22010.153 Watch Your Words!

“Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one.” —Matthew 5:33–37

A believer’s word, demonstrated by the actions of their lives, is to be sufficient—we need add nothing more.

Christians are to be honorable and trustworthy. We are to be known as people of our word. Seeking to live our lives above reproach, we are not to practice deceit.

Truthfulness in our day seems to be such a rarity that we think we must end our statements with some sort of vow to add emphasis or credibility. Jesus tells us to get rid of all rash and unnecessary swearing. He tells us later in Matthew we will one day be called to give an account for the careless words we speak:

“The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” —Matthew 12:35–37

Nothing is ours; everything is related to God. It all belongs to Him. Paul tells us:

“For who concedes you any superiority? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not?” —1 Corinthians 4:7

Proclaiming an oath after something we have said has a tendency to demonstrate smugness in our own wisdom; it tends to promote pride regarding our rightness on a matter. This is particularly offensive when believers argue their points regarding spiritual matters. We must beware of this! Scripture tells us we are to do everything without complaining or arguing as we hold out the Word of Life:

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.” —Philippians 2:14–16

Worldly wisdom is foolishness in God’s sight. Believers are to know and live by God’s truth:

“For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God. As it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.’ And again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’” —1 Corinthians 3:19–21

Become More

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” —1 Corinthians 1:25

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” —Alexander Pope

Further Reflections

“The teachings of Jesus hit us where we live. We cannot stand as imposters before Him for even one second.” —Oswald Chambers

“Character in a saint means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested.” —Oswald Chambers

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