Devotional – Wednesday, May 20, 2020

“Oops What Did I Just Say”

How many times have we been in the heat of competition and heard words coming out of our mouth that we weren’t proud of? Maybe it’s a pattern of speech or cursing that we’ve had since childhood. Some of us accept this kind of language as a part of the sport and never really think about it but many of us, however, see it as a real problem and carry loads of guilt in our souls because we have no good solution for the bad habit we’ve developed.

For others of us the problem is not cursing but sarcasm and other forms of speech that belittle others. This kind of abusive speech is just as injurious as cursing, but is somehow more culturally acceptable. Worse still, the sarcastic ones even congratulate themselves for not cursing, resulting in an even more prideful, self-righteous attitude.

Many of us that love sports genuinely love God, but our speech would lead one to assume otherwise. We may have developed a habit of vulgar or abusive language over a long time and have found it to be a very difficult flesh pattern to correct. This discord between our expressions of love for Christ and our more foul mouth expressions of frustration or disgust lead many to discount the validity of our faith and our devotion to the Lord Jesus. Worse still, those prone to judgment will label us as hypocrites and may turn away from the faith blaming our inconsistency as the reason for their unbelief.

Many of us who have struggled with this flesh pattern can outwardly regulate our flesh with varying levels of success. Some simply make up substitute curse words. Others impose fines or forms of punishment on themselves and those around them for the utterance of offensive words. While these may seem to deal directly with the behavior, they are sometimes just our vain attempts to punish and discourage a stubborn pattern of our flesh. 

The problem with this strategy and the reason for the resulting frustration is that the root of the issue is much deeper than one’s flesh; it is a matter of the heart. Jesus said it this way, “How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For a man’s heart determines his speech.” (Matthew 12:34) The Apostle Paul expressed his frustration in these words, “No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t.” (Romans 7:18)

God has but one answer for dealing with the deepest matters of the heart and the transformation of our souls, the Holy Spirit. The key to life-changing power for overcoming such powerful habits is the application of God’s Word to our lives. “For it is God who works in you both to do his will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

Offered by Bill Trotter

With credit to Roger Lipe at devotions4competitors.blogspot.com

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