“You familiar with Archimedes?” Stan asked me one morning.
“Archimedes?” I replied. “Wow, I haven’t thought about him for a long time. Wasn’t he some sort of Greek rocket scientist a long time ago?”
“He was a Greek,” Stan replied, “who, among other things, was a mathematician, physicist, and engineer who lived two or three hundred years before Jesus. He probably could have been a rocket scientist if they would have had rockets back then, but they didn’t.”
“Well,” I said, “I suppose that’s interesting, but why did you bring Archimedes up?”
“Something I remember he said, along with something a neighbor said the other day, reminded me of Archimedes.”
“What’d they say?
“First of all, Archimedes is reported to have said something like, ‘Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world’.”
“Okay,” I replied. “The power of levers and fulcrums for moving stuff. What about your neighbor, was he trying to move something?”
“No,” Stan said. “He fixes things and often says that if I give him a big enough roll of duct tape he can fix anything.”
“Big enough roll of duct tape,” I responded with a laugh. “Duct tape is good for fixing a lots of broken stuff.”
“It’s good not only for fixing things,” Stan said, “but I’ve learned that using duct tape in a mental way, a kind of visualizing, can also be good for my faith walk.”
“Mental duct tape and your faith walk?” I replied. “You kidding?”
“Not really,” Stan said. “I’ve found that if I envision some duct tape across my mouth when I’m praying, there’s a much better chance that I will be quiet and be able to listen to what God wants to tell me, rather than just going on and on about stuff He already knows.”
“Mental duct tape as a prayer tool,” I commented. “Something to thing about.”
“Not only that,” Stan replied, “but I was reading in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus and I saw another use for mental duct tape.”
“Don’t tell me that Paul was using duct tape in Ephesus,” I said with a smile.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Stan replied, “but Paul did write about something that sure seems to me to require mental duct tape.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“He was telling the church in Ephesus,” Stan replied, “and I think it clearly applies today to each of us, especially to me, to watch what comes out of our mouths. He wrote that we are to speak only what is good and gives grace to those who hear.”
“And tape over our mouths would help keep us from saying anything contrary to that,” I commented.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “It’s kind of like a tool that helps me take every thought captive until I have gotten rid of a thought that would lead to saying something that isn’t good and doesn’t give grace.”
“You think that really works?”
“It does for me,” Stan replied, “but it’s like everything else, it only works when I do it. If I will mentally envision the duct tape over my mouth so I don’t say anything inappropriate, there’s a much greater chance I will do what Paul was writing about?
“Bring grace to those who hear what you have to say, is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied, “and I’m to take that duct tape off of my mouth only when I have something worthwhile to say, something God has for me to say that brings grace!”
Bible verses to consider:
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, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29.
The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34.
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. James 3:8-10.
We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity through drawing ever closer to you that comes from listening to your voice. I confess that too often my prayers consist of me speaking and not listening. Please help me to keep quiet, whatever it takes, so I will hear and listen to your voice. The same thing applies to every aspect of the life you have for me to live as I am to take every thought captive and speak only words of edification that bring grace. You know how much help I need with that. I ask for your help in following every step of your lead in speaking only what you have for me to speak. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Where are you in your relationship with God for eternal purposes? Do you know you will spend eternity with Him when your time here is completed? If no, do you not understand it’s a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted and that speaking the words of acceptance is the greatest thing you will ever say? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing on this side of eternity with controlling what comes out of your mouth? Do you regularly speak words that bring grace to the hearers? Do you speak when you should be listening to God in your prayers? If you sense the need for change in how and what you speak, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?