God is eager to equip every one of us to use our words to bring not selfishness or haphazardness but rather encouragement and strength to life. This is a radical shift from how most people communicate. As it relates to the words we say to one another, we think the “thing” can be summed up in terms of extroversion or timing or winsomeness or quickness of wit, but there is so much more going on in our verbal exchanges.
Every time I open my mouth to speak to you, I’m revealing how I’ve been doing in three other “conversations”: what I’m saying to myself (self-talk), how well I’m refuting the lies of the Enemy, and how closely—if at all—I’m walking with God.
To the extent these three conversations—between me and God, between me and myself, and between me and Satan—are being managed poorly, I face a correspondingly higher risk of saying something idiotic and/or hurtful to the people I love. But to the extent these conversations are managed in the manner God intends, I will speak words that are relevant, authentic, life giving, and wise, and I will rarely—if ever—stick my foot in my mouth. I will be someone who blesses, not curses, with the words I speak in the fourth conversation: the one between you and me.
So how do we leverage the opportunity for good that exists each time we open our mouths to speak? One simple conversation will get that ball rolling, and it’s the most important of the four: the one between you and God.
Conversation 1: Between You and God
Getting good at communicating well begins, interestingly enough, with prayer.
Yes. Right. Prayer.
It’s important to steal away in the quiet of a given day to communicate with your heavenly Father, but equally important is the practice of speaking to him and hearing from him while in conversation with others. As words are flowing from your mouth, seek input in real time:
How can I serve your purposes in this person’s life, God?
What words are fitting for this situation?
What are you after here, Lord?
Where are you working here?
How can I be of help?
When you and I seek God’s wisdom—when we lean in to hear his voice and pursue divine insights before we open our mouths—we stand a 100 percent better chance of doing good instead of harm. Any conversation you have with another human being ought first to be a conversation between you and God: What are you saying to me, Lord? What are you up to in my life? Why are you having me communicate with this person? And what do you want me to say?