The Power of WordsI Am Not My Husband's Mother
Maria: You shouldn’t watch that TV show.
Leslie: This is Maria.
Maria: You shouldn’t listen to that music.
Leslie: She's remembering the way she used to communicate with her husband.
Maria: You shouldn’t drive that fast. You can change lanes now.
Leslie: Does this sound familiar?
Maria: You really should do your Bible study. It is just endless.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, February 15.
Nancy’s about to continue in the hard-hitting study, The Power of Words.
First, we want to remind you of the series coming March 9. It’s a focus on Jesus in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Nancy’s teaching follows an outline from the book, The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders. And Nancy, I hope our listeners will take this opportunity to listen each day and be reading the book together.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now, of course people can listen to this series without following along in the book, and it will be meaningful. But I think by adding this book, The Incomparable Christ, and reading through it with us as we teach this series, you'll get so much more out of this message.
Between reading the book and listening to or reading the daily broadcast, it's going to be a way over those seven weeks leading up to Easter to really meditate deeply on the things of Christ—who He is and why He came.
I have found that during this Lenten season that it is so meaningful for my own walk with God, my own faith, my own joy, to take extra time to meditate on Christ.
This book by Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ, was a big help to me a year ago in doing that myself. That's why I want to share it with our listeners in these weeks leading up to Easter.
Today we’re returning to the series, The Power of Words. Here’s Nancy, teaching a group of women.
Nancy: Over these last few days, we have been looking at the book of Proverbs. We have learned that even something as small as our tongues can create incredible damage.
We have looked in Proverbs at a lot of wrong uses of our tongue, and I just want to highlight some of those here by way of review and for a reminder.
We have talked about the sin of deception, lying, slander, gossip, too much talking, constant talking, and idle chatter.
We talked about giving false witness and Proverbs talks a lot about the sin of mocking with our tongues. It also talks about harsh words—rough words— and perverse words—words that are corrupt and evil—profane words, careless words.
We didn’t talk about this area in the current series, but another thing Proverbs talks about is boasting with our tongues. Another area we didn’t touch on is quarrelling—quarrelling, argumentative, and contentious words.
Lest we forget, Proverbs also reminds us that a husband would rather live on the corner of a rooftop or go out and live by himself in the wilderness than live with a woman who has a contentious spirit and a contentious tongue (21: 9 and 19, paraphrase). The whole area of nagging can drive men away; it can drive them nuts—often we do that with our tongues.
Proverbs speaks about a foolish person using flattery in their words—ignorant and foolish words (28:23, paraphrase). As we have spent these days walking through the book of Proverbs, we have been convicted and have confessed our sin. We have said, “Lord, it is me. Forgive me. The mirror of Your Word has exposed my heart and has shown me the sinful ways in which I use my tongue.
We have seen that these sinful types of speaking are connected to a sinful heart. Out of the abundance of the heart our mouths speak (Luke 6:45, paraphrased). We have cried, prayed, and shared what we have learned. We have asked the Lord to cleanse our hearts and our tongues. We want to make sure that we are not just avoiding wrong uses for our tongues, but that we are also using our tongues in ways that are right, wholesome, and good.
During this series one of the women said in between one of the sessions, “I’ve been thinking about taking a week-long fast from speaking. A fast with my tongue.” That might not be a bad idea. I shared with you how I fasted from talking for about 40 hours—except when I talked to myself out loud; I lost control there.
However, you can’t go forever without talking. God doesn’t intend for us to keep silent forever. God intends for us to use our tongues in ways that give life—ways that build up, edify, and encourage.
Proverbs has given us a lot of insight into appropriate ways to use our tongues. Scripture has taught us to speak words that help, encourage, and express wisdom. We have been challenged to speak words that are few, but appropriate. We must speak words that are well-timed, fitting, kind, and true.
One area we haven’t yet touched on, mentioned throughout the book of Proverbs, is that of speaking wise rebuking. Now that is a double-edged sword because when we are giving a rebuke, we're sure it is wise, but the person receiving the admonishment may not be convinced that it is wise.
If we give a rebuke to our children, fellow church members, or someone at work, we need to make sure that we have dealt with the issue in our own heart that we may be blind to.
We may be able to see blatantly into someone else’s life but are not able to see so obviously into our own lives. When we do rebuke, it must be with a spirit of humility and meekness, because there is a place for loving, wise, and kind rebuke.
Proverbs talks about the beauty of the words of a wise reprover upon an obedient ear (25:12, paraphrase). God used that verse in my life not too long ago to teach me that I needed to have an ear that responds positively to wise rebuke.
You can’t talk about the tongue without talking about the ear. If we are going to be speaking wise rebuke, we need to make sure that we are listening to the wise rebuke as God brings that into our paths.
Proverbs talks about defending the cause of the helpless with our tongue—that means we must use words that are carefully chosen. (31:9, paraphrased)
I have to tell you that one of my greatest fears about being in public ministry and teaching the Word of God is that there is a great danger of sinning with my tongue while I am speaking to others and while I am teaching God’s Word.
Proverbs tells us that where there are many words, sin is inevitable (10:19, paraphrased). I know that the more I speak, the greater the chance that I will sin with my tongue.
That is why I try to take to time to prepare and write a lot of notes. I know that when I get to speaking off the cuff or without thinking, I will be more likely to say something that is not wise, not prudent, or appropriate.
We have seen right uses of our tongue and foolish uses of our tongue from the book of Proverbs. Let me give several concluding suggestions from the Word of God about how to apply what we have learned and seen.
The first step as God reveals an issue to our heart is to repent; to confess the ways we have sinned with our mouth. We must not focus on how others have sinned against us with their tongues but rather on what God has shown to us.
Secondly, ask God to purify your heart. Ask him to cleanse it. As you have a pure heart, you will speak pure words.
The third principle is to fill your heart with the Word of God.
Proverbs chapter 30, verse 5 tells us that, “Every word of God is pure.” If my mind and my heart are filled with the Word of God, then as I am pushed, shoved, or squeezed by life’s circumstances, what is going to come out? It is going to be pure words—the Word of God.
Proverbs chapter 2, verse 6 tells us, “The Lord gives wisdom.” Do you want a wise heart and a wise tongue? Where you going to get that wisdom? The Lord gives wisdom. “From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Proverbs talks about having a mouth of knowledge: speaking wisely, and knowledgeably. Where do you get true wisdom and knowledge? You get it from the Lord.
So fill your mind, fill your thoughts, fill your heart with the Word of the God.
If you are spending your time listening to the world’s television programs, reading the world’s magazines and the world’s books, filling your life with input from the world, then you are going to talk like the world.
That is why I needed to get up early this morning, before we were together for the day, to get into the Word of God—let it saturate my mind and my heart. Let it cleanse me, wash me, and fill me, so that by God’s grace, the words I speak today will be words of wisdom.
Number four, we need to guard our mouths—we need to set a watch, a body guard, a tongue guard, or a mouth guard. We need to ask God to guard our tongues and to guard our hearts. I have prayed many times through the years, that God would guard my heart by the power of His Holy Spirit.
He can keep a watch even when I’m forgetting to keep a watch. But I also need to guard my own tongue. God is not going to do it without my cooperation.
Proverbs 13 tells us, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (verse 3). Guard your mouth.
Proverbs 21, verse 23, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
I think we can help each other with this lovingly and graciously. When we are in a group conversation and there are too many words being said—too many things being said out of bounds—we need to learn how to graciously and lovingly bring ourselves back in and even be willing to bring others back in to a guarded position.
There is a verse not found in Proverbs, but in Psalms, that I am going to challenge you to memorize and to make a part of your life.
Psalm 141, verse 3 is a prayer that I have prayed many times, and I found myself, as I was in preparation for this series, praying it again.
Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
If I were you, I would write that verse down on several 3x5 cards, and I would put one next to each telephone. Now, I have a lot of phones in my house, so I need a lot of those. As you get on the phone, pray: “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Put one in your bathroom where you get ready in the morning. Put one on your nightstand. Put one in your car. Before you go to a meeting, an appointment, or have lunch with a friend, pray this prayer: “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Scripture says if you guard your mouth and you invoke the Lord’s help, you will keep your soul from destruction and trouble. Ask God to make your words wise and kind.
One of my very favorite verses in the book of Proverbs comes from chapter 31, verse 26. This is one other verse that I would encourage you memorize.
The chapter is talking about a woman of virtue, and it says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Would your family say that this verse describes you? Would the people in your workplace say that this verse describes the way in which you talk?
Do they say, “That woman! Whenever she opens her mouth, words of wisdom come pouring out. Even if she is giving direction or instruction to her children and she is laying down the law, her words are still filled with kindness. She is a wise and kind woman. That is the kind of woman I want to be.”
I tell you, it doesn’t come naturally; it comes supernaturally. By the power of the Holy Spirit controlling us and filling us, we can become women who have wise and kind hearts, who speak wise and kind words.
What a gift for you to give to your family! What a gift for you to give to your husband, children, roommate, fellow workers, those you go to church with, neighbors, and friends—a wise and kind heart, out of which flow wise and kind words!
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us how to offer kind, gracious words to those around us.
One of the women in the audience has been learning a lot in this area, and we’re going to hear the story. Here’s Maria.
Maria: Just a few weeks ago, the Lord challenged me that I am not supposed to be my husband’s mother or teacher, but that I am to be his servant and that I am to learn from him. He reminded me that He had already given my husband a mother and that she is a precious, godly mother. He also reminded me that He had also given my husband a teacher, and that is the Holy Spirit. That was real news to me. After being married 32 years, this was such a change.
I have shared this with Nancy. The day before the Lord convicted me, my husband had eaten a whole dish of candy watching one of the playoff games. I fussed and fussed at him and said such mean things like, “You should have just poured the sugar bowl into your mouth.” “It’s going to rot your teeth.” Even a mother shouldn’t correct her children quite like that.
When the Lord convicted me, I said to him, “You know, I was so wrong, Al. Would you please forgive me?” He turned to me and his mouth went (suprised look). Then I said, “Please be patient with me. It has taken me 49 years to get here, and I am a slow learner.”
I put a little card in my bathroom, quoting the verse that says, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5). Along with a note: “Maria, please stop strangling Al and your children with your expectations.”
My youngest daughter, who is still at home at the age of 21, has already said, “Mom have you seen the difference in Dad that last few weeks?”
She knew that I was struggling with nagging and that I was trying to obey the Lord. With encouragement, she said, “Even Daddy’s prayers have been different.” A few days later, she said, “Mom, did you notice how Daddy is smiling more?”
God is good, and we can still learn!
Nancy: Maria, what are some of the practical areas where you found yourself tempted to be your husband’s teacher?
Maria: I would say things like, “You shouldn’t watch that TV show. You shouldn’t listen to that music. You should park up there. You shouldn’t drive that fast. You could change lanes now. You should really do your Bible study.” It was just endless. It has not even been quite 6 weeks, and I’m just amazed.
Nancy: Have you faced this situation yet: You chose not nag him like his mother or teacher, but he was still doing something that you wished he wouldn’t? How do you handle that?
Maria: I go outside, or I go into the bathroom and pray. But it just took a couple of times for the Lord to show me very quickly the difference in him was because of the difference in me. Secondly, the Lord is showing me that so often He speaks to those under authority before He speaks to those in authority.
What I was doing to my husband was not allowing God to be his teacher. He is the leader, and that is a God-appointed position. I was just usurping that all the time and deflating his confidence.
It was a two-fold conviction for me. But as I started showing respect by way of not interrupting, not adding to his story when he’s talking, and not correcting him in front of other people, he began to feel validated and accepted as that leader. He has now been acting like the leader I always wanted him to be. He has always been the leader, but I was usurping that.
Nancy: Awhile ago, I challenged a woman who was in a difficult marriage. I challenged her to a 30-day commitment. I said, “I want to ask you to do two things for the next 30 days. One is negative, the other is positive.”
“First of all, for the next 30 days, you have to commit yourself not to say a single negative thing about your husband—not to him and certainly not to anyone else about him. Do not speak to your mother, to your children, or to your friends, one single negative thing about your husband.”
You should have seen her eyes. She had gotten into the bad habit, as many of us in our homes do, of picking on the things about her husbad that bothered her.
I’m not saying that things . . they are probably things that would bother me or bother you. I'm not saying that they are not problems, but she had been nit-picking on those things. She had come to the place where she could only see her husband through glasses of failure. He couldn’t do anything to please her.
I knew enough about the situation to know he had issues, but she also had issues. There were also qualities in both of them that were worth admiring. But she had lost sight of those, and maybe he had too—I can’t speak for him.
I said, “For 30 days, you can’t say anything negative about your husband.” She swallowed hard. She had come to the place where she really wanted God to change her. If she hadn’t come to that place, I don’t think she would have received the suggestion. She had come to the place where she was willing to lay down her own program for changing her husband. She was desperate.
I said, “Now, here is the other part of the 30-day challenge: Everyday, for the next 30 days, you need to say something that you appreciate about your husband. Say it to him, and say it to someone else about him.”
That was even more of a challenge in some ways because it had been quite a while since she had been thinking that way. I said, “Everyday, think of something you appreciate about him. If you can’t think of 30 things, think of one thing and repeat it every day for 30 days—verbalize it to him. Tell him what you appreciate, and tell someone else what you appreciate about him.”
I said to her what I’m saying to you: I can’t make you any promises about what will happen to him within the next 30 days, but—I promised her—I can promise you that you will be different in 30 days.
Why? Because you will be seeing that man through eyes of love; the kind of love that never fails.
According to God’s Word, you can learn to love. There is a supernatural source of love that is within you if you are a child of God and that means there is hope—hope as big and as great as the love of God.
Love says, “What can I let God do in me that will meet the needs of and minister to the person that God has called me to love, whether I get anything out of it or not? How can I be a giver in that relationship?”
“I’m not going to point the finger anymore. I’m not going to sit here and wait for that other person to change. I’m going to let You change me. I’m going to let You love through me, and I’m willing to be misunderstood. I’m willing to be wronged.”
Isn’t that what Calvary is all about? Look at 1 Peter 2, the last paragraph. Jesus, the perfect, sinless, Son of God, did no sin. Neither was sin or guile found in His mouth. When He was wronged, when He was attacked, when He suffered, He threatened not. He didn’t retaliate; He didn’t take vengeance. Instead, He just took our sin; He took the attack; He took the shame; He took the false accusations.
The power in that passage is that by His wounds, undeserved as they were, you were healed (verses 22-24, paraphrased).
There are men represented in this room who will never be spiritually healed unless there is a woman who is willing to love like Jesus. That means that she must have the willingness to absorb, take, and carry the sins of others—that is love.
You don’t have to love that way. You can stay selfish; you can stay proud and miserable, or you can let Christ love through you. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. Let Him give you a supernatural love for your man.
“Well,” you say, “will he change?” I can’t tell you that, but I will tell you, “You will change.”
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been offering women a challenge to encourage their husbands every day for 30 days. Nancy has shared this challenge many times, and we constantly hear from women who have watched amazing results follow. Women like Julie.
Julie: It would take more time than I want to take now to give my hundreds of examples of how my nagging never worked. It was always done under the guise of "sharing the truth in love."
But it's where God stepped in with His timing. He worked on the father of my children's heart. I think that's the biggest thing. When I step aside and I allow God to work in my husband's life and I am his helpmeet and I encourage him and I brag on him, I leave it all in God's hands. If there is any changing my husband needs to do, God will do that. God would change my heart and make me the wife that my husband needs so that he can be the leader of our family. Prayer is the direct line, and a consistent time in His Word. I think that's what the challenge ultimately showed me.
It was a wonderful challenge to do. I would just recommend every women, even if she thinks her marriage is going wonderfully, to step up and take this husband challenge.
Leslie: You can read more about this challenge when you get a copy of the booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. The booklet will provide Scripture each day during the challenge. It will remind you to keep from saying anything negative. And it will give you ideas on how you can encourage your husband.
We’ll send 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband along with the devotional booklet based on our current series, The Power of Words. They’re our gift when you donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.
“You dummy.” One of our listeners often heard that phrase while growing up, and it affected her for years. But God is teaching her to pass on words of patience and kindness. We will hear her story tomorrow.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the New James Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.