In the public speaking I’ve done – Toastmasters, testimonies, teachings, and even intros to worship songs – I usually prepare with one of two methods: either I write the speech out fully and read it verbatim, or I have a high-level outline in mind and give the Spirit free reign on the details. Each talking type has its appropriate time. A written testimony, for example, can be a powerful and moving thing to hear, because the speaker simply can not keep the emotion out of reliving those moments.
A talk from bullet points works, too, on two levels: one, no one knows me like the Spirit and I do, and two, what I spend my time cramming into my heart is what flows out – overflows, actually – in these moments. A teachimony is a great thing – a lesson backed with personal example.
As part of my Spiritual Formation, I intentionally choose what I believe and keep this message at the top of my thinking and feeling. (And grace is God’s gift, as well.) This post is more about that latter point: that what we fill our hearts with is what comes out in our words to others.
Ephesians 4:29 ERV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
The Bible, God’s Word, teaches many things, in many ways. The “How To” manual for being human is a very apt description. It is our Spiritual Guide, yes; but it is also a practical psychological reference. The first of its kind. Quite literally, it consists of thousands of years of informal study of human nature. You can peruse any Self-Help section in your local bookstore and read the same truths that you find in the Bible.
The first of these truths is that our words can help or hurt, encourage or discourage, motivate or kill ambition. (“According to their needs:” It’s interesting that, for some, reverse psychology is what works. Tell my wife she can’t, for instance, and watch her. See my post on Spartan racing.) As a Christian, a parent, a husband, a sponsor, a disciple of Christ, the message I want to consistently give is one of loving and caring, encouraging and lifting everyone up to their highest potential. So I consciously make time to spend reading the Word of God. (I confess, seizing every opportunity to speak these things is something I work hard at.)
We are each created for a purpose which can be discerned in/through an intentional relationship with our Creator.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ERV
All scripture is given by God. An all scripture is use for teaching [ME: oneself] and for showing people [each] what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting [individual] faults and teaching the right way [for each] to live. Using the scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do good work.
[Oneself / each / individual / for each]: The trick is it generally only works from a one-to-one relationship with God. I have seen good in people who only listen and don’t do their own “research”, but usually it is in people who “admit” to taking some time at some point to get to know God that I see the kind of behavior towards others that I want to emulate.
Another truth is in regards to worry. “Don’t worry; Be happy.” I know how much I worried about all manner of things before I came to Christ. I know I can still slip down that slope without realizing it. And it is at those times when I turn to the Word for simple reassurance and healing:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
So I tell you, don’t worry about the things you need to live – what you will eat, drink, or wear… You can not add any time to your life by worrying about it.
The Lord will lead you. He himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid!
The Bible is worth reading – even just once through – to find out these basic ideas for living well. And, I believe, when it is read even just for its practical advice, it does work upon our Spiritual beliefs.
Now, about that talking thing:
Even when you are arrested and put on trial, don’t worry about what you will say. Say whatever God tells you at that time. It will not really by you speaking. It will be the Holy Spirit.
And God will work in some one who listens, and hears.