Setting a Course for Sound Words

Posted in: Hope, 0677
By Dr. Larry Ollison

“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).

While your thoughts and your emotions are impacted by the words of others and pressures of life, your own words are a result of what you have placed in your heart. Your heart could be compared to a large ship on the ocean that turns slowly when a new course is set.

Initially your words must align with what God says about you. When He says in His Word that He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5), when He says in His Word that He will protect you (Psalm 121:7-8), when He says in His Word that He will heal your broken heart (Luke 4:18), initially you must choose to align your words with His words.

In the beginning of this process it is usually not easy to do, because your heart has not been established. It’s as though you are at the helm of a ship and you turn the small rudder (your tongue) in the direction you want to go. At first you see no change in the direction of the ship (your heart), but as you continue to keep the rudder turned in the correct direction, gradually the ship changes course. Eventually the rudder does not need to be manually changed, but only maintained because the ship (the heart) is on course and the rudder (your tongue) is naturally correct.

It’s at this point the Bible tells us that faith becomes evident when, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Instead of having to think about the rudder to set the course, the rudder is following the course that is established.

Without a doubt, it’s easier to maintain course than to change course. To change course means a change of belief, words, and lifestyle. To maintain course, a person must only watch for veering off the set course and when it is noticed, make the slight adjustments necessary to get back on course. The momentum of the ship helps to keep the rudder straight.

Too often people change course, but then become complacent and tend to forget, or just ignore, the job of maintaining course. This is why weight loss is such a big industry. People go on a crash diet because they discover they are overweight and off course. Because they are off course, their health and self-worth are in decay. When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, the crash diet begins.

While on the journey to lose weight, everything is monitored even to the smallest detail. There is a goal. But all too often when the goal is obtained, and time has passed, monitoring is abandoned and slowly but steadily the ship gets off course and the weight slowly comes back.

I observed a friend who experienced this and noticed something interesting about his words. While on his diet he said things like, “I can’t eat that because it isn’t good for me.” Then he would explain why calories, sugar, artificial additives and so on were to be avoided. However, once he obtained the proper weight, his words changed. He was not as strong in his criticism of the additives or calories, but instead verbally reasoned how it wouldn’t hurt him (just this once) to eat the ice cream, the cake, etc.

Actually, he was probably right. The ice cream and cake wouldn’t be a problem, “just this once,” but his “just-this-once” decision opened the door for him to get off course and to gain all the weight back.

When our words change and as a result our life changes, we must maintain a pattern of good words in order to maintain our course to the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams.

Devotion 0677