Restrained Words. Cool Spirit.

Pausing over a proverb this morning. Contemplating a saying and experiencing some conviction. Recognizing an “opportunity” here. Not gonna lie, these encounters of the divine kind can get a bit uncomfortable.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I rarely make “a long story short.” In fact, I have the tendency to a make a short story long. I’m pretty comfortable letting words flow. The most flattering spin that might be put on it is that I am a “verbal thinker”, often hearing for the first time myself what I’m thinking when others do.

I think on my feet. I tend to process information quickly and give an answer quickly. Not boasting about it. Just being real.

It can be a strength. But sometimes, as you might imagine, it can also get me in a bit of trouble. It’s why I think I find myself often offering this disclaimer, “Don’t let my confidence and quickness in answering suggest that I have the answers. I’m just sharing my initial thoughts and opinions.”

It’s how I’m wired. For much of my career it’s actually part of what I was paid to do. I even consciously worked at getting better at it. But that isn’t offered as some form of justification. Because I know the wiring is broken. And that the Spirit of God, through the Word of God, is in the business of re-wiring me — transforming me through the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:2). That’s why I’m thinking the Sanctifier of my soul has me chewing on the merit of managing my words.

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

(Proverbs 17:27 ESV)

The person who knows a thing or two uses words with restraint. Ouch! A calm demeanor is evidence of confident discernment. Ouch, again!

Restraint. To withhold. To keep back. To put in check. Believing that, in most cases, fewer words are going to be better than many words. Choosing words carefully. Speaking words judiciously. Willing to go against how I’m wired, and offer words sparingly. (Did I mention how uncomfortable this can be?) That’s what I’m picking up this morning.

Maintaining a cool spirit. Keeping a cool head. Taking a breath every once in awhile. More interested in effectively communicating an idea than in always winning an argument. I love a good argument as much as the next guy, but am I loving my fellow arguer?

Restrained words. Cool spirit. Thinking it’s what I need. And to be honest, thinking it wouldn’t hurt in the public square, as well.

Carefully managed words. Spoken with a self-controlled spirit. That’s the way of wisdom. That’s the way of Christ. That’s the way I want to be.

Only gonna happen as I align my thinking with His and confess my sin as sin. Able to become a reality as Christ, by His Spirit, lives in me and through me.

By His grace. For His glory.

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