The Lord does not withhold from us so why do we withhold from others? Withholding is a form of control and at the root of that control is fear.
There are different manifestations of withholding, however in tandem with Proverbs 18:21, I am addressing withholding in speech. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Many people will think grateful thoughts, kind thoughts about others and the like, but they will never speak them out. That is an example of withholding.
Often times we have the best intentions, however the very words bless, encourage, and exhort all require speech – aka one’s mouth! A great mishap of our brain is that when we’ve thought about something long enough, we actually think we’ve done or said the task – not true! How many of us have sheepishly responded to a lack of follow through with, “well, I thought about it” hoping to achieve brownie points for non-completion? It is literally our brains excuse. While of course we are growing and learning, I really believe this is an area lacking in our culture. We simply don’t take the time to love others well. We’ve tricked ourselves into a clear conscious believing action was accomplished through our thoughts. While we are to guard our hearts and speech to bring forth life, we must be careful that this guarding does not give way to fear. I’m not talking about flattery either, I’m talking about true and intentional affirmation, exhortation, and honor that translates as love in action displayed in speech.
Our greatest Blessing and Blessor is the Lord, His example of love in action through speech at the time of Creation comes to mind. As the book of Genesis writes, not only did the Lord use His mouth to speak mankind and creation into existence, He used His mouth to bless us and call all that He created good. The process of creation (LIFE) was not complete until He spoke the blessing. Over the seven days we read over again “God said, God made, God called, God blessed”. It would appear three of four actions were in speech; the Triune Godhead in perfect unity through expressive decree over all of life.
The Patriarchs followed this example at Creation when they were passing on the family blessing, this was considered a very honored and holy time. The blessing of the sons, children, and land was not communicated through a scroll, the blessing was spoken and the words were life and they were upheld as the highest truth. The father’s blessing (or curse) was unalterable, it held prophecy and inheritance rights – their future “lot” was literally hinged on the father’s spoken blessing.
We bless and affectionately praise the Lord, as He is rightfully due. And we love because He first loved us, however I believe in the Body we are not yet complete because we lack in this area of spoken blessing. We are not yet fully inheriting all that is ours, and it’s going to take an all in effort to begin speaking forth the blessing to all the members of the Single Body through appreciation and encouragement. What if your left foot only heard signals from the brain whenever it made a mistake or tripped. It probably would not want to run… and what if your heart never heard that it was loved, it may beat a bit slower than the others. Perhaps the right ear only hears when the left hand is pointing a finger? It would probably be scared to hear and closed off. Or… what if the brain loved all of the members and limbs of the body and was so grateful, but rarely told them so? My guess is the members and limbs didn’t get the signal, and they became despondent, weak, and perhaps feeble.
Though we all need healthy encouragement and affirmation, for some it is the very language by which they are able to receive love. May we be the lovers of God in this way, bringing life through the blessing of our speech.
“Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits.” Proverbs 16:24 TPT
“Anxious fear brings depression, but a life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.” Proverbs 12:25 TPT
“Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMPC
“So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another.” Romans 14:19 AMPC
“In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.” 1 Corinthians 12:26 TPT
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV
“The lips of the [uncompromisingly] righteous feed and guide many, but fools die for want of understanding and heart.” Proverbs 10:21 AMPC
“A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer, And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!”Proverbs 15:23 AMP
“[The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught].” Isaiah 50:4 AMPC