Your words are powerful! We have reminded ourselves of that reality these past few days. Though seemingly small and insignificant, they actually wield much power, like a small rudder that steers a huge ship or a tiny bit that controls a horse weighing hundreds of pounds. Your words can either refresh or suffocate. You must be careful, then, in your word choices.
The result, however, is not an ear-tickling dialog in which you simply tell others what they want to hear. As Paul recounts his ministry with the Thessalonians, he makes that clear. You and I must keep in mind that our words have the potential to impact eternity for other people! Look at some of the characteristics of Paul’s communication with the people he loved.
His words focused on the gospel (v. 2). Paul had been commissioned with the message of Christ. Even though he realized that the gospel created animosity and opposition, he still shared it in a clear, passionate way. Even though your call to tell others about Jesus may not have been as dramatic as that of Paul’s on the road to Damascus in Acts 9, it is no less real. So, let me ask, is the gospel message a regular part of your vocabulary? Talk about words that have life-giving potential . . . those do!
His words stemmed from pure motives (v. 3). Paul did not string together his words in order to trick his listeners. He did not attempt to trick people into following Christ. He was not leveraging his words in order to gain access to their money. Instead, his sole objective was to draw them into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. How about your words? Do they seem to be one thing on the surface with an ulterior motive underneath? Pure motives must drive your speech.
His words were designed to please God (v. 4). Paul understood that the God of heaven was the ultimate audience in all that he said. Rather than flattering people and get them to smile, his purpose was to evoke a divine smile. Wouldn’t it be a shame if your words caused others to laugh and to think highly of you, but they did nothing to draw them into a relationship with Christ? Wouldn’t it be tragic if your words caused others to think highly of you, but they did nothing to endear people to God? You speak to please an audience of one.