How To Shape Your Words To Matter in Your World

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26 (NIV)

When I was a young teenager, I was incredibly opinionated and loved to voice my every thought. Then, at age 16, something life-altering happened to me.

I fell madly in love with Jesus, and I started to want to know God more than anything. Even more than talking.

One transformation God accomplished in me during that time is that He quieted me. As He taught me His higher ways and higher thoughts in Scripture, I realized my opinion was worth … well, the proverbial two cents. Learning to value God’s Word over my own words was a necessary but painful dying-to-self process.

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At that point, for me, choosing silence was an act of obedience, and God called it good! But years later, silence became something else entirely. Instead of choosing silence to learn more about God, I started using it as a way to:

Fit in.
Get along with others.
Appear righteous.

My reluctance to speak about anything difficult or controversial was motivated by fear and people-pleasing. My silence had switched from being a needed season of learning to outright disobedience. There were things I should have been speaking up about.

In Scripture, Proverbs 31:10-31 is a passage that lists the characteristics of a woman who follows God throughout her lifetime; interestingly, it includes a lesson for how godly women speak up in godly ways.

Proverbs 31:26 says, “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Godly women are set apart by the way they use their words.

In this verse, God gives us two guidelines for the words we’re called to speak:

  • “She speaks with wisdom …” Our personal opinions aren’t necessarily what’s needed. Our words become pleasing to God and valuable to others when they come from the heart of our Father, the Giver of all wisdom.
  • “… Faithful instruction is on her tongue.” In order to battle our tendency to spew our own thoughts, godly women steep ourselves in the Bible, the very thoughts and words of God. Passing along His instruction will bring blessing.

For women who love God and want to use our words well, He’s given us many scriptural models of women who lived out the truths of Proverbs 31:26. Among them are Abigail, who averted a slaughter with her diplomatic speech; (1 Samuel 25) Huldah, who delivered God’s message to a king; (2 Kings 22:13-20) and Mary Magdalene, who proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection to the rest of His followers. (John 20:18)

Somebody Else’s Bitterness – From His Heart – August 26

I’m especially inspired by Esther, who saved her people with her words. She didn’t rush in with her own thoughts, nor did she stay silent out of fear. Instead, she paused and fasted for God’s direction. (Esther 4:16) She waited for just the right time to speak. (Esther 5:8) Then she didn’t stop speaking up, even though her life was in danger, until her people were fully safe. (Esther 8:3-6) Esther left behind self-protective silence and followed God, allowing Him to shape her words. In turn, He used her voice to redeem her people.

God has a purpose for our voices! He’s calling us to use words of wisdom and faithful instruction. Let’s follow the examples of godly women in Scripture and choose to be women who speak up in godly ways. We can all learn to use our words as conduits of His redemption.