One thing most of us are concerned about related to a job or some other involvements is the benefits. We want to know what the advantage will be or what good something will do us. Ephesians 4:29 is one of my favorite Bible passages and one that has convicted me often and called for me to consider this thing of benefits, not for myself but for others.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” NIV

Short, to the point, and powerful. Easy to understand. For most of us not easy to live by, but what a tremendous difference it makes. I remember when this very first hit me many years ago. A couple of Christian brothers and I had developed the habit of what we called “hooking and jabbing,” which was aiming sarcastic, wise acre, potentially hurtful remarks at each other, which seemed fun and harmless at the time. But then comes this verse. And I had to stop and had to share this conviction with my brothers; and we we all stopped. I guess Christians just can’t have any fun! What is the big deal anyway?

Let’s take a look. I think it will help to start at the end and work towards the beginning. “…that it may benefit those who listen.” This is the goal of this statement, the desired end result. What is it? To BENEFIT OTHERS. Who? “those who listen.” That means anyone who hears (or reads) what I say. Whether it is someone I am speaking to or someone who overhears me. What effect are my words having on others? Are they lifting up others? edifying? building up? glorifying God? somehow pointing to Jesus or revealing what He has done in my life? Are they benefitting the hearer/listener in any way at all? This is what love is all about. and love is what the life of the follower of Jesus is all about. And agape love is all about doing what is in the HIGHEST INTERESTS and to the HIGHEST GOOD of OTHERS. It is other-centered and not self-centered. So when I open my mouth I need to consider: what effect will what I say or express have on others?

That leads us to what comes before. “…according to their needs…” This is the determiner and qualifier of what I give expression to. Not my feelings, anger, hurt, frustration, ego needs to look big or important; but what are the needs of those who will hear me. The needs of others are my focus and I speak to meet those needs. As it says, “only what is helpful for building others up.” Not all kinds of foolishness or anything else that isn’t helpful. ARE MY WORDS HELPFUL IN BUILDING OTHERS UP AND MEETING THEIR NEEDS? ONLY WHAT IS HELPFUL!

And back to the beginning. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” Now we see that this means more than just what is hurtful or profane. But “unwholesome” means whatever is not healing and beneficial. Can you do it? No! not on my own. But YES, by confessing to the Lord my failure and my need of Him to work it in me. And He will if you are serious. And it won’t be some magical once for all transformation. We will need to revisit this often. But by looking to the Lord to make us aware and continually bringing ourselves to Him in this, He will transform us. And how wonderful when the expressions of our lives are beneficial and edifying to others.

One more thing. What are you giving your ears to hear and listen to? Is it edifying to you and building you up, or is it unwholesome? That is also a choice we make, and we will speak in keeping with what we choose to hear.

It is my hope and prayer that this is edifying and beneficial.

Pilgrim 41144

Published in: on June 20, 2010 at 8:16 PM  Leave a Comment  
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