When we are not right with God it greatly impacts our speech, our relationships with others, and our relationship with God. Grumbling, disputes, arguments, complaining, boasting, and slander are all the result of a heart that is not drawing near to God. Even our prayers are made ineffective when we seek our own interests and not God’s. There is a sure way to fix it. Resist the enemy and draw near to God. We must never be in the position where the opposite is true. When we are humbly repentant, God purifies our lips and it makes all the difference. We must strive daily to stir ourselves to lay hold of and draw near to God.
To go deeper, read James 4:1-17. Note each verse that mentions anything to do with our speech, then answer the questions below.
What areas are included by James? Is any of it good? In what ways does our speech impact our relationships with others and with God?
What seems to be at the center of the problems we have with our speech? How might you suggest we guard these areas of our lives? Why are verses 7 and 8 key to speaking life?
What does it mean to resist the enemy and draw near to God? What is the converse of resisting the enemy and drawing near to God? What is the difference between resisters and enemy sympathizers?
What happens when we stop drawing near to God and calling upon the Lord? What characteristics are true of a city that does not draw near to God? What do James 4, Isaiah 64, and Zephaniah 3 all have in common? Why is repentance a critical component of drawing near to God? What is true of one who is humbly repentant (see Zephaniah 3:9)? What would it mean for you to stir yourself to take hold of God? How can you ensure that you are pursuing God daily?
Scripture used in this teaching: Psalm 141:3-4; James 4:1-17; Matthew 5:21-22, 28; Mark 7:20-23; Proverbs 7:25-26; Hebrews 10:21-22; Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Isaiah 55:6, 64:7; Zephaniah 3:1-2