Goal Getters Challenge #2 – Challenging the Will: to speak or not to speak?

According to Webster’s 1828 edition, the will is defined in part as

 That faculty of the mind by which we determine either to do or forbear an action; the faculty which is exercised in deciding, among two or more objects, which we shall embrace or pursue. The will is directed or influenced by the judgment. The understanding or reason compares different objects, which operate as motives; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which to pursue. In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of things; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will to take the most valuable…

For many years now I have struggled to control my tongue to the extent of which I am certain the Lord desires and requires of me. I am not loose in the sense of spewing out curses and obscenities. A web of lies nor a snare of gossip lay hold of me. It is not a voice of pessimism that dampens the hearts of the listener. Rather simply put, I am an interrupting chatterbox. Words often full of excited encouragement and optimism. Words that share the law of kindness, glittered with recitations of the very word of God, no less. Yet, words spoken impatiently, in haste. Words that cut off the very thoughts of others. Words that, in my excitement to relate, connect and share, may in effect bruise the very soul of those around me.

I know it’s wrong to interrupt. It’s down right rude. Yet, time after time, apology after apology, excuse after excuse, I fall victim to this horrid habit.

Well, is it really so horrid. Really? So many people do this very thing. Maybe it’s just the way people are. The Bible says, in James 1:19

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

I love this verse. It covers so much with such few words. A simple outline for success. I like simple.

Moreover, the Bible is quite clear about the outcome of those that speak out of turn without hearing what is truly being said. Proverbs 18:13 states,

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

I wonder how much folly and shame I have willfully brought upon myself by not exercising patience in hearing the speaker before answering or commenting on a topic?

Another verse that brings great conviction is James 1:26

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Webster’s 1828 edition defines to bridle as follows,

To restrain, guide or govern; to check, curb or control; as, to bridle the passions; ‘to bridle a muse.’

I know self-control is listed amongst the fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23.Yes, I know it quite well. I lovingly accepted Christ in my youth. I happily attended children’s church and played the games and sang the songs that sought to reinforce the very thing yet, I humbly admit that I am coming up lacking.

With all the countless scripture, the very word of God cries out to me saying, “Enough!”

Enough regretful interactions laden with apologies and excuses. It boils down to a matter of the will. I Know right from wrong. I earnestly teach it’s ways upon my very own children. No, it is not a matter of ignorance. It is a matter of choice. Each time I am blessed with the opportunity to interact and converse with another human being, each made in the very image of the almighty God, before me lay two objects to decide upon which to embrace or pursue. Two paths. I can choose to be impatient and self seeking, rudely interrupting and interjecting my thoughts, opinions and commentaries. Or I can choose to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Offering the common courtesy and respect due all persons.

In the spirit of Charlotte Mason, a British educator during the turn of the twentieth century,

I am. I can. I ought. I will.

So, because I am a chosen child of God, privy to the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, I can and I ought always strive to that which is good and right, according to the word and ways of God. So, I will. I will be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. I will let others speak so that I may hear what the are fully and truly saying before I answer or comment on the matter. I will bridle my tongue so as not to deceive my heart, rendering my religion worthless. I will.

Will you?