Mark 13:11 “When they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”
Some folk say that the #1 fear in America is public speaking. Death is #2. We’d rather die than have to speak in public. No wonder, then, that we struggle for words in any context that seems important. We fear looking foolish. What if people judge us? Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open our mouths and remove all doubt. Consequently, the golden rule has become golden silence.
Jesus’ words in Mark 13:11 speak to this.
When we face a difficult conversation with a colleague, or a tough chat with a family member, or an opportunity to share with a group of strangers, it’s not our cleverness that will win the day. The issue is not our IQ, EQ, or eloquence, but trust. Will we trust that the Holy Spirit can take even the most ordinary and feeble words, when we are fully surrendered to Him, and use them for powerful purposes?
We could probably capture the ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture with three key words: creation, power, and prophecy. He creates us afresh in the image of Christ. He empowers us for the work and ministry of Christ. And He inspires us with the words of Christ to a world in darkness.
The Holy Spirit specializes in inspiring words of wisdom, words of knowledge, prophecy, Scripture, and tongues. But it’s not the words themselves that wow the listeners. Rather, the Holy Spirit makes the ordinary extraordinary by driving the words into the heart, beyond the ear.
Oratory has a distinguished history, all the way back to the ancient world. Speech-writers have learned how to construct words and use rhetorical devices to move people. But the most profound and spiritually impactful words usually appear unadorned and in plain-wrap. It’s the timing and placement of the word — beyond our control — that makes the difference.
When we think we’ve said nothing in a spoken word, an email, or a text, we discover that those few random words, produced in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, have unexpected value.
“It is not you who speak, it is the Holy Spirit.” Trust Him and look to Him today.