IDLE WORDS AND FOOLISH TALKING
"Every idle (unprofitable) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matt. 12:36.
Nothing more quickly and thoroughly reveals the lack of real spirituality than does foolish talking, jesting, and IDLE WORDS. There is nothing that will more surely label the shallow Christian as one who has no concern for others, nor any burden for the lost and suffering than his perpetual flow of foolish talking, and nonsensical joking. Although in the eyes of many, this seems to be a small matter, there are few spiritual diseases more devastating, nor more contagious.
God classes foolish talking along with some very unattractive companions, -- "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints: neither filthiness, nor FOOLISH TALKING, nor JESTING, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." Eph. 5:3,4.
Jesus himself declared, "--Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, FOOLISHNESS: all these EVIL THINGS come from within, and DEFILE the man." Mark 7:21-23. Foolishness, then will defile a man, the same as fornication! There are many who would never kill nor steal, but will even enter the pulpit, and publicly and unashamed, reveal through their words that they are defiled within. I have never yet found a man whom the Lord is using mightily for the deliverance of the sick and sinful whose mouth is filled with foolishness. They may entertain the people, and get a few hearty laughs in response to their jokes and nonsense, but when it comes to really being able to bring deliverance, or to bring a help and blessing when a real need arises, THEY HAVEN'T GOT THE GOODS! They may even try at times to put off the usual character of lightness for a little while, and to preach or teach about deep things, but to those who hear them there is no ring of sincerity, no real persuasion that they speak as the oracles of God. They are like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
I do not wish to infer that God's people should go around with a long face all the time, having no joy. God's people are the happiest people in the world. God has commanded, "Rejoice evermore." I Thes. 5:13. God's people are expected to be so happy that they will shout, sing, clap their hands, dance, laugh, and even leap for joy. A few scriptures which show these things are the following:
"Make a JOYFUL NOISE unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with GLADNESS: come before his presence with SINGING." Ps. 100:1,2.
"O CLAP YOUR HANDS, all ye people: SHOUT unto God with the voice of triumph." Ps. 47:1.
"Let them praise his name in the DANCE: let them SING praises unto him with the TIMBREL and HARP." Ps. 149:3.
"David DANCED before the Lord with all his might." II Sam. 6:14.
"Then was our mouth filled with LAUGHTER, and our tongue with SINGING: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are GLAD." Ps. 126:2,3.
"Rejoice in that day, and LEAP FOR JOY." Luke 6:23.
For the Joy of the Lord is thy strength." Neh. 8:10.
The Christian who doesn't have JOY is a weak christian, a poor representative of the faith he claims, and will probably soon be completely backslidden, and seeking his joy somewhere else.
This joy which brings strength is rejoicing in the Lord. It is not rejoicing in the power of our own strength, nor of our own wit. "But now rejoice ye in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil." James 3:2.
Many who are guilty of the sin of foolish, excessive, and unprofitable talking will at first be tempted to brand me a fanatic, and to rise to the defense of their pet sin. They will declare that it is a mistake to take things too seriously. For this, they can find no scriptural defense. The rescuing of the lost, and deliverance of the suffering, is a serious matter, requiring the whole heart and mind of the one who is consecrated to the task. Many have reserved the right to talk as much, and in whatever manner, they choose. They would rather have their jokes, foolish jesting and nonsense than to have the power of God in their lives. If this is your case, God will have to go on without YOU.
God has chosen to work through the spoken word of representatives in the world. When Jesus was here, he said to his disciples, "The WORDS that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE." John 6:63. What are your words?
James compares the speech coming out of our mouths to water coming from a fountain. (James 3:10,11.) He insists that a fountain should give forth the same kind of water all the time -- not sweet water part of the time, and bitter water part of the time. Then he adds, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good CONVERSATION his works with meekness of wisdom." James 3:13.
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, BUT THAT WHICH IS GOOD TO THE USE OF EDIFYING." Eph. 4:29.
Words which are not good to the use of edifying are IDLE (vain, empty, or unprofitable) words. They are WASTED words. God has given to the believer's WORD an authority and power which makes it precious. Precious things should not be wasted.
Jesus said, "Whosoever (that means you!) shall SAY unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAITH shall come to pass, he shall have WHATSOEVER HE SAITH." Mark 11:23. This gives to US the power to speak with authority, even to the extent of controlling inanimate things. This is the same power which Jesus used when he spoke to the wind and the sea, and the storm was gone. (Mark 4:39.) It is the same power which Moses used when he spoke to the rock in the desert, and water gushed forth. (Num. 20:8.) Joshua used the same power when he commanded the sun and the moon to stand still. (Joshua 10:12, 13.) Jesus demonstrated the use of this power when he spoke to the fig tree, saying, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever." (Mark 11:14.) He told the tree to die, AND it died! It was on this occasion that he expressly delegated this same power and authority to ANY who BELIEVE.
It is to men and women whose words can be with such power -- whose spoken words can bring deliverance from every oppression of satan -- salvation for the soul and healing for the body -- that Jesus warned that IDLE, WASTED, WORDS should be brought into judgement. Words which should have been life and deliverance! Words which should have been bread to starving souls! But words which were nothing but chaff! In the face of a world of dying, starving souls and suffering humanity, witholding the one source of life and deliverance, and offering stones for bread! Sending forth from the fountain which should give forth the PURE WATER OF LIFE a stream of froth and foolishness, which is, if not poisonous, utterly unattractive and unprofitable! What will you say to the judge in that day, when our deeds and WORDS are judged by the standard of the word of God, in which we are exhorted, "If any man SPEAK, let him SPEAK AS THE ORACLES (utterance or speech) OF GOD." I Peter 4:11.
Those who insist upon having their foolishness at any cost, are so like the group of young ladies seen in a vision by a consecrated saint of God, who were too busy making daisy chains to warn the people who were hurrying by that their steps were leading to an awful precipice, where they would quickly fall over, and be dashed to death upon the rocks below. This is far from the spirit of Christ, who HAD COMPASSION UPON THE MULTITUDES.
I do not intent to infer that there is no place for humor in the conversation of the Christian, or even in the preaching of the Word. Many times, our speech or preaching can be humorous, and yet sanctified. Often, a bit of humor, especially when used to illustrate a point, can be very profitable, in arousing the attention and interest of the hearers, and in driving home the message of the gospel, so that souls are aroused and turned to God. So used, it is NOT idle, nor unprofitable.
The reason so many Christians speak so many idle words, is that they speak SO MANY WORDS! They talk so much that they have no time to think, and no time to listen to the voice of God. Foolish words come so easily. We do not even have to think of them. We can listen to any conversation, anywhere, and come away with a large supply of them which can be produced by repetition. The spirit of the age is an ever increasing spirit of levity, which makes serious thinking difficult for both sinner and saint. It is typified by the oft repeated saying, "Don't take life too seriously. After all you'll never get out of it alive." In such an age it takes real effort and consecration to "Study to be quiet", and to wait before God long enough to have words to speak which are the words of God, and which can have power. But the wise man will do it. "He that hath knowlege, spareth his words." Prov. 17:27. "But the mouth of fools FEEDETH ON FOOLISHNESS." Prov. 15:14.
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin." Prov. 10:19.
A fool's voice is known BY MULTITUDE OF WORDS." Eccl. 5:3.
Holiness is necessary for power, as has already been shown in previous chapters of this book. And holiness is not complete until it has also taken posession of the tongue. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy IN ALL MANNER OF CONVERSATION." I Pet. 1:15.
I beseech you, brethren, for the sake of the lost and suffering who will never find deliverance UNLESS YOU MAKE YOURSELF READY TO TAKE IT TO THEM, give this matter your prayerful consideration. Consecrate yourself to God afresh. Present to him YOUR BODY, a living sacrifice, AND DO NOT FORGET NOR NEGLECT TO INCLUDE YOUR TONGUE, YOUR LIPS, YOUR VOICE!"
"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt." Col. 4:6.
"Keep that which is committed to thy trust (the power to speak in God's stead, and bring deliverance), avoiding profane (not holy) and vain (empty, worthless) babblings." I Tim. 6:20.
It is my prayer that all who read this book will put all on the altar, and get in a place where they can carry a burden for the lost and suffering: that they will cast aside ALL those things which hinder the power of God in their lives. God can go on without you. But if YOU go on with God, you must go His way. Put foolishness aside NOW! Get out of the eddy and into the stream of God's power.
The PROMISES are for you, if you will only believe them, meet God's conditions, and PAY THE PRICE.
Previous Chapter - Next Chapter - [Chapter Index]