October 12, 2021, 10:00 AM

Sometimes we act like apples and oranges are the same. They're not.

One of the most well-known passages in all the Old Testament comes from Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD, is One. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”

Sadly, for many Christians, the “them” we speak of when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up isn’t God’s word. Instead, it’s other people.

We talk about people who irritate and frustrate us.

We talk about people who don’t look, talk, or act like us.

We talk about people whose ideas, values, and struggles aren’t ours.

We talk about people more readily than the Gospel.

We talk about people more frequently than God’s word.

Like apples and oranges, they are not the same.

In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul made no distinction between people who participate in orgies, who revel in drunkenness, who embrace sexual immorality, and those who… gossip.

Instead, Paul contrasted those “obvious works of the flesh” with the fruit of the Spirit saying, “...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So the next time you find yourself talking about someone rather than God’s word, stop. That’s self-control. It’s evidence of God’s hand on your life. It’s the fruit of the Spirit.

Here are a few short verses you might consider committing to memory or writing on a sticky note for the next time you feel the urge to gossip, slander, disparage, slam, or sling mud at someone:

  • The one whose walk is blameless… casts no slur on others. Psalm 15:2-3
  • Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. Proverbs 10:18
  • Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
  • Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; Psalm 101:5
  • God delivered them over to a corrupt mind… They are gossips, Romans 1:28-29
  • ...the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
  • May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. Psalm 119:171

We can justify it however we’d like, but King Jesus said we’re either with Him or against Him. We’re either gathering or scattering. We’re either building up the Body of Christ or tearing it down. We’re either speaking life or digging our own grave.

God said, “These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts… teach them… speak of them… tie them… bind them… write them…”

Talking about people is not the same.

In the passing moments we have this side of eternity... let's use our time and tongues to praise Christ Jesus our Lord and to share the Good News to the ends of the earth.

Let's speak life.