3 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”
Psalm 141:3 (ESV)
How we speak and what we say matter to God. Many times in modern culture, the power of the tongue is overlooked, and people believe their words carry no weight.
A snarky comment here or a curse word there is accepted as “the norm.”
In the above verse, the Psalmist appeals to the Lord to guard his mouth like a sentinel or a police officer. Why?
Words have both the power to build and destroy. The content of our speech is of great consequence to those around us and to God.
We are called as Christians to stand apart and reflect the light of Christ in our lives and words.
- “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23 NIV)
- “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
- “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)
Athlete, you have a choice every day to invite God to watch over your words.
When a teammate makes an error, you have the choice to tear them down with insults or build them up with encouragement.
When an opponent talks trash on the court, you have the choice to ignore them or respond with a similar verbal exchange.
When students gossip about another student, you have the choice to participate in the gossip or to stick up for your peer.
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 12:36,37 that we will have to give an account for every word we have spoken, both good and bad. Words are so important that God holds us responsible!
It’s easy to react in the moment without thinking, which is why the Psalmist prays the prayer in Psalm 141:3. He invites God into the mix, to provide the strength to say the right thing in the heat of the moment when there is only a split second to respond.
Athlete, I challenge you to invite God into your corner. Ask Him to give you “the assist” in what words you use. Let Him guard your mouth and be the filter for everything you say.