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Our Idle Words. 512. Feb 1, 2024

KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:36-37

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.


When we come to Christ, one of the fundamental changes is a repurposing of our lives. We were formerly heading in one direction with all its aims and desires, but once we entered that Strait Gate into the spiritual life, Jesus leads us towards the spiritual priesthood with all His attributes. 

God puts us through a different process, leading us into a future of good works and words. 

The Bible generally uses the word "Idle" to describe laziness or doing nothing. For instance, such as a vehicle forever idling at a stop light but not moving anywhere. The vehicle would be considered useless, even pointless.

Matthew 20:6 speaks of the parable of workers' pay. A farmer needed some extra workers to harvest his vineyard. He knew where to find them, and that was where all the idle men were gathered. We see these same types of people gathering today in some of our public places. These were the idle men, not the keen-to-work guys who, if they didn't have a job, would find one quickly despite the obstacles. The idle group didn't want to work unless absolutely necessary, bringing shame to their families.

In the Exodus, when Moses sought to free the Israelites, the mere suggestion of them taking days off to worship God brought cries from their Egyptian overlords that they were too idle. Implying that if they had time to think of God, they weren't working hard enough. So, the Egyptians then stopped providing the straw for their mud bricks, and they had to gather their own straw without losing current productivity. (Exodus 5)

Proverbs 19:15 states that the idle soul shall suffer self-induced hunger. Strong's Concordance meanings for idle are deceitful, lazy, false, guile and slack. How would you like that on your resume or coming out of your mouth?

Idleness is deceitful. In the end, the results speak for themselves. Jesus said we know people by their fruits, therefore we may never be known as wise people, which would be shameful.

Proverbs 51:23 states, A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! 

Our mouths are assets producing further assets in the form of profitable words. Idle words, like inactive people, are unemployable. They are unprofitable. 

To counteract idle words, the Bible tells us to be sober-minded and to think before we speak. When our speech is directed by God, we speak purposefully, allowing our words to have an impact and become profitable to the hearer. Wisdom stays in a hearer's mind. 

On the other hand, if our words are directed by our human spirit, they may become idle words only worthy of being carried away by the wind and forgotten. God cannot use them and wonders why we, as believers, would choose to use them. 

Also, idle words can be procrastination-based. Such as "It looks like rain, I'll mow tomorrow". We know this notion doesn't work but only produces idleness. 

Why would God judge and condemn idle words? In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul cautions the church against idleness without a cause, For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

This statement is quite clear about labour. Why should someone reap a pay cheque when another person has done the work? Likewise, we cannot reap the title of a wise believer if someone else produces the wise words, and all we contribute is hot air from the next chair simply because we choose to speak without thought or not educate ourselves.

We will be judged for the uselessness of our words. The world needs words. We must remember that people's hearts, minds and futures rely on words, whether written or spoken. Remove words, and what is left is experience only. We need words for the world to work properly. Particularly Christian words.  

Christians should be the wisest people alive. But in many cases, we're not, and that's only due to application. 

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:2 that he had to feed the congregation with milk and not meat because they should have been ready for it but weren't. We should use more wisdom and growth words in our conversations.

That doesn't mean we can't enjoy a bit of banter and a joke. Nor does it mean we can't have other types of conversations. But the primary thought when speaking should be whether the Lord could employ our words in His ministry. 


Dear Lord, Like dead works, please help me overcome the use of idle words. Give me wisdom in how and when I choose to speak or respond, knowing that that choice may make all the difference to the hearer. Photo by Brett Jordan

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