Mike McElroy

"My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.” — Psalm 71:8

Every now and then, I indulge in a strong, hot, black cup of coffee from a shop which shall remain nameless. (I keep a small balance on a phone app from there, so it doesn't seem so expensive. It feels free.)

The barista always asks, "Do you need room for cream?" This is to save customers like me from painful first-degree burns that might occur when one tries to add cream to an already full cup, thus overflowing the cup. I always say, "No." But if I said, "Yes, just a little," she would fill it nearly to the top, leaving just enough room to pour in some half and half and stir it in with one of those little wooden stirring sticks without sloshing coffee all over myself. I don’t want to dilute my coffee or cool it off. I want to save all the strong, burning goodness for my tongue.

The Psalmist said his mouth was filled with praise to God and telling of the Lord's glory all day long. Remember when something is filled, such as your coffee cup or your schedule, there's no room for anything else. This could help people like me (and maybe you?) who don't always speak as we should. If our mouths are full of praise and glory to God, there's no room for anything else. Let's think about this.

If my mouth is full of praise, there's no room for grumbling and complaining. We're supposed to "do all things without grumbling or questioning" (Philippians 2:14). In the NKJV, it's "complaining and disputing” or "grumbling or arguing" (NIV). Whichever, we sound like that sometimes, don't we? Remember Israel's spirit of worshipful praise that was so strong after God saved them out of Egypt and again at the Red Sea (Exodus 15)? Three days later when they wanted water, they started grumbling. Next it was food they complained about. Moses told them, "The Lord has heard your grumbling against him — what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord" (Exodus 16:8). There's not enough room for grumbling and praise in the same mouth.

If my mouth is full of praise and glory to God, there's no room for unwholesome talk to come out of my mouth. Paul wrote, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). Filthy, insulting language shouldn't be coming from a mouth that's praising and glorifying God. "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" (James 3:10-11). Our mouths are different from the psalmist's mouth if our speech is vulgar and abusive.

If my mouth is full of God's glory, there's no room for prideful boasting about myself. The gospel of the cross is designed "so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” So, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:29, 31). It’s more than a character quirk or immaturity when my favorite subjects are "I, me and my." It's ok to dilute strong coffee with cream if you must, but self-righteous, prideful talk should never dilute our praise for the glory of God's grace.

Suppose you had a secret auditor, someone who followed you and listened to you all day long at home, at work, at the ball park. What would their report reveal? What would they say fills your mouth all day? Oh, God, strengthen me by your grace to meet the challenge of taming my tongue.