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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: January 9, 2012.

“Have you ever prayed that God would make you proficient in communicating with the people around you?”

Plagiarism is a punishable crime. It is when, in literature, one person uses the words of another, verbatim, without giving credit to the originating author, thus taking credit for those words themselves. It is wrong to take credit for something you didn’t do. Mankind is often credited with inventing language, but this is not so. Language is clearly a gift from God.

When God formed Adam and placed him in the garden, he spoke to Adam both blessings and boundaries. The Lord also brought all the animals to Adam to see what he would name them. There, in the beginning, language existed. Adam didn’t have to learn it; he spoke and named each animal. This language was understood by both Adam and God and was the vehicle by which God and Adam (and eventually Adam and Eve, and their children) would communicate.

Communication is a key element to any relationship. What God offers us is a relationship with his Self. In that right relationship with God (to which we are restored in Christ Jesus) is restored relationship with others. In order to grow in our relationship with God and others we must be able to communicate. This is the reason God has given us language.

In ancient times, at the tower of Babel, all mankind had one language. Their unity was not a problem – in fact, unity is what God wants for us. The problem was man’s pride. Our unity was solely with each other and excluded God. For this reason, God “confused their languages” (Genesis 11:7). The unity we took for granted would now be nearly impossible without intentional effort; effort we are seldom willing to put forth.

There is so much more to learning a language than just memorizing the vocabulary and learning the mechanics and structure. To truly communicate with different tribes, tongues, and nations it requires us to understand them. It is more than an investment of your intellect; it is an investment of your heart. To effectively communicate you will need to understand cultural context and the socio-economic climate of a people, but more than that, you will need to be able to understand the person; the individual. Body language, tone of voice, the use of their own language, as well as various expressions and the meaning behind what is said is all a part of that.

Language – in all its various expressions around the world – is a gift from God that causes us to think past our own forehead, lay pride aside, and build relationship with others. The challenge in this is that we are a selfish people. Whether we are learning our own native language and how to communicate with our fellowman, or learning a foreign language, we most often think of ourselves. We want to do what is easiest for us and we seldom think of the benefit we could provide to others, or the will of God.

In school, we just want to meet the requirements and get it over with. When it comes to language we still tend to leave God out of the loop. When choosing a foreign language did you acknowledge God and ask what language he would want you to learn? In working with your own language, have you ever prayed that God would make you proficient in communicating with the people around you; able to understand them, meet them where they are, and speak to them as people of value rather than at them as objects or tasks?

In order to effectively learn a language and thus learn to communicate with others we must surrender our heart to God and acknowledge Him as Lord. We cannot invest ourselves in the learning process, and the relationships that grow as a result, unless we are redeemed in Christ and set free from our selfish nature.

It is often said that language is insufficient to speak of the things of God, to effectively bear witness and give testimony and glory to His name. This is a cop-out. Language is a gift from God for that very purpose. Our relationship with God is given that we might know God as we were intended to so that we are able to make him known to others. Language – for the purpose of communication – is the vehicle by which we make God known. Certainly it is a challenge, but that is part of the gift. Every gift of tongues in the Bible (with the exception of the unknown “prayer language”) is given for the purpose of bearing witness to, and testimony of, God. To effectively and thoroughly learn languages and dialects is to make the best use of that gift.

If you want to have a greater impact in the world for Christ, learn to communicate. Language, with all its nuances, is a powerful tool in the hands of Christ’s saints. The pen is truly mightier than the sword.

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