Yesterday we discussed the importance of discernment. After commenting about false teachers in the previous verse (2 Tim 2:14), Paul urges us to view ourselves as a worker seeking to please God. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness” (2 Tim 2:15-16).
What does God’s Word say pleases Him? First and foremost, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 11:6) We must believe in Jesus Christ’s substitutionary atonement for our sin, not only in head knowledge, but by receiving Him in our hearts.
Paul teaches that we are to care more about what the Lord sees in our hearts, than what men see with their eyes. “For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thess 2:3-4) His message was the gospel defined in 1 Cor 15:1-8 as having four elements. First, that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” Second, that “he was buried.” Third, that Christ “was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” Fourth, Paul taught that Christ appeared to the apostles, to five hundred believers, and to himself.
We are told “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:8). Instead we’re advised, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
We are to abide in God’s Word so that He can use us to bear fruit for the Lord. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:4-5)
We have discussed what it means to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Let’s now look what He means in the next Scripture: “but avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness” (2 Tim 2:16).
If our goal matches what the Lord wants for us: to become more and more like Jesus, then we cannot allow godless chatter to be a part of our lives. All these come from 2 Timothy 2:16:
- Avoid worthless, foolish talk (NLT)
- Avoid irreverent, empty speech (HCSB)
- Avoid irreverent babble (ESV)
- Shun profane and vain babblings (KJV)
- Avoid profane chatter (NRSV)
- Avoid worldly and empty chatter (NASB)
- Keep away from profane and foolish discussions (GNT)
First of all, chatter is our speech; the actual words we use to communicate. Godless chatter is filled with ungodly characteristics.
- Empty words suggests a deceiving lack of real substance, soundness, and genuineness.
- Profanity is when we treat (something sacred) with abuse or vulgar use of words.
- Vain speech has no real value.
- Irreverence shows disrespect for holy things.
- Foolish speech has or shows a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion.
And then of course, there’s the overall form of godless chatter called gossip! Gossiping reveals personal or sensational facts about others. So if we’re participating in any of the godless chatter listed above, whether you’re the talker or the listener, this will lead both you and others into more ungodly behavior, which is exactly the opposite of “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Tim 1:14)
God’s Word tells us to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). The other day when the Lord showed me that there are times that I must walk away from someone, to shake the dust off my feet and to stop throwing His pearls to those who refuse to hear, I missed the part about not gossiping about it. Although I could clearly claim, and did, that I needed to vent, I am clearly not to gossip to others about what transpires with me and another. That is participating in godless chatter, and I was wrong to do so, as I should have taken those feelings to God alone. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve shared something ugly about someone that gave “grace to those who hear”.
Lord, thank You for showing me the error of my ways of gossiping. Lord, it is prideful to think myself better than those who I believe purposely hurt me, when it might not even be true. Lord, rather than sharing the godless chatter with others, I know I am to share that with You, because You already know my thoughts and my heart. Lord, I want to treasure all that You’ve given me, to stay on the vine to abide in Your Word so that You can use me. I must be diligent to keep from engaging in godless chatter because You have rightly shown me that it leads to more ungodliness. Lord, while I am to rightly discern Your Word, I am not to think myself better than other sinners. Lord, we all sin and fall short of Your glory. Instead, Lord, I am to love them all enough to pray for them in love, and leave the outcome to You. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.