“That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”Ephesians 4:22-24
I met a guy in one of my college English classes who was just there to take that one class so he could complete his requirements. He was graduating with an engineering degree and based on what he told me, he seemed to be a sharp individual. We soon became friends and found out that we had a lot in common. We started to hang out and he shared with me that he was believer in Jesus Christ and I shared with him the same. We had this common bond in our belief in the Savior of the world and this seemed to bring us together.
He invited me to his church one Sunday, which was quite different from the church I attended and I did not feel quite comfortable there. We talked about everything under the sun, but little about the things of God, although it was our most important bond. We hung out more and more and he was glad to find out I liked to play basketball because he did as well. He had been over to my house several times and saw my hoop in the driveway area, and he said he was going to come over one day and teach me how to play. I took this as a challenge, and we set up a day for him to come over so we could settle it on the pavement.
My friend was the same height as me, but he weighed more than I did and not in a good way. I was confident I would beat him, but life has taught me to never underestimate anyone. The day came and soon after we started to play, I began to gain the advantage. I had laser focus as I did not want to lose, and I was on fire, hitting most of my shots. I had the home court advantage, and I was able to get to my “spots” on the court. My friend got frustrated and took off his shirt (which made my sister temporarily lose her eyesight), and then he said, “no more messing around.”
At the same time, my dad had come outside on the other side of the fence to grill our dinner, so he was within earshot of us and could see our game beyond the fence. The shirt removal did little to improve my friend’s game, but it did make me practice social distancing before it was even a thing. I was beating him pretty soundly when things started to come out of his mouth that would make a sailor blush. I told him to watch his mouth as my dad was on the other side of the fence, but he still kept at it. I could not say much as my mouth was not the best either, but I still had sense to be respectful of my parents and not use foul language in their presence. My friend finally waived the white flag, and he never challenged me to another game.
We came inside for dinner and I could feel the tension in the room. My dad was not happy and he made a comment to my friend that I will never forget. He looked directly at him and said, “I thought you said you were a Christian.” My friend seemed startled by this and replied, “I am a Christian”, to which my dad responded, “You don’t talk like one.” My friend’s countenance fell, and he did not like what my dad told him. He complained about it to me after dinner, and I was unsympathetic and cautioned him to be careful about going any further, even though I was guilty of the same corrupt speech. Much is learned about someone by how they talk and what they talk about. Our speech reflects our heart and reveals a whole lot about who we are. Matthew 12:34 states, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
What do your words and actions say about you? Are people won by your way of life or are they dissuaded by the words that come out of your mouth? Do people see something different in you or do you seem to blend in with the rest of the world? Would your lifestyle and speech be enough to convict you of being a Christian, or would others be shocked to know that you are a believer? The way we live our life matters to a holy God. This includes all manner of living, even our speech. May our life point others to Christ, and may we put off the old man and walk in newness of life. A lost world is not won by Christians who blend in, but it is won when others see Christ in us.