Silence and Spiritual Walk: The Silence of Self-Control
June 18th, 2018 | 2 Kings 18:28-37
In Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung described a spiritual exercise she did with her students on the vice of “vainglory,” defined as “the disordered desire for attention and approval.” The exercise: No talking about yourself for one week. This proved more difficult than anticipated. “[W]e quickly got a robust experiential taste of how deeply rooted a vice can be, and how blissfully unaware we were that we even had it.”
Silence requires self-control. The army of Assyria besieged Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah. The field commander also engaged in psychological warfare, speaking Hebrew and hoping to prompt a revolt against their leaders: Don’t believe whatever your king is telling you. Assyria is stronger than Judah; you have no chance of winning. And don’t trust God to deliver you either. The gods of Assyria are always stronger (vv. 30, 35).
Insulting God was a fatal mistake. The Lord is no local deity, no handcrafted piece of stone like the “gods” of other nations. By denying that Godcould deliver them, the commander essentially guaranteed his own defeat.
The Israelites on the wall responded admirably—with silence (v. 36). They didn’t argue. They didn’t beg for favorable terms of surrender. They followed King Hezekiah’s orders to say nothing. While the king’s envoys were appalled by the blasphemy and thrown into grief and despair, the people endured the taunting in silence.
The ability to control one’s tongue requires the Holy Spirit’s help. Without Him, “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
APPLY THE WORD
Consider doing the same exercise from the opening illustration. For one whole week, don’t speak about yourself, either orally or in writing (yes, this includes social media). Instead, listen to others and attentively observe the world around you. Pray that the Lord will use this exercise to decrease our self-centeredness.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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