“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12 (ESV)
I typed out the text as fast as my fingers would go, frustrated over the situation. The faster I got it resolved, the sooner my heart would stop pounding and I could get back to my work.
But before I hit “send,” I sensed stop.
It’s not that what I said was wrong, mean or unkind. What the sense of stop was telling me was that it was not the right time.
Are you a gal like me who sometimes wants to just get things off her chest, clear the air and share what’s on her mind?
While I’ve been learning a whole lot, over the past few years, about honesty and getting free from people-pleasing, I also need Jesus’ wisdom to know when and how to share information. I’m learning that timing is extremely important.
In John 16:12, Jesus knows that some very hard days are on the horizon for His friends.
He is about to die, and it will appear that everything the disciples have centered their lives on for the past three years is about to be gone with the death of Jesus.
Jesus, too, is feeling the weight. He is the one about to die! And yet, because of His great love for His friends, He says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).
He has things to say, things that need to be said, but because Jesus knows those things would crush His friends at that moment, He holds back. He bears the weight because of His great love for His friends.
Today, or in a day or two, you’ll have something you just have to say. I will, too. But before we let words fly so that our hearts feel lighter, let’s run those words past our Helper, the Holy Spirit, and first ask Him:
Is this the right time?
Are these the right words?
Is this loving?
In the next verse, John 16:13, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will be the One to deliver the information for Him at a later time: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (ESV). Yes, Jesus will not say the words Himself but instead will rely on the Holy Spirit to do the relaying.
That is similar to how my situation worked out. That conversation I thought I just had to have? The other person brought up the situation a few days later, and it was much better that they made the discovery versus me pointing it out.
I’m so grateful when the Holy Spirit saves me from me. Aren’t you glad when He saves you, too?
Jesus, I need Your wisdom today to know what to say and what to hold back from saying. I trust that, whatever needs I have in my life, You, Holy Spirit, will come through for me and help me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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There are many women in the Bible who also needed the wisdom to know when to say something and when it was best not to! Learn more about these amazing women in Lynn Cowell’s Bible study Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …” (NIV)
When you have that sense that you just have to say something, what are some of the motivations that could be pushing you? Is it love or care for the person you’re speaking to? Is it a drive to be right or prove a point? Take some time to reflect on your motivations for speaking up. We’d love to know your thoughts — share with us in the comments!
Ask the Holy Spirit to make you sensitive to Him today, that only things from His heart will come out of your mouth.
© 2022 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
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