“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.
Have I not written for you thirty sayings
of counsel and knowledge,
to make you know what is right and true,
that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?”
“Apply your heart to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 22:17-21; 23:12
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
To be ready for what is coming or required takes vigilant, timely preparation. When we do not know exactly what to anticipate, knowledge must be broad and appropriate resources and defenses in order. The readiness of true and right words takes development over time, the ingesting, studying, and applying of biblical truth, hiding God’s word in the heart from where words draw their source. It takes discernment honed over years of testing and tasting and seeing the Lord is good, persistent and specific prayer, and obedience to the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 34:8; 119:11; Luke 6:45; Acts 14:3; 16:6; Ephesians 6:13-19)
Familiarity with the Word prepares us to defend our faith, to offer substantial wisdom, comfort, encouragement, and consolation, and to speak truth into falsehood. Being grounded in its doctrines and the character of God it reveals keeps us centered and confident in a crazy world, and assured of our identity as we face questions and condemnation. Ready lips result from a steady heart steeped in the Scriptures and strong trust in the Lord.
What are we doing to know the basic principles of Scripture so the word can sound forth from us appropriately and boldly? How are we living out its principles as an example of vibrant faith? How will we purify our motives so we speak to convey and please God, not man? Recognizing our deepest intentions and naming our fears are vital to being eager and prepared to share our hope. (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8; 2:2,4,13)
How are we specifically investing our time and attention to incline our ears, hear, apply, and keep God’s word? Do we set our daily compass toward what is right and true, or the whims of influencers, podcasters, and ‘thought leaders’? What role does the infallible word of God play in shaping our worldview, as well as daily disciplines and decisions? (Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Father, make Your word so real to me that it daily guards my thinking and guides my speaking. Keep me vigilant to know and proclaim Your truth so You are known and praised.