The first list of sins in Colossians chapter 3 focused on sins of the body. But this time, we’re looking at you, lips:
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8
Put them all away, Paul writes, as I might tell my daughter to clean up her dolls or my son to get his skateboard off the floor. Lay them aside, get them out of your path, stop stepping on these Lego bricks on your race to righteousness. Put away these foolish playthings; they are no longer suited to your new and righteous life.
Hateful words, gossip sessions, innuendo, crude language — these are weak weapons of our old ways — toy pistols that make us feel powerful over our bitterness, jealousy or insecurity in the moment. Like all such weapons, they look and feel and sound like strength, but there is no real power in them.
And that is the cost of continuing to speak them — real power.
It’s hard to sing a new song from a mouth filled with fear and rumor (Psalm 40:3).
It’s hard to shove words of wisdom and justice through lips packed with anger and foolishness (Psalm 37:30).
It’s hard to taste the bread of life — to drink of living water — when we’re stuffed with words of dust and death (John 6:35).
Jesus gave us the eternal Word to replace our temporary ones. He gave us real and lasting promises to replace false insecurities and fears and injustice — to exchange lips that are tired out with problems and put-downs for a mouth strengthened and made glad in the praise for which it was made. We must learn to speak His forever thoughts instead of our own — to stop wasting our words on all that can never stay true.
Our words tell us things can be made right if only; His Word makes them right even if.
Our words tell us we are better than they are; His Word tells us He is better than life.
Our words keep wounds open, bleeding and sore; His Word brings healing and health.
Our words leave us more discontent in ourselves. His Word leaves us content only with more of Him.
These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves (John 17:13).
More reading: Hebrews 1:3, John 6:63, Psalm 63:3, Proverbs 16:24, Psalm 40, Psalm 119:107