You've probably heard the playground jingle “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, believe me, it’s not entirely true. We all can testify to the negative effects of someone’s words on our soul, and worse yet, we’ve seen the hurt in the eyes of others whom we’ve wronged with our own words. We are all guilty!
We are told in Scripture that “no man can tame the tongue” and that “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21; James 3:8).
According to the book of James, we can control horses with bits in their mouths and steer great ships with a small rudder, but taming the tongue is nearly impossible (James 3:3–6).
However, when we study the entire counsel of Scripture, we see God preparing His messengers (preachers, instructors, singers, and musicians) by first transforming their hearts in order to affect their tongues. We have the Bible and numerous other historical records of God using men and women tongues to provide guidance in times of confusion, to release power when human hearts are helpless, and to rekindle fire in the human spirit. There is a positive to the power of the tongue, as demonstrated by Peter on Pentecost, Paul on a ship in the middle of a terrible storm, and Elijah who lit a fire on an altar in Israel.
One may ask, “How can I tame my tongue”?
You see, as Jesus told us, what seems impossible for man is not impossible for God. He wants to help us in taming our tongue.
What words are you speaking lately? Are they helpful? Encouraging? Or are they bitter and spiteful? I encourage you to examine your heart, take your thoughts captive to Jesus and if there’s anything offensive inside of you, ask Him to reveal it and hand it over to Him.
Then begin to speak words of life. Ask God what to say before you say it. Ask Him for the words. He will give them to you. Never underestimate the power of the tongue. Allow God to use you for His good and for His glory.
What’s one way you can guard your tongue today? We will like to hear from you. Leave us a comment below.
Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you haven’t read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last weeks post was about Spiritual Breathing. We breathe in when we interact with God in His word and we breathe out when we obey what we learn and share it with others. But how do we interact with God in His word? What does that look like?
Jesus said -- “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all I that I commanded…”
If every follower of Jesus is going to obey all that Jesus commanded, then they need to know what Jesus commands.
The Great Commandment and The Great Commission are a great summary of what God has to say to us, but if a follower is going to grow into the full measure of what God created them to be, then they need to know and obey even more.
The SOAPS Bible Study is a method of interacting with God in His word with a view to obedience; or being doers of the word and not simply hearers.
SOAPS stands for
It’s a simple way to learn and remember an effective Bible study method that any follower of Jesus can use. Let’s look at each section a little more.
When you read or listen to the Bible:
So let’s put SOAPS to work:
Try the SOAPS Bible Study and post it to social media with the hashtag #soapsbiblestudy
In this third post in the discipleship series, we will talk about hearing from God and obeying what we hear.
Breathing is life. We breathe in. We breathe out. Life.
Breathing is just as important in God’s Kingdom.
In fact, God calls His Spirit - “breath”.
In the Kingdom, we breathe IN when we HEAR from God.
In the Kingdom, we breathe OUT when we ACT on what we hear from God. We breathe OUT when we OBEY.
Sometimes breathing out to OBEY means changing our thoughts, our words or our actions to align them with Jesus and His will.
Sometimes breathing out to OBEY means sharing what Jesus has shared with us - giving away what He gave us - so that others can be blessed just as God is blessing us.
For a follower of Jesus - this breathing IN and breathing OUT is critical. It’s our very life. And it is the way to move from being hearers of the Word only to being doers of the Word (Matthew 7:24-27).
Jesus said - the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 5:19).
Jesus said - I don't speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.
Jesus said that every word He spoke and every work He accomplished was based on HEARING from God and OBEYING what He heard.
Breathe IN - Hear from God.
Breathe OUT - Obey what you hear and share it with others.
Jesus said that His followers would also hear from God because of His Holy Spirit - His Breath - that would be breathed into every one of us who follows Him.
Jesus said - the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything that I have told you.
Breathe IN - Hear from God.
Breathe OUT - Obey what you hear and share it with others.
Jesus was showing us how to live.
So how do we hear God’s voice? How do we know what to obey?
Jesus called Himself “The Good Shepherd”. Jesus called His followers His “sheep”.
Jesus said - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Jesus said - Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.
As followers of Jesus, we have to be committed to hearing His voice.
Not every voice, not every thought, not every vision, feeling or impression is God’s voice. Sometimes it is the voice of the enemy. Jesus said our enemy is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus said our enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.
But God says that we WILL hear from Him and we will know it is Him when He speaks.
With practice and prayer, we can know God’s voice better. We can learn to know whether what we hear is from God or another voice.
Here are some ways to test what we hear:
The good news for every follower of Jesus is that when we breathe IN and HEAR from God and when we breathe OUT and OBEY what we hear and SHARE with others what we’ve heard – God will speak even more clearly.
His breath will breathe through us even more.
We will HEAR His voice more clearly.
We will KNOW His voice and not another’s.
We will SEE His work in the world and be able to join in and work with Him.
We breathe in. We breathe out. Life.
Consider these questions…
Drop your answers and thoughts into the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts on spiritual breathing.
What is a disciple? And how do you make one?
How do you take someone who has lived their life as a captive of the world and equip them to become a citizen of God’s kingdom?
How do you teach a follower of Jesus to obey all of His commands?
The meaning of the word disciple is a follower. So a disciple is a follower of God.
Jesus said - All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me.
So in God’s kingdom, Jesus is our King. We are His citizens, subjects of His will. His desires, purposes, intentions, priorities and values are the highest and best.
His Word is the law. So what is the law of the kingdom? What does Jesus tell His citizens to do?
Jesus said -- Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Jesus said -- Love your neighbour as yourself.
Jesus said that God’s commands from the Old Testament -- all the law and the prophets – can be summarized in these two things -- Love God and Love People.
Jesus said -- Make disciples.
Jesus said -- Teach them to obey all that I’ve commanded.
Since making disciples includes teaching them all that Jesus commanded -- the New Testament can be summarized in this one thing -- Make Disciples who Multiply.
A disciple is a follower of Jesus who Loves God, Loves People and Makes Disciples who Multiply.
So what is a church?
You may be used to thinking of the church as a building - a place where you go. But God’s Word talks about the church as a gathering - a people you belong to.
The word “church” is used in the Bible in three different ways:
A spiritual family - followers of Jesus who Love God, Love People and Make Disciples and who meet together locally make up this last kind of church - the church at home or the simple church.
When groups of these simple churches connect to do something bigger, together, they can form a city or regional church.
All of those simple churches networked into regions and stretched across history make up the universal church.
THAT’S CHURCH WITH A CAPITAL “C”
Simple churches are spiritual families with Jesus as their centre and their King.
Simple churches are spiritual families who Love God, Love Others and Make Disciples who Multiply.
Some churches have Buildings and Programs and Budgets and Staff…
But simple churches don’t need any of these things to Love God, Love Others and Make Disciples who Multiply.
And since anything extra makes a church more complicated and harder to multiply, discipleship training leaves things like Buildings and Programs and Budgets and Staff to the city or regional church built from multiplying simple churches.
In Matthew 13 and Luke 13 Jesus describes the kingdom of God as leaven or yeast -- a simple, single-cell organism that reproduces quickly.
With discipleship training – we aim to be like that yeast - simple and multiplying.
How would you answer these questions?
Leave your answers in the comments below.
If you are interested in discipleship training, give the office a call or send an email and we will get back to you with details. Contact information