When we begin to understand how powerful our words are, we can be tempted to think that we should speak more often! However, that’s not what wise people do. Often, the wisest thing to do is to keep quiet. In this episode David explains that sometimes our silence can speak more powerfully or effectively than our words ever could. You will discover that God is constantly speaking without using words, and so can you.
1. What most impacted you about Episode 10?
2. Do you find it easy to stay silent when you feel you are being mistreated? Are you good at seeking God’s wisdom regarding if you should speak or what you should say? Have you ever felt strongly that you needed to correct somebody but then after taking some time to forgive them, the need to correct them went away?
3. Do you remember a time when somebody you loved needed to hear something but they were not ready to hear it? Did you tell them? Did they eventually see the truth?
4. Think about the people in your life that you most respect. What has spoken more powerfully to you – their words or their actions?
Action Point: Ask God to teach you when to speak and when to be silent. Say sorry to Him for the times you’ve spoken too quickly or too much. Ask Him to make you wise and to teach you to trust Him, even when you feel you are being treated unfairly. Is there anybody who has upset or offended you that you need to forgive right now, before you find yourself hurting them back with your words? Enjoy the fruit and freedom that silence brings into the lives of the wise!
hey guys and welcome back to this series on the power of words we’re now in episode 10 and we’re going to be talking about the power of silence and you might be thinking well that’s a bit of a strange topic to include on a series about the power of words but actually when we begin to understand how powerful our words are we can be tempted to think that well perhaps i should speak more often but actually that’s not what wise people do wise people often choose to be silent and perhaps that’s because they know that in proverbs 10:19 it says that when words are many sin is unavoidable but he who restrains his lips is wise and actually silence is so associated with wisdom in the bible that proverbs 17 28 says that even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues so very often the wise thing to do is to keep quiet now in the book of ecclesiastes it says there is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak so we need to learn when is the right time to speak and when is the right time to be silent and i suppose we could ask ourselves at what moments in my life could my silence speak more powerfully or more effectively than my words or could it be that if i speak less often when i do speak my words will carry more weight or if we take this a step further are there ways that i could speak or convey a message without actually opening my mouth now one of the ways that we can speak without speaking is through the work of our hands and this is one of the greatest ways that god has ever communicated to the human race look at this in psalm 19 verses 1 to 4 it says the heavens declare the glory of god the skies proclaim the work of his hands day after day they pour forth speech night after night they reveal knowledge they have no speech they use no words no sound is heard from them yet their voice goes out into all the earth their words to the end of the world so what god has created although it doesn’t use speech is speaking all the time he’s communicating a powerful message and it’s the same with us when people see what we have done when they see the work of our hands they will know something about who we are but you might say but david all human beings see god’s creation but not all of them understand who he is well let’s just look for a minute at how explicitly the apostle paul writes about this look at this in romans 1 20 he says for since the creation of the world god’s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse so paul is saying that god has so clearly communicated his power and his nature through what he’s made that anybody who does not glorify him has absolutely no excuse so what that means is that whether or not everybody recognizes it or responds to it it’s clear that the things that we do are communicating a message to everybody around us now if you have discovered what god has called you to do and you are getting on with it watch out for distractions it could be that somebody opposes you or starts speaking negatively about you or tries to get your attention onto something else and if you start responding with words trying to defend yourself or your ministry instead of just quietly getting on with what god has called you to do you might find yourself using your time and your energy and your words to achieve something far less powerful and effective than if you had just carried on with the work of your hands and in those situations i just want to encourage you instead of panicking or getting distracted instead of trying to respond to the criticism or making attempts to defend yourself instead of trying to get people to write letters of recommendation for you or something like that focus on simply investing in the people that god has entrusted to you in this season of your life because if you faithfully invest in those people eventually their lives the work of your hands will speak a more powerful message about who you are and what you stand for than anything you could say and actually the apostle paul wrote these amazing words about the people that he invested in in second corinthians 3 he said are we beginning to commend ourselves again or do we need like some people letters of recommendation to you or from you you yourselves are our letter written on our hearts known and read by everyone you show that you are a letter from christ the result of our ministry written not with ink but with the spirit of god not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts so he’s saying when people see your lives that will be like a letter to everybody about what our ministry among you was like so sometimes it’s better to just keep quiet stay faithful and let your work speak for itself you don’t always have to answer criticism quickly or with words your answer is coming it may take years to craft your message and it may not come with words it might just come in the form of the work of your hands now another thing that jesus demonstrated to us during his life was the importance of silence in suffering and when isaiah prophesied about jesus he said this isaiah 53 verse 7 he was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent so he did not open his mouth now this verse doesn’t mean literally that jesus never opened his mouth but it does mean that he did not speak freely and unreservedly in defense of himself matthew 27 12-14 says this when he was accused by the chief priests and elders he gave no answer then pilar asked him don’t you hear the testimony that they’re bringing against you but jesus made no reply not even to a single charge to the great amazement of the governor so do you realize that jesus said nothing that would lighten his own affliction we might think to ourselves but why not he was suffering unjustly and now of course we understand the purpose of his suffering and why he had to go through that to be a sin offering for the human race but i also think that there were two things that jesus understood the first thing is that he understood that god’s judgment is the only one that really matters look at this in first peter 2 23 it says when they held their insults at him he did not retaliate when he suffered he made no threats instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly but still why suffer so much in this life if you can do something to stop it well i think that jesus actually understood something else as well something that many professing christians don’t seem to understand and that is that suffering is one of the greatest opportunities you will ever get in this life and it’s such a great opportunity that james said in chapter one of his book verses two to four he said consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything so jesus didn’t try to relieve his suffering even though he was innocent and the bible says even though jesus was god’s son he learned obedience from the things he suffered that’s hebrews 5 verse 8. so if jesus needed to learn obedience from the things that he suffered how much more do you and i need to learn obedience sometimes when we try to lighten our afflictions we are actually keeping ourselves from the spiritual maturity that james was talking about so in those moments when we’re tempted to complain or argue or defend ourselves or even make threats it said jesus did not make any threats against those who were hurling their insults at him perhaps we should consider that suffering silently may produce something far more powerful in us than our words ever could look how the apostle paul puts it romans 5 3 to 4 he says not only so but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance perseverance character and character hope there’s a key here if you’ve been lacking in hope in your life but you know when we choose to complain about our circumstances we often end up feeling far more frustrated and disappointed and perhaps that’s because we feel like nothing is changing but when we keep quiet and we persevere with a right heart what happens is that we change and although we’ve been through something really hard we’re left full of incredible hope i just want to encourage you if you want to learn more about how to persevere through difficulties and trials and challenges i encourage you to watch episode 11 of the how to fulfill your calling series okay now let’s look at something different let’s look at being silent before the lord you see there’s something powerful about being silent before the lord sometimes our hearts and our minds are so full and we are anxious about so many things it reminds me a little bit of what jesus said to martha in luke 10 41 he said martha martha the lord answered you are worried and upset about many things and we can often be like that sometimes our souls are crying out with many concerns and worries but i love what king david wrote about his soul in psalm 131 verse 2 he said surely i have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother like a weaned child is my soul within me isn’t that interesting he likens his soul to a child that has been weaned and of course we know that before a child is weaned it cries out the moment it needs something it has no patience it has no ability to stay quiet when its immediate physical needs have not been met well what’s that got to do with our souls well if we think of our souls as our human mind will and emotions often our souls are crying out they’re crying out this is what i think is best in my mind this is the direction i want to go in that’s my will this is what i feel my emotions and of course if you cannot quiet your soul you have very little chance of being able to hear the voice of and be led by the holy spirit you see most people listen to the cries of their soul rather than telling their soul to be quiet and perhaps you’ve never learned that or ever used that terminology before but it’s no different to what the new testament describes as dying to self or putting off our old self in ephesians 4 22 22-24 it says you were taught with regard to your formal way of life to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires see often those desires of what we want what we think and what we feel are deceiving us and it says to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self created to be like god in true righteousness and holiness you see a weaned child can wait a weened child does not scream and cry out for instant gratification a weaned child has a level of patience or perseverance and think about this a weaned child can follow an instruction even if it’s a little bit hungry or a little bit uncomfortable so david says i have quieted my own soul like a weaned child is my soul within me and he also says this in psalm 62 verse 5 he says my soul be quiet before god for from him comes my hope and he seems to be saying that no matter what is going on around me no matter how much my soul wants to cry out if i can quiet my soul and wait silently on god i will find hope and that’s interesting because we just read in the new testament that perseverance produces character and character produces hope so sometimes in our moments of difficulty when everything in us wants to cry out perhaps god is calling us to wait quietly trusting in him resting in him so that regardless of the circumstances our hearts will be filled with hope actually it’s funny because for some people i’ve noticed that the more challenging things become the louder their prayer times get and maybe there are times actually when kneeling before the lord in silence is even more powerful or effective than any prayer that we could pray now don’t get me wrong there are times for prayer there are times for intercession there are times to fight there are times to take authority over demons and to command them to leave but there are also times to be still there was a moment in the history of israel when the israelites were absolutely terrified the egyptian army were marching after them and they cried out to the lord and then they started complaining to moses and in exodus 14 13 to 14 moses answered the people and he said do not be afraid stand firm and you will see the deliverance the lord will bring you today the egyptians you see today you will never see again the lord will fight for you you need only to be still wow how could moses be so confident well in psalm 103 verse 7 it says that god made his ways known to moses and his deeds to the people of israel so moses was a man who knew god’s ways when you know his ways and you’ve been walking faithfully with him taking steps of faith and obedience if you see that everything around you seems to be going wrong and you find yourself in an impossible situation people might look to you wondering how you will cope in these circumstances and you can confidently say just wait just watch what happens next because you know the god you serve you know who he is and you know that he will be exalted among the nations psalm 46 verse 10 says be still and know that i am god i will be exalted among the nations i will be exalted in the earth some of the greatest moments in my life of overcoming have happened on my knees before the lord in silence waiting on him to do what he has said he will do and listening to his voice and allowing him to completely change my heart and my perspective on the situation that i’m facing and you know i always come out of those times of waiting on the lord with renewed hope and renewed joy so actually silence can be a sign of confidence and trust and silence can also be a sign of humility you see your decision to be quiet and to listen to god rather than to speak can be a sign that you really believe that god’s wisdom is greater than yours and that you are dependent on him you know sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where we know that something needs to be said and actually we know exactly what needs to be said but we need to keep silent until the right moment sometimes the person who needs to hear something isn’t ready to receive it and that can be challenging because sometimes you have to let another person make a mistake before they’re actually ready to listen to what you have to say and when somebody’s talking to me about their life i try to identify whether they are telling me something or whether they are asking me something if they’re telling me something it usually means that they’ve already made up their mind and they’re not really asking for my advice nor do they really want it in that moment now in those moments unless i foresee a monumental disaster i usually don’t say anything but if that person comes to me and they’re asking me about a decision before they’ve made the decision it tells me that they’re probably ready to receive whatever i’ve got to say in humility and then i usually give them the advice that i think is right in that moment but of course then once i’ve given them that advice it’s up to them whether they follow it or not i don’t need to control their behavior and actually sometimes silence can show that you’re not a controller you’ve said what you need to say and you’re not going to keep on saying it on the other hand silence can also be used as a form of control or as a way to punish or hurt another person or to make them feel guilty and i just want to say that if somebody has upset you giving them the silent treatment is a very immature way of handling the situation and it’s actually a form of rejection so just because you feel that somebody has treated you unfairly does not give you an excuse to treat them with less honor and i encourage you to forgive them and entreat them in the way that you would like to be treated and if necessary gently go to them and explain to them what they’ve done that has upset you and of course often people who give silent treatment do it because they’ve received silent treatment themselves in the past and i just want to say if there was somebody in your life who gave you the silent treatment you probably need to forgive that person and ask god to heal any wounds that were caused in you because of that rejection and make a decision not to repeat that kind of behavior you know sometimes we need to be silent before making a judgment or giving an answer sometimes we judge a person or a situation too quickly or we answer a question before we’ve listened properly proverbs 18 13 says to answer before listening that is folly and shame so let’s take our time to listen before we answer or judge we also need to learn not to be speaking about the sins of others we need to learn to honor people by not repeating their worst mistakes proverbs 17 9 says whoever would foster love covers over an offense but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends and actually silence is one of the things that can show that you’ve learned how to overlook an offense proverbs 19 11 says a person’s wisdom yields patience it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense silence can also communicate agreement or disagreement and my pastor and his wife will say to me that if their adult children tell them something some plan that they’ve got that they’re very excited about and the parents say nothing the children know that the parents are not a hundred percent for the idea yet perhaps sometimes they might just ignore the silence and just do what they were going to do anyway or sometimes it might make them curious and they might start to think hang on a minute what do they know that i don’t know and they might ask their parents and that will give them an opportunity to speak you see your silence can make a person think more deeply about what they have just said it gives them a chance to review it to rethink it to consider it more carefully and sometimes that on its own is enough there’s also a danger with silence sometimes people will assume that your silence communicates agreement with something that they’re doing or sometimes they may even think that your silence communicates that you don’t care so it’s important that we are discerning about what our silence is communicating and if you see that a person has clearly misinterpreted your silence you may need to go and speak to them to clarify your position on a certain issue so in conclusion our silence speaks much more loudly than we think so let’s be asking god to lead us to speak when we need to speak and to be silent when we need to be silent and i want to finish with this this is ecclesiastes 5 verse 2 it says do not be quick with your mouth do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before god god is in heaven and you are on earth so let your words be few let’s pray father we just want to thank you that we’ve learned in this episode that silence can be as powerful and even more powerful sometimes than our words we want to thank you for the example of jesus who suffered silently lord and the way that he learned obedience through the things that he suffered and father i pray that you would teach us how to persevere through difficult times without complaining or arguing or trying to lighten our affliction lord would you help us to be wise lord not only with the way we speak but also with the way that we are silent would you give us the wisdom of heaven for when we need to be silent and would you help us to use our silence in a way that’s going to benefit the people around us and glorify you would you help us to have the humility and the trust to be quiet before you to wait on you and to see you do mighty things through our silence in jesus name amen i’ll see you in episode 11.