manufacturing this jewelry was extremely difficult. It took a lot of time, talent, and effort.
As you grow spiritually, you begin to understand what spiritual gift or gifts you were given at salvation. You begin to use those gifts as you continue to grow spiritually. There are many people who have the gift of encouragement. We are all challenged to exercise the ministry of encouragement. It can be difficult. It takes time to grow spiritually. You must listen to your pastor-teacher who communicates the Word to you. You must listen to the applications so that you see them and how they relate to you so you can apply them.
It takes time for a babe in Christ to become a man of God. It sometimes takes all the self-discipline, self-control, determination, and sacrifice that you have to hang in there with the Word of God on a daily basis. This spiritual effort is analogous to the jeweler in the ancient world who spent a lot of time, skill, and effort to make jewelry. So you develop spiritual skills over time as you grow spiritually. One of these abilities is to encourage other people.
Encouragement to others can be hard to do. It takes time and skill. Under spiritual growth, you will be able to encourage other people and to be a blessing to them. This is very important. Imagine how valuable gold and silver bracelets or necklaces would be in the ancient world. Imagine how valuable it is to other people to have your encouragement, consolation, comfort, and challenge. This proverb shows the importance of choosing our words. It requires a lot of thought. Imagine all the thinking the jeweler had to do to make something so beautiful and precious. There is great importance in choosing our words carefully and sharing them at the right times. Solomon said that words spoken at right circumstances at the right time are captivating and memorable. These words are just like this beautiful piece of jewelry.
Are you using your potential to encourage others? Is it a skill that everyone can develop? It certainly is! The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness and self-control. It does not come naturally! It takes the practice of walking in the Spirit on a daily basis. Solomon was not talking about flattery because flattery is communication used with false motives. Flattery is defined as "excessive and often insincere compliments, especially to win the favor of someone." Many people are comfortable in their deceit or flattery of others for their own purposes. This occurs very often during dating when one or both have hidden agendas or motives. The relationship usually self-destructs with one or both hurt.
If you are smart, you should be alerted when you are flattered by someone with no apparent motive. The problem with many people today is that they like flattery. This erroneous response only encourages more of it from others. They want others to appeal to their vanity. They want others to appeal to their preoccupation with themselves. They are insecure and have no spiritual self-esteem. They have no Biblical self-respect. Remember, flattery is generally given with false motives. It is not like a genuine compliment. You can always tell when someone has left the realm of a genuine compliment and has gotten into flattery. Flattery usually sounds like an excessive compliment without an apparent motive. Beware of any member of the opposite sex who over-compliments.
For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. (Romans 16:18)