Spirit Words or Goodness


I want to discuss an interaction I had at the gym; it kind of goes along with Jennifer’s post from yesterday. My question is this: is goodness the motivation of my words or do I follow the leading of the Spirit before I speak?

I believe our world would be so quiet if all the words that weren’t inspired by the Spirit were just removed from the air. This is a sobering thought indeed – indicting actually.

I remember a story Martha told about a speaker at a Christian writers conference. He said, “Please, if you’re not called to write, don’t! We can’t find the words God intended to be written because of all the words that He didn’t.”

Only from the Spirit

Only from the Spirit
If there was a silencing of all that was not the Spirit, how precious and meaningful would be every syllable we heard. His messages, both large and small, would have such weight because the din of chatter would cease to dull us. I know that this is impossible this side of heaven, but boy! Does it make me hungry for eternity.

So, how does this relate to an experience I had at the gym? There’s a gentleman I see almost every time I go. We aren’t friends, but we do exchange small talk. He’s a barber and has actually cut my hair a few times, so we have more than a cursory acquaintance. I spoke to him this morning and asked him about his knee. He has arrived at the gym sometimes with a brace, like that of a sports injury. His answers were very brief and a little curt. I then quickly maneuvered out of the conversation and left the locker room.

I wouldn’t have given it another thought if the Lord hadn’t put His finger on it. Why was this man’s response a little brusque? I could tell this totally wasn’t the right question. My question should have been, who was the source initiating that conversation? I can definitely say it wasn’t God. It was my goodness.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care about his knees right now. I don’t even care why he was curt. My entire interaction with him was based on pleasantries that I felt obligated to give. I’m in the middle of the major job of editing the messages from this last conference, and my mind and energies are directed towards that. I was only swimming at the gym so I didn’t develop bedsores from sitting for hours while editing (hehehe).

Does this mean I shouldn’t be kind? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. If my words were only born of the Spirit, how often would I actually talk? Sure, I’m going to be kind to the checkout lady at the grocery store. Yes, I will say hello to this gentleman again, but I probably won’t ask him about his knees. Of course I will give pleasantries to the bank teller, because I live in the south and that’s what we do. But how many words would actually be spoken if I only spoke those that the Spirit initiated? How many of our words are just wood, hay and stubble to be burned? If my words were only based on the leading of the Spirit, would people be like, “Shh, E.F. Hutton!” and listen intently?

Give me the Spirit or Shut UP!

Give me the Spirit or Shut UP!
I’m just thinking out loud here, because I want to be a vessel of the Spirit’s life and purpose more than social convention. What if the Spirit had me ask this man about “Sally,” his wife? What if she’s just been diagnosed with cancer and the Spirit could’ve had an opportunity to let life flow? Ultimately, words and intents that come from the Spirit will always bring Christ’s life. Yet everything born out of compulsion and obligation will always be death. Source is everything! Maybe this man’s response towards me was the check of the Spirit saying give me Jesus or shut up! Maybe he was more led of the Spirit than I was. We live in a dying world; we have to be Life. Our goodness will never save. Only God’s goodness produces Christ’s Life.

When Kindness is a Lie

When Kindness is a Lie not Spirit
OK, so this’ll bake the noodle. If I’m motivated by goodness and compulsion, and led by all the social conventions, and I ask how someone is doing, am I lying if I really don’t care? Am I being disingenuous by inquiring, or am I just being kind? Does KINDNESS get a pass? If my motivation is kindness, can I do it while stating a lie?

I’m not campaigning for a rude society. I happen to like the fact that people are courteous and kind. I have seen small touches of kindness change everything. I’m just asking about the source of this kindness in me. I’ve seen Martha change an entire deli in our local grocery store. They practically break their necks to get over to say hello. And when Martha isn’t with me, they are inquiring about her. Why? Because she has gone in there with Love and has changed the atmosphere. Not goodness, social convention, but the Love of Christ. Her words have been few but her impact huge!

May this be said of me, “Here is a man who speaks from the Spirit.”

But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what the LORD tells me to say.”
1 Kings 22:14 NLT

I highly recommend two other posts on words and Spirit. I think they will really bless you!
My Squeaky Wounds

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That we will give an account of every idle word scares me.
Thank you, John.


You all just continue to bless me, words of understanding, all I can say is thank you. Blessings
could someone help me remove my foot from my mouth


OK John…after Jennifer’s post yesterday and this one today, together with the two that you recommended, I am completely undone! Amen to Irene’s reference to Psa. 19:14.


I so need to practice this at work. I find it so easy to get caught up in meaningless conversation at work later feel the regret and even grievance of the Spirit. Source is everything and speaking from Christ not only goes against the grain of self but also others (when not speaking as much) . I have tried that at work too and got teased for not talking that much.

Just wondering how empty facebook would be if only what was there was of the Spirit


As Tammy said, this needs some time to digest… to say the least. Not goodness, social convention, but the Love of Christ. As a side note, John, this blog entry of today made me remember vividly that writing you wrote entitled “Good is Evil”. It was the first time I ever read you, and it impacted me deeply (mainly because of my evil tendency to act out of “goodness”). That revelation has stayed in the house. Thing is I didn’t find it in the website (nor Google) to share the link! If you have the link it would be great.… Read more »



Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.




Thank you!! I was just asking God for direction with words…


I, for one, have what is most likely an OVERLY ACTIVE conversational ability! Often while engaged in conversation I feel the Lords “check” and will hush, hoping to hear what it is He is trying to get across to me during my rambling. Many times my ubrupt hush is met with a confused gaze from my audience. My family (and some close friends) however, have experienced this enough that they know they might as well find themselves otherwise engaged because unless He gives me the “rest of the story” I know to shut-up! As I read your blog John, your… Read more »


Just repeating what Tammy said…seems like the Lord has us all on the same page.
Thank you for this