When we speak like Jesus, we will be pursuing the proper goal or purpose of building up others.
Gospel-focused communication will be spiritually constructive. This agrees with the purpose of discipleship, that is, of teaching disciples (Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 12:7). God wants us to build up the body of believers. Talking like Jesus in constructive speech is part of your function in the spiritual body of Christ. The head (Christ) is sending out beneficial messages to each of his members, and we are to spread those beneficial messages to other members. This means we seek the improvement of the people of a local assembly (church) by the way we speak and what we speak. No sane contractor would seek to harm the building he was under contract to construct. Yet how many Christians pull others down by gossip, slander, cutting comments, or a simple lack of gentleness or compassion? And how few deliberately intend to help others improve spiritually, which is the point at hand? Building up one another rarely happens in a quick conversation on a Sunday morning. Such words can be constructive, but they are limited by time. Every Christian needs to be in a small group.
Constructive speech aims to build up, especially where the brother or sister in Christ has a need. What are some needs that we all have from time to time?
- Rebuke (Galatians 2:14; Titus 1:13b)
- Instruction (Acts 18:26)
- Encouragement (Acts 11:23)
When we speak like Jesus, we will keep our words within some wise guidelines. The entire life of Jesus shows his use of wise words at all times. Will the way I am about to talk build up this person like Jesus does, or will it provoke sinful attitudes or responses? Here are some examples:
- Is my communication sexually suggestive? Sex is a normal part of life. God created it! But improper words can arouse desires that should not be. Talk about sexual matters wisely.
- Is my communication inducing the other person to anger? The point is to use some common sense to avoid words that are pushing the other person’s buttons.
- Is my communication causing fear or doubts? Don’t spread despair amid the general gloom! TV newscasters are paid to spread doom and gloom, but wise words lead people to confident expectation (hope) in God.
What benefits does this conversation intend to seek in the heart and life my brother or sister in Christ? Have I thought this through before I speak? Actually what good will it do? To talk about some subjects with some people is an exercise in futility, because they do not what to listen or change. Consider Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 7:6). Can I turn this conversation in a spiritually profitable direction? Some cannot be, or it is not the time nor the place. We must use discernment; this requires skill. To what degree does this conversation display “true righteousness and holiness” (4:24)? Jesus our Lord used his words to teach about God the Father and to make us think with an eternal perspective. How are your words doing that?
Grace and peace, David