“…through us [God] spreads … the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere.” ( 2 Corinthians 2:14b)
This post was “born” one morning while walking into an outpatient clinic from whose foyer emanated a very pleasing and even comforting fragrance. It occurred to me that that is precisely the effect we have when we walk into certain places …. actually, the Word of God says “everywhere“! Nonetheless, I believe that the degree to which this Grace-given attribute influences others depends largely on our choices regarding our speech.
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34)First and foremost, we desire to please the Lord with our speech Click To Tweet
First and foremost, we desire to please the Lord with our speech, as the psalmist expressed in Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be well-pleasing to You, O Lord!” Because the mouth will speak what the heart has received and stored up, we are careful and diligent to let the Word of God dwell richly in our hearts and then to meditate on His words night and day (Col.3:16; Psa.1:2). We also receive Grace to keep our minds set on things Above because as a man thinks so is he (Prov.23:7; Col.3:2)
” Life and death are in the power of the tongue, …” (Proverbs 18:21)
We could also say that “freshening and pollution” are in the power of the tongue. Pastor Richard Wurmbrand illustrated this in a beautiful, creative way:If your speech is sweet, how can the echo be otherwise than sweet? Click To Tweet
“If your speech is sweet, how can the echo be otherwise than sweet?” This brings to mind a phenomenom shared with us by Pastor Rajan in Nepal. When he would want to announce to certain villages in the Himalayas that there would a certain event (e.g. Bible study, church service), he would climb to a certain place in the mountains and shout out the information … which in turn would reverberate back and forth from peak to peak, echoing the message to the villages where hungry Christians were waiting for it! We could say that the “air” was filled with good news! But the opposite can, of course, happen.
“A righteous man hates lying and deceit, but a wicked man is loathsome [his very breath spreads pollution] … ” (Proverbs 13:5)
Ecclesiastes 10:20 tells us “Curse not the king, no, not even in your thoughts, and curse not the rich in your bedchamber for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and a winged creature will tell the matter.” No wonder the Lord warns us to let our words on earth be few, and to be slow to speak and swift to hear! (Ecclesiastes 5:2; James 1:19)
Imagine the power in the tongue, the lips, the mouth, to refresh the listener in front of us or to pollute his spirit, soul, and heart. Therefore, we are all the more grateful for the commands of the Lord in His Word regarding our speech, giving us clear definition as to what is acceptable and what is not, AND assuring us that with each of these commands He gives inexhaustible Grace to walk in them.
“No … empty, worthless, … [polluted] communication … out of your mouth but only that which is good to the use of edifying [refreshening!] … ” (Ephesians 4:29)
When Caleb and Joshua returned with the other scouts from spying out the Promised Land, they declared, “We are well able to conquer it.”; but out of the mouths of the other 10 scouts came words of fear, doubt, and even anarchy – which caused all the congregation to weep in despair (Numbers 13:28 – 14:1) And even though the entire congregation went against them and their word, Caleb and Joshua would not let their hearts and souls be polluted by the negative confession of their natural-minded fellow spies, and they remained steadfast in faith thoughts, speech, and direction.
“I believe it will be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25)
When Paul was in that huge, life-threatening storm in Acts 27, he assured all of the others with him that not one life would be lost, just as the Lord had told him. His confession – regardless of what he saw and of what the others were saying, was ‘I believe that it will be even as God has told me’. This is how we want to live, to be – and by faith, through Grace, we can! “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.” (Isaiah 50:4) Thus, we keep taking in His thoughts of peace, hiding them richly in our hearts (Col.3:16) so that eventually our mouth will speak these words of Grace to others. We choose to mix faith with what we hear, to believe even as it is told us, and we are sure to be “air fresheners” and not “air polluters”!
” … if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy … suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. … ” (Jeremiah 15:19b)
Imagine the Lord saying to each one of us, “You are My mouthpiece. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it, and I will send My Word through your lips and heal people and deliver them from destruction, and I will encourage and comfort them, and refresh them with hope that comes only through My thoughts of peace toward them … all this and much more through your heart that has an abundance off My Word hidden in it; through your speech which is seasoned with the salt of My resurrection Life (Col.4:6), your tongue being used to impart Life and not death to others.”
Think of all that the Lord did through speaking: clearing the atmosphere of all demonic influence, purifying the air so that people could think clearly and consider the invisible and “see” Jesus clearly, by faith. And now it’s our opportunity, our privilege to avoid vain, useless talk that leads people into more and more ungodliness (II Tim.2:16), and instead to speak the Truth in Love (Eph.4:15), with Wisdom from Above (James 1:5; 3:17), and, simply said, be what we are already: “as He is so are we in this present, [polluted] world.”, the sweet, strong fragrance that comes from knowing Him.