A friend and I have been reading War of Words together this Spring/Summer. We come together and discuss a couple of chapters (over dinner of course) every two-three weeks, whatever our schedules will allow. This has been a great means of accountability and discussion and application.
Paul Tripp is one of my favorite authors. Not only is he quite readable – but in that readability he offers sound, biblical, reformed Truth. All about the Word, Grace, the Cross, Jesus. Nothing else. Our sin separates us from God and others – makes life difficult. This is easily found in what comes out of our mouths. This was a highly convicting book – and also very applicable – every day you speak – right?
Tripp states his goal of the book from the before chapter 1 pages: “It is the story of the great battle for our hearts that is the reason for our struggle with words. Yet there is more here than just an examination of the battle. We will also get a grasp of God’s plan for our talk and celebrate his enabling grace.” (p x)
“I am convinced that we do not understand how radically the gospel can change the way we understand and solve our communication problems. We do not have to give in to the cynicism that is such a temptation in this harsh and fallen world.” (p 5)
God created us – he therefore created our mouths. There are several Scriptures that have made their way into my heart regarding this topic, but one of them more than others: “I will praise the Lord at all times, His praise shall continuously be in my mouth.” (Ps 34.1) Now – that does not mean that I will walk around saying “Praise Jesus” all the time. But my lips and heart and mouth need to exemplify a Cross-bought life. Can others tell you are a believer if they overhear your conversation?
Even our battle for our tongues has its root in the battle of authority, submission, and/or idolatry. No wonder God put this first in the Ten Commandments. He knew everything else came out of this sin of idolatry. “Imagine what our lived would be like if all of our words were spoken out of perfect submission to God. We have usurped the authority of God.” (p 20)
“Often our words reveal an attempt to control things for our own good. We are moved by a personal sense of what we want or what we think would be good, and so we speak in a way that guarantees we will get it.” Two primary sins here in our hearts: entitlement and manipulation (all stem from pride).
“We are told in Proverbs that it is folly to speak in haste. As we begin to look for God-given opportunities to speak in a new way, we must learn to think before we speak. We must learn to choose our words wisely.” (p 129). I need to do this better, but thankful that God’s grace has already been working this in my life. But, I wish this would take place in my heart as well. Many times now I won’t say what I’m thinking – but I don’t even need to be thinking it.
And in response to that very thought: “The closer we get to the Lord, the longer we walk with him, and the more fully we understand his Word, the more we are gripped with our weakness, inability, and sin.” (p 130)
This book can be a great tool for one on one accountability, or in a group setting. I would recommend you read it along with someone though because we are often unaware of our words, of how we sound when we speak, etc. Others, a trusted friend, can help us with this area.
Areas of application:
1. Do you talk too much about nothing? Just to hear yourself speak?
2. Are you constantly wanting to dominate conversations or make your opinions known?
3. Are you quick to criticize or correct others?
4. How are you genuinely supportive and complimentary of others?
5. What do most of the words out of your mouth reflect?