Guard My Mouth
I’ve always been fairly opinionated. Ok…not fairly, more like strongly opinionated. When I feel like I know what I’m talking about or have a different perspective that may bring some clarity and understanding to the forefront, I can get passionate. Stubborn. Outspoken even. And it’s all because of that loudmouth voice in my head, telling me to say this and interject that and push back until they stand down. ‘Don’t give up until you’ve been heard and understood,’ it says. ‘And felt,’ it demands. It always wants to be felt.
To be honest, that voice never seems to be alone. That voice isn’t just a voice. It’s more like a committee. A collective governing body in my head that deliberates its verdict on everything. And I mean everything. From the latest questionable fashion trends and hilarious videos gone viral to controversial doctrine, steamy political issues, and heated sports debates. The committee has diversified interests and takes a position on everything. And I mean everything. Even those things that I think it shouldn’t have any say over whatsoever.
The committee’s always talking. Never at a loss for words. And if I’m not careful, their thoughts become my thoughts. Their opinions my own. Their sarcastic, snarky sense of humor, now my trademark. If I’m not careful, the committee runs the show.
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34c ESV
As I take a deeper look, the committee voices the intentions and the attitudes of my heart. It screams its conditions, its motives, its every crevice of emotion and the nagging desire to be heard, to be felt, to be right. Fighting the committee, combative as it is, can be exhausting all alone. It’s a daily battle, an epic war, waged with the heart right in the middle and the mouth poised to be the frontline. The calling is exhausting when I alone am the sole watcher and keeper of my tongue.
3 Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.
4 Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts with men who commit sin.
Psalm 141:3-4 CSB
The only reason that the war is such a struggle is because the calling itself speaks volumes. The saga intensifies as the calling magnifies. The higher the calling, the more the war.
We struggle to keep our own mouths shut on the everyday hoopla. So, when it comes to the very purpose that God has for our lives, we definitely wrestle within ourselves to stay positive, stay patient, and to stay faithful. And sometimes, God allows us to handle this contention with the committee. But sometimes, He chooses to take a more hands-on approach in the fight.
In Luke 1, we’re introduced to Zechariah, a righteous but childless priest, married to Elizabeth, and well beyond their years. The angel Gabriel comes to him in the temple, bringing the good news that the couple will have a child that is to be named John, and that this child will be filled with the Spirit of God right from the womb to lead many in Israel back to God and to make the way ready for the Lord’s arrival. This is obviously overwhelming news, since Zechariah’s response was as such…
18 “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
Luke 1:18 CSB
I bet the committee had a field day with him in that moment. There are obviously physical and biological reasons why this pregnancy both shouldn’t have been possible and would be difficult to tell if it was even happening for quite some time. They were both older and may not have been “one” as much, if you know what I mean. And I’m sure the committee’s telling him all of this. Their commentary causes him to question the angel of God. So, God takes a hands-on approach to eliminate all mouthiness that comes from unbelief.
19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 Now listen. You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Luke 1:19-20 CSB
Sometimes God will silence you to sit you back and watch His show. During Elizabeth’s entire pregnancy, he had no choice but to be a silent spectator in the miraculous wonder and power that is God. And in certain seasons, God will put you on mute to show His might.
See, He knows our character. And He knows when our character doesn’t match the calling. Zechariah’s mouth reflected his current character. Although he was a righteous priest and a man of faith, what he spoke to the angel was out of an unbelieving heart. Due to the circumstances of age and biology, it just wasn’t humanly possible for Elizabeth to conceive a child, for her body to work in a way that would nurture a growing fetus and then hold up through labor and deliver a healthy baby boy. It sounds unbelievable. And Zechariah did not believe. Again, his current character didn’t match the call.
He’s silenced. He’s been sat down, so to speak, by God Himself. And eventually, he had no choice but to survey the landscape of his life, as he watched his wife go through this entire gestation period well beyond her childbearing years. He had no choice but to be fixed on the faithfulness of His Father. What a character building experience!
After he had watched all this take place, his baby boy was born. And while the relatives and neighbors wanted the child to be named after his father, Elizabeth deferred to the name John instead.
62 So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote: “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
Luke 1:62-64 CSB
God can silence you to get the praises out of you. He knows just how to draw out the character He desires so that your mouth (and your heart) are positioned for your calling.
Has God ever silenced you in a particular season, so that you could be a spectator of His awesome power? How much richer were your praises to Him after watching Him work?
Share your revelations with us!