The importance of holding your tongue in witness

The most terrible, embarrassing, and humbling mistakes I have ever made in my ministry occurred in the instances that I failed to hold my tongue. I’m not talking about profanity, nor am I talking about the loose talk of the world. I’m speaking of sincere spiritual witness about my Lord Jesus Christ, and the requirements a believer must take to be born again, and received into the Kingdom of God.

When I was a young Christian, I just couldn’t shut up. When someone showed even the tiniest interest into the things of God, I was there with a highlighted Bible, some well practiced phrases, an exuberance to reflect the Holy Spirit that is always inside me, and a concrete goal that the person will confess, repent, and accept in that very day. How many people did I discourage, how many people did I turn away, because I failed to stop talking long enough to address the issues and concerns that brought them to me? Oh, dear God, what trouble did I bring to those who came to me with hunger for milk, and I fed them meat they could not chew?

It’s a matter of timing, an issue that seems to be focused on a lot by me these days. The big timings of God, and the smallest timings of God are all the same. Either you allow the LORD God to control things in His Time and in His Way, or you take control, plow forward with a loose tongue, and lose any hope of completing the Will of God.

Profitable witness to the Word of God and His saving Grace, requires mastery of flowing with the timing of God. It is vital that you speak the things He wants you to speak, then shut up, especially:

1. After you ask a question. Let the perspective converts think about what you have asked, and then answer it from their perspective. Don’t prompt them for the correct responses, because there aren’t any. The LORD God brings every type of person, with different beginning beliefs, experiences, outlooks, and emotions. If you don’t shut up and listen to their concerns, you risk alienating and confusing them in their most vulnerable moments.

2. Anytime you ask for their commitment to Christ. Our Kingdom does not have a “complete knowledge and understanding” requirement for entrance, and the new converts are not going to know the deep things of God immediately. They are going to have misperceptions, mistaken beliefs, and worldly thoughts. If they are not able to address these things, in their own ways, then their path toward Jesus Christ is made rocky and curved as they try to balance the things of God with the things in their own minds. The important and critical things of salvation to the person must be presented accurately and completely. But the deeper things of faith can wait; have confidence that the LORD God will present it all to them, in His Time, and avoid overloading the young Christian with things that are unimportant to him at his new birth.

3. When you are not sure what to say next. Either you are speaking for the LORD God, at the movement of the Holy Spirit, and the Truth of the Word of God in the name of Jesus Christ, or you are not. If you are at a loss for words, then that means that you are not being given words to speak. Do not try to break the silence with your own words. Have confidence that when the words need to be spoken, they will be given to you. Embrace the silence for what it is, and Praise God that He has control of even the silent times, as he moves the people to the places they need to go, deep inside themselves, where no one else can know or go.

4. When people express disappointment. It is in our nature to explain why something went wrong or to offer a quick solution to problems that we have overcome already. However, if you allow people the opportunity to vent, you gain both an understanding of the problem, and a foundation where the Word of God can be laid through His Moving. It is these times when the person becomes primed for seeking and hearing the Word of God. We must restrain ourselves from offering quick solutions, and remain quiet enough in ourselves to speak His Words as He gives them to us. The best witnesses of Jesus Christ are the quietest. They are able to actually hear what the interested people are saying, and what is most confusing to them. Most importantly, good and quiet witnesses are able to allow the foundation of Jesus Christ to be laid, as they serve the milk of God’s Word to the new babes in Christ in His Time and in His Way.

Hebrews 5:12-14

“12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:12-14 AV)