Becoming pure is a process of spiritual growth, and taking seriously the confession of sin during prayer time moves that process along, causing us to purge our life of practices that displease God. That’s what happened to me when I began working on my prayer life. For me, gossip was a serious struggle.
Even though I knew God spoke specifically to women about not gossiping (1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3), I did it anyway. Convicted of my failure to follow God’s guidelines and aware that my gossip didn’t please God, I tried some practical remedies like taping little notes on the phone (Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?) and setting some self-imposed rules for my speech. I even prayed each day that I wouldn’t gossip. And still I gossiped!
Real change began when I started not only to pray about gossip, but to confess it as an offense to God each time I did it.
One day, about a month after I got serious about confession, I reached the height of my frustration. I was so sick of failing, sick of offending my Lord, and sick of confessing the sin of gossip every single day that I submitted myself to God for more radical surgery (Matthew 5:29-30). I asked Him to cut gossip out of my life.
A Friend of Women
I wanted to be known as a woman who is a friend of women; a woman who is for other women rather than being against them. What did that entail? Sharing words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, constructive, and instructive. Having speech edify and minister grace to our hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
The Holy Spirit led me to that decision, guided that surgery, and has empowered the purification process. Let me quickly tell you that I’ve had my lapses, but still that day was a significant turning point for me. Purification—purging my life of a major sin (1 John 3:3)—took place, in part because I faced my sin regularly in prayer. Do you see the progression? Sin led to confession, which led to purging. Which led to being a woman who spoke sweet and wise words.
Dear Lord, “may I be incapable of rest or satisfaction of mind under a sense of Thy displeasure! Help me to clear accounts with thee....” Amen. (Susanna Wesley)
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Are you tempted to gossip? Pray today and confess gossip as a sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower the purification process in your heart.
Our speech should edify and minister grace to our hearers (Ephesians 4:29).