Matt Crain was taking a “Philosophy of Science” course at the university. The instructor, a scientist, had a reputation for fairness, but Matt was evidently the only person in the classroom who believed that God created the universe. Weeks passed, and Matt listened in silence, learning as much as he could. On the last week of class, the subject of religion came up, and Matt carefully advocated a Christian position.
Some students shouted with shocked indignation. Several tore into Matt with insults and derision. After class, two students accosted Matt. Ivan had fire in his eyes. “How can people believe this stuff?” he said with profanity. “It’s obviously a bunch of hype and fairy tales! A God who made everything in one instant? You gotta to be kidding!”
As Ivan tore into him, Matt broke out in a sweat and felt his hands trembling. But he prayed quietly, wanting to speak as Jesus would. As Ivan raged on, Matt answered calmly, kindly, and intelligently. The third student looked from Ivan to Matt, and with a grin, he stuck out his hand to Matt. “I think it’s cool you’re in class with us,” he said. “I’ll see y’round.”
How we respond with our tongues communicates our faith to the world. When we start the day, we never know who we’ll confront or what challenge we’ll face. Our actions and attitudes are all important, but our words are often remembered longest. How we verbally respond to every day’s challenges will help or hinder the kingdom.
No one ever spoke as Jesus did. When He opened His mouth, the world stopped to listen. Demons cried in alarm. Sinners dropped to their knees in repentance. Even the winds and waves obeyed His voice. If you want to graciously and courageously share your voice, study the words of Jesus. Take voice lessons from Him.
His Words Were Truthful
The first thing to notice is that His words were always truthful. “Nevertheless,” He said, “I tell you the truth” (John 16:7). The entirety of Christianity is based on the foundation that there is a God and that His divine Word is authoritative. He has revealed His objective and certain truth to humanity, and He has done so in His Word. His Word is embodied in His Son, and His Son is truth.
In John 1, Jesus is described as the “true light” who is “full of grace and truth.” So if we’re going to take voice lessons from Him, we’ve got to be without guile, speaking truthfully or not at all. As Christians, we’re under oath all the time. We’re not always required to say everything we think or know, but we’re always to speak as He did—truthfully.
His Words Were Tough
He also spoke with toughness, for there were times when He needed to be firm and assertive. He wasn’t afraid to look someone in the eyes and deliver a message that smoked the air during transmission.
There are times when we need to speak with loving toughness. Jesus was never loud-mouthed or spoiling for a fight; but He suited His message and tone to the occasion, and sometimes He used a point-blank delivery. If we’re going to take voice lessons from Christ, we need the courage and wisdom to do the same when necessary.
Moments will arise which, on the surface, seem threatening. When you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you, speak up. Look the person in the eye, deliver the message lovingly but firmly, and leave it in the Lord’s hands.
His Words Were Tender
Most of all, when we take voice lessons from the Master, we learn to speak with tenderness. If you open the four Gospels and let your eyes fall on the red letters of Christ, chances are you’ll hear a tender voice speaking. Yes, He could be tough when necessary, but His words were usually gentle, uplifting, encouraging, and joyful.
If someone analyzed your words today, what percentage would be tender, encouraging, uplifting, faith-building, and joyful? Would it match Christ’s proportions?
Let’s enroll in voice lessons from the Master. As you read through the Gospels, notice how Jesus spoke. The successful Christian life isn’t just asking What Would Jesus Do?
It’s asking What Would Jesus Say—and How Would He Say It?
No other voice teacher can compare to Him, for none ever spoke as He did.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.davidjeremiah.org
For a Christian to thrive in the current culture, it takes more than faith. It takes courage. Dr. David Jeremiah begins the series, Courage to Conquer, in order to help you grow in this important attribute-especially if you tend to react with fear to what’s happening in the world.