I couldn’t sleep very well last night. There was something bothering me and it should have! I was deeply convicted and spent some time thinking and praying about the careless words that have been coming out of my mouth lately.
When I considered the degradation of my conversations over the last few months, I was struck by the level of pride that had entered my heart and how that pride oozed out of me in a most obvious manner. The words I have been speaking are an indicator of the state of my heart and the focus of my worship. Ouch.
I am thankful that I couldn’t sleep, because that was also an indicator. It showed me that I do belong to the Lord, a truth I desperately needed to hold onto last night.
Matthew 12:36 ESV I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
Matthew 15:18-19 ESV But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
I am grateful for the tender care of the Holy Spirit’s conviction. And I’m trying to not be so shocked at my sin. I was convicted of that too! Being shocked over my sin reveals pride as well, for the Word tells me how deeply sin defiles the human race. God isn’t shocked by my sin- it’s why he died a humble, willing death to atone for it.
What is the best way to deal with this prideful, sinful speech after confessing its existence to the Lord? I go boldly to the throne of Grace to ask for help, and I get specific in my approach to putting off the sin and putting on Christ. I believe it was Brad Bigney who said, “Nobody changes in fuzzyland.”
I find it helpful to list on paper specific instances of failure and come up with a plan to change. Because the Spirit of the Lord lives in me, I do have the power to change, and I have a responsibility to do so. I see in the Bible that I cannot simply put off the sin, but I must put on godly behavior in it’s place. For example, where I’ve been speaking gossip I must replace it with praise and building up of others.
Below is a section of a prayer on pride from the Puritan collection of prayers, The Valley of Vision:
How can I flaunt myself proudly? Lowest abasement is my due place, for I am less than nothing before thee. Help me to see myself in thy sight, then pride must wither, decay, die, perish. Humble my heart before thee, and replenish it with thy choicest gifts. When I am tempted to think highly of myself, grant me to see the wily power of my spiritual enemy; Help me to stand with wary eye on the watch tower of faith, and to cling with determined grasp to my humble Lord. If I fall let me hide myself in my Redeemer’s righteousness, and when I escape, may I ascribe all Deliverance to thy Grace. Amen.