Christ-Shaped Lives & Spirit-Inspired Speech
The Matildas may have just lost their chance at winning the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but have picked up something much more precious: the hearts of their people. And now the Aussie team’s nickname is known around the world.
But what does it mean?
Joshua Mayne of Sporting News explains that the name derives from Australia’s unofficial national anthem “Waltzing Matilda”. It may not make sense to much of the rest of the world, but the moniker provides an extra layer of unity between team and country.
And this type of slang, though unpopular in broad circles, is not always a bad thing, argues sociolinguist Valerie Fridland, who posits that spoken language in the form of “covert prestige” (localized vernacular and dialects) projects and embodies social identities which bring people together.
“You’re staking a claim as being a member of that group, but you’re also separating yourself from groups outside that may be treating you badly or rejecting you in some way,” she explains. “That has a lot of power because when someone does that – as long as it’s legitimate – it bonds them with others that share that social identity and makes the group much more powerful in the face of an external threat.”
Similarly, in Christian circles and denominations, this sort of lingo exists, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Scriptures reveal that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and come to Him with a repentant heart, we and our speech are changed.
The transformation which takes place in our minds and hearts comes about by the work of the Holy Spirit. The character of Christ and the working of the Spirit inspire us to preach truth in love, to not let any unwholesome talk sound from our tongues (or texts), and to proclaim that we are God’s children. And when we are feeling tongue-tied, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
What we have to say will not always be popular, but when it comes from God, it is spoken in love to build each other up in Christ.
Connecting: How can we learn to be more like Jesus?
Sharing: How should we differentiate between the voice of the Holy Spirit and our inner voice?
- The fruit of the Spirit; what the Spirit dictates will work for good
- Pray over what we’re hearing and ask God for additional signs
- Bring our impressions to fellow believers for their input
- The Spirit is an audible voice, the inner voice is not
- The Spirit will cause us to speak in tongues and perform miraculous signs
Applying: Do you tend to fill your speech with “I” language? Discuss with your group how to deviate from monopolizing conversations.
Valuing: Pray over Ephesians 4:25-32 and meditate on its lessons, listening to God’s Spirit guide you into speaking truth in love rather than unwholesome talk.
~ Stefani Leeper