In this series, I’m sharing how we can open all parts of our hearts—our thoughts, words, and actions—to the Light of Christ. Here are links to Open Our Hearts PART 1 and Open Our Hearts, PART 2 .
Today in Part 3, we’ll talk about our words.
As a third grader, the person I admired most was Señora Carmen, our Spanish teacher. A tall, beautiful Puerto Rican lady, she dressed in stylish clothes and wore gorgeous drop earrings—along with a radiant smile and enthusiasm for teaching.
I wanted to look like her, but more than that, I wanted to sound like her. I hoped to please her with my acquisition of Spanish vocabulary and my accent.
At home I practiced the Spanish words Señora Carmen had taught us. My class of dolls and stuffed animals listened as I clomped around in Mama’s high heels and clip earrings, confident my smile and my Spanish accent matched my teacher’s.
I wanted my words to sound like hers.
By the time I entered fifth grade, I realized I’d never sound like a native Puerto Rican. However, when we study and pattern our language after good role models, we learn to imitate them. I focused on every word my Spanish teacher spoke.
At age seventeen, I met a different role model. Pam, a Campus Crusade for Christ representative who spoke at our church, helped me understand that although I knew about God, I didn’t know Him personally. But I knew I needed Him desperately, and after she talked, I prayed and gave my life to Jesus.
I watched Pam and listened to her for months as she led group studies and befriended my friends and me. Her words, often straight from the Bible, encouraged me. I wanted to sound like her—to share excitement about my walk with Christ and to quote Scripture like she did—and to encourage others to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord.
God continued to teach me through Pam, our pastor, and my personal Bible study. I learned early in my walk with Christ that He is the role model believers need to follow. God’s children love Him and want to be more like Him, to sound more like Him, and to honor Him more.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.Ephesians 5:1 ESV
If we want to imitate God, we can learn more about Him by observing His character traits as revealed in the Bible. As we read, we can search for what He likes and what He despises. We can learn from His words.
We’ll never develop a perfect, divine nature like His, but we will begin to “sound” more like Him and to reflect His glory into the world by the way we act and talk. We’ll learn more about how to share the truths He teaches and how to speak to others according to His instructions.
When we open our hearts and ask God to teach us, the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to shape our words so that they please Him.
When we open our hearts and ask God to teach us, the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to shape our words so that they please Him. Click To Tweet
As the apostle Paul urges in his letter to the Philippians, we also learn from the lives of mature believers (3:17). We can ask God to develop in us the Christlike traits we see in them, like Pam’s exuberance for God’s Word and her faithfulness in sharing the gospel.
Although our relationship with Christ is not governed by a checklist or set of rules, because we love Him, we want to obey His teaching in the Bible about our speech. As I studied this topic, I found a wealth of verses about the words we speak. I’m using the collection below as a checklist to examine my speech.
Please share words of wisdom you’ve learned on this topic. What helps you monitor your speech? What have you noticed about conversations with those who honor Christ?
Here’s my collection of verses about our words. Perhaps you’ll want to read them and answer the questions I’m asking myself.
Do My Words Please God?
There is no score tally, but God uses Scripture to renew our minds and transform us to the image of Christ. All verses are from the ESV.
Is my speech free from words God prohibits? Which words should I subtract?
Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Proverbs 11:12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
What kind of words should I add to my speech? How can I please God with what I say?
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
How will these verses change my conversations?
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.
Morning prayers for my words
Ps. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Did you leave a comment to enrich our time together? I look forward to reading your words. : )
A BONUS FOR YOU: A GOOD READ
My friend Annie Yorty wrote a delightful book entitled From Ignorance to Bliss: God’s Heart Revealed Through Down’s Syndrome. The lessons she learned through her daughter Alyssa apply to any challenge we face. Alyssa wrote one chapter. I’m loving this book and think you will, too. Here’s a link.
From Ignorance to Bliss: God’s Heart Revealed Through Down’s Syndrome
30 thoughts on “How the Right Role Model Can Shape Our Words to Honor God”
I was blessed to have numerous Christian role models in my childhood and young adult years. The scripture you share inspires us to consider what kind of role model we are for others. Everyone is a role model, even when they don’t realize it, and it depends on our choices as to whether we are a good one or not. Thank you for this inspiring message, Jeannie.
Katherine, I’m glad you elaborated on role models. Yes, we serve in that capacity without realizing it. Our words are significant parts of what we share. Thank you.
Amen Ms. Jeannie. Reading your post, I thought of the many people God, and Satan, has brought into my life. Those who were sent by God (my adopted parents and siblings, some mature Christians, and some younger ones also) provided great lessons, examples, and guidelines to model my life and behavior from. Those from Satan, including some in the church, led me astray and served to divide me from those others. Learning to discern whom I should listen to and learn from only came when I surrendered my will for His. My test has been to validate all that’s said with the Word of God, and when it doesn’t match, then I know to respectfully walk away. Am still learning and growing, so I have to be on constant guard. Am a long way from perfecting my discernment abilities. Have loved this series ma’am. Thank you!
J. D., I’m glad you pointed out role models can serve for good or evil, and yes, discernment is key. I think we’re all still learning and need to be on guard, testing what we see and hear against the truth in God’s Word. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Words! They can make or break a relationship with humans and with God. My role models led me to pray this verse on a regular basis: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NKJV ) As Katherine said, we are role models even if we don’t realize it. It is in those situtations, that we must be most careful of our words. I truly don’t want to hear anyone say, If Peggy can say it, I can too.
Thanks for your words of caution, Peggy. You’re right that we don’t want to lead anyone astray by using words inappropriately. Words are truly a gift God gives us to use for His glory and the edification of those around us.
God shows us how important words are by the multitude of Scriptures involving our tongue. It’s hard to have a favorite but I do pray I can fulfill Colossians 4:6 and that my speech will be seasoned with salt and full of grace Thanks for sharing these verses, Jeannie.
I like that one, too, Barbara. It reminds us how our speech should be intentionally sprinkled out with the influence of Christ, not poured out randomly. Thank you for reading and sharing.
I just lost a woman that was a second mom to me yesterday. This reminds me of her. She had a way with words that could make any cloudy day turn bright. She was mindful of what she said. I will take these words you have shared and be mindful of what I allow to come out of my mouth. Are the words I speak lifting others up, or tearing them down?
Alicia, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I prayed for you. Thank you for sharing these comments which mean so much to me. How wonderful that you were blessed with a role model like your “second mom” and that you determined to follow her example.
Jeannie, thank you for your post. As I read, several different ladies crossed my mind: Mrs. Mackie, the missionary who visited our school and taught us through her flannel board and told stories about her experiences on the mission field. That’s when missions captured me and, even though I never became a full-time missionary, God has given me the opportunity to serve on short-term mission trips, both here in America and other countries. I thought about Betty who became a loving and strong mentor to me in my walk with Christ. These are just two of the wonderful people who He sent into my life. Thank you so much for sharing this outstanding post today. I needed the reminder!
Evelyn, I’m glad you shared about Mrs. Mackie and Betty. What wonderful role models God provided for you. I think we all need reminders about the words we speak and the way our lives become role models for others. I really appreciate you sharing.
Although we’ll “never develop a perfect, divine nature like His,” we should never stop trying. It’s an ongoing journey, for sure. The Scripture you’ve chosen for us certainly emphasizes the importance of our words. and reminds us we need to be in His Word daily.
Thank you, Candyce. You’re right that we continue to aim high with our words and allow ourselves to be influenced by God’s Word.I appreciate your comments.
Timely advice in a day when so many are using words that should never be used in the public and private arena…. Just a few years ago, our political leaders would have never used such language in public but it is becoming so common and it is causing such dangerous behavior in all of our society. Recognizing that I can’t control others but I can ask our Father to “Put a watch before the door of my lips….” We are all vulnerable….
Jan, I agree wholeheartedly. I often pray the verse you included because as you said, “we’re all vulnerable. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.
Thanks for the reminder to find good role models to shape my words after. I appreciated the verses you shared.
I’m thankful you enjoyed the post, Joanna. We do need God’s Word and to model our words and behavior after Jesus and godly role models, don’t we?
A friend taught me how much our words have power over ourselves. What we say about ourselves we believe. Since then I have been much more aware about what I say about myself.
You shared a wise thought, Jennifer. We need to say about ourselves what God says. Philippians 4:8 is a good start. Thank you for adding this idea.
Thank you, Jeannie, for sharing about From Ignorance to Bliss! Once again, you’ve hit it out of the park with your post. As a young Christian, I met a woman who always spoke positively about others. She built up others with her words. She was so different, and I wanted to follow her example.
You’re welcome, Annie. I love your beautiful book. Like you, I’ve met people who encourage others with positive conversation and kind words. What good role models they become for our words.
Great post, role models and mentors are important to personal and spiritual growth. I met my mentor 25 years ago after my life-changing accident. We went to our first Promise Keepers event together with my father. My father has died since and now my mentor is the closest thing I have to a father.
Martin, I’m thankful God provided a wise mentor for you. Those relationships are special, and you’re right that godly role models help us grow personally and spiritually. Thank you for your uplifting comments. May we all be mentors like yours.
My first role models were my parents as they had a deep faith that I wanted to model. Through the years there have been so many people that shaped my faith and how I share my words. It is wonderful to remember them. Thanks Jeannie for a wonderful message
You’re welcome, Yvonne.Thank you for sharing how your parents and others shaped your faith and your words. We can pray for mentors for ourselves and ask God to help us serve as a godly role model for others.
I love everthing about this Jeannie. Pam was a beaming light pointing others to the true light. I’m in awe of God’s provision to place people in our path and give us the Word of God. Thanks for all the scriptures and I say amen to psalm 19:14!
Lisa, I like the way you described Pam as “a beaming light pointing others to the true light.” May our lives do the same. With generosity and love, God does place people in our path along with His precious Word. What glorious gifts!
Jeannie, this is a wonderful reminder of how important it is to guard our speech.
Each Passage sited is itself a lesson we should take seriously.
Holy Spirit is my greatest teacher and monitors my every word. I need His constant watch-care over my speech and He draws me onto repentance when my flesh overrides His prompting.
Connie, like you, I need the “constant watch-care over my words.” I agree each Scripture verse listed deserves study.Thanks so much for taking the time to share your wise observations.