Glorify God with Your Speech
How can this be done? What speech especially glorifies him?
SPEECH is a gift from our Creator, Jehovah God. As all gifts from God, this one is for the purpose of bringing glory and praise to his name. Since we live in a world where people give little or no thought to praising God, we need regular encouragement and reminders to develop the kind of speech that will glorify him.
In some parts of the world people feel they have a right to say anything they want because, as they say, “this is a free country.” However, freedom can be abused. When one abuses a gift from another there is usually a weakening of the bond of friendship between them. At least the giver’s respect for the one to whom he gave the gift may be lowered upon seeing how the gift is abused.
Therefore, to help us avoid abusing God’s gift of speech and thereby lose a good standing with him, the Bible gives us important advice. For instance, it says: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all injuriousness.” (Eph. 4:31) That kind of speech does not glorify God. Therefore, the Bible says to get it out of your life. Parents should not be screaming at their children, nor should children scream at one another. It is not pleasing to God for anyone to speak in this way.
There are other types of speech, too, that the Bible tells us to avoid because they do not glorify God. For example, it reports concerning certain women: “At the same time they also learn to be unoccupied, gadding about to the houses; yes, not only unoccupied, but also gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs, talking of things they ought not.” (1 Tim. 5:13) If we want to glorify God with our speech, then we cannot be like such unoccupied gossipers.
On the other hand, the kind of speech that glorifies God is the kind that builds appreciation in the hearts and minds of persons for Almighty God Jehovah. It is speech that instructs “with mildness,” that leads others “to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25) This is the kind of speech that we wisely seek to cultivate.
CULTIVATING SPEECH THAT GLORIFIES GOD
How can we develop speech of that kind? How can we learn to speak in a way that will bring glory to Jehovah God?
First, we must have right things in our heart, for as Jesus Christ said: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34) So this means we must meditate on proper things. It requires heeding the Bible counsel: “Whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.”—Phil. 4:8.
To consider these praiseworthy, righteous things requires a personal study of God’s Word where these things are discussed. But for this study really to be beneficial it must be done with a proper motive. As the Bible proverb explains: “The heart of the righteous one meditates so as to answer.” (Prov. 15:28) So if we meditate with the purpose of answering questions that people may have about God and his purposes, our speech truly will glorify Jehovah God. It will lead others “to an accurate knowledge of truth.”—2 Tim. 2:25.
But in addition to studying God’s Word privately, regular attendance at congregational meetings of Jehovah’s people also is necessary if we are to cultivate speech that glorifies God. The fine counsel and training received at these meetings will assist us to answer Bible questions more effectively. It gives us a good feeling when we can do this. It is as the Bible proverb says: “A man has rejoicing in the answer of his mouth, and a word at its right time is O how good!”—Prov. 15:23.
Prayer, too, is vital in cultivating speech that will glorify God. The Christian apostle Paul asked for others to pray in his behalf, “that ability to speak may be given me . . . to make known the sacred secret of the good news.” (Eph. 6:19) On an earlier occasion the apostles and other disciples also prayed that they might be able to speak the truth boldly, petitioning: “And now, Jehovah, . . . grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.”—Acts 4:29.
That this prayer was pleasing to God is clearly shown by God’s answer. The Bible says that when the apostles finished praying, “the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31) Thus prayer should not be overlooked as an important factor in uttering speech that is pleasing to God.
SPEECH FURNISHES BASIS FOR JUDGMENT
Whether we obtain God’s favor and his blessing of eternal life depends to a considerable extent upon our speech. Speech is that important; it is a life-or-death matter. It furnishes a basis for judgment. Jesus Christ showed this when he told the religious Pharisees of his day: “I tell you that every unprofitable saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day; for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned.”—Matt. 12:36, 37.
How vital it is, therefore, to examine our speech! Does it really glorify God? It is not enough that our speech be free of abusiveness, screaming, lying and gossip. While this is essential, it alone does not endear our speech to Jehovah God. It is not simply a matter of refraining from saying things that God condemns; rather, speech that truly glorifies God must be a positive thing, expressing what God wants his servants to express.
We cannot escape the fact that God desires his people to declare the good news about his heavenly government. Jesus Christ proclaimed the “kingdom of God,” explaining: “I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:43) Jesus also pointed forward to “the conclusion of the system of things,” and said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:3, 14.
Therefore, if we want God’s favor and eternal life we simply must recognize the necessity of imitating the example of Jesus Christ. We must proclaim the Kingdom message as he did, and not be ashamed of his course of life or the message he preached. As Jesus explained: “Whoever becomes ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of this one when he arrives in his glory.” And on another occasion Jesus said: “He that disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 9:26; 12:9) How vital it is, therefore, that we do not allow anything to interfere with our making public declaration concerning God’s purposes, for this is speech that truly glorifies God.—Rom. 10:10.
The message regarding God’s purposes is urgent. Even in the first century Christians felt the urgency of declaring the good news of the Kingdom, and they did so with boldness and persuasiveness. Of the ministry of the apostle Paul in the city of Ephesus we are told: “Entering into the synagogue, he spoke with boldness for three months, giving talks and using persuasion concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8) Yes, the apostle Paul tried to persuade people, to convince them that God’s kingdom was the only hope for good government and peace. We should do the same.
On another occasion, when the apostle Paul spoke before King Agrippa his speech was so moving that the king said: “In a short time you would persuade me to become a Christian.” The apostle Paul answered: “I could wish to God that whether in a short time or in a long time not only you but also all those who hear me today would become men such as I also am.” (Acts 26:28, 29) The apostle of Jesus Christ desired people to become true worshipers of God. It was his purpose to persuade them to accept Bible truths. That is our purpose, too, as Christian ministers. We desire to convince people that they should worship God in harmony with his will, and to break free from false religion.
The apostle Paul was effective in his ministry because of his persuasive use of Scriptural arguments. Concerning his ministry in Thessalonica the Bible says: “He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying: ‘This is the Christ, this Jesus whom I am publishing to you.’ As a result some of them became believers.” (Acts 17:2-4) The apostle Paul did not just read the Scriptures; he reasoned upon these Scriptural references with people. He got them to think about things. He explained and proved points by use of the Scriptures.
For your speech truly to glorify God you will want to imitate this apostolic example. After getting the good things of God’s Word into your mind and heart, you will want to speak persuasively to others about these things. By using your speech in this way, you will qualify for eternal life in God’s righteous new order. So make it your determination to declare God’s purposes effectively at every opportunity. Obtain the reward that God offers to those who glorify him with their speech.