Friday, June 12, 2015

War of Words

It's been a few years since I've led a ladies' Bible or book study, so I was excited to be
given the opportunity to do at our church this summer. The book selected for us is Paul David Tripp's War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles.The book is really a theology of words and how they reflect the condition of our hearts. It's often said that the teacher/leader is the one who benefits most, and, as I began reading, that became my hope for this study. I also decided this would be a good reason to revive my blog with some meaningful content, so I plan to journal here as I read through each chapter.

Paul David Tripp got my attention even in the Preface when he stated, "I have not written this book out of expertise, but out of desperation. I have told many people during the writing process that I did not write this book, it wrote me!" He is very candid about his own shortcomings with communication weaknesses, to the readers' benefit. I find myself often relating to his own examples and appreciate his godly insights. He wrote this book because each of us is waging a great battle in our hearts that manifests itself through our words. "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit -- you choose." Proverbs 18:21

I don't think any of us would have to think too far back into our past to

remember a time when our communication was less than loving and kind. More likely, we've been guilty of that several times during the course of this very day. Our war with words is not hopeless though. Tripp's desire is that "this book is meant to be a book of hope. It is a book about change, and that change is possible because of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word who is the only hope for our words! In him alone do we find victory in our own war of words." (p. 5)

By living out the gospel, we really can change our communication. God's plan is that our words would reflect His holiness. Man's dilemma is that we are sinful and have no ability to conquer our sin apart from Christ. If we are in Christ, he provides all the grace we need to repent and speak in the manner that pleases God. And we have the help of God's Word to teach us God's standard.

Our words are powerful and significant because God has ordained them to be so. The first words Adam heard were the words of God. God revealed himself through his gift of language. "God is not just a God who does, he is a God who speaks--powerfully, elaborately, consistently, comprehensively, and clearly to his people. . .God reveals what he is about to do; as he is working, he talks of what he is doing; and when he has finished, he interprets what he has done. . .Through his words God defines his character, his will, his plan and purpose, and his truth." (p. 9) God's words define and direct his creation as well. He tell us who we are, what he wants us to do and the manner in which he wants it done.

My take-away thought from the first chapter is that our words belong to the Lord because He is the Great Speaker. He, in essence, has loaned words to us so that we can talk with Him and others, and that we can also understand His truth. Godly communication is a high calling. "Every word we speak must be up to God's standard and according to his design. They should echo the Great Speaker and reflect his glory. When we lose sight of this, our words lose their only shelter from difficulty. Talk was created by God for his purpose. Our words belong to him." (p. 15)

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