I have had the amazing privilege and opportunity to serve God by serving God's people in three churches as a "full time pastor". My first opportunity was at Trinity Church in Lubbock, Texas. Although I had been a Christ-follower for 15 years when I joined the staff as Pastor of Evangelism and Assimilation, I had no idea what being in full time ministry looked like or how to do it. I was blessed to have my long time pastor and mentor Rob Winkler, as my Executive Pastor. As the weeks turned to months, I had a handful of opportunities to sit and learn from our Senior Pastor in a smaller setting (at the time Trinity Church had over 6,000 in attendance and over 20 staff pastors). On one occasion I was invited by Pastor Rob to join him, a couple of the elders and one other staff pastor, to pray with Pastor Ross right before the first service started. When I walked in to Pastor Ross' "green room", I was the first one there. A couple of minutes later Pastor Ross walked in and we exchanged the usual pleasantries and waited for the rest to show up. He walked over to a cabinet and pulled open a drawer and got a container of Altoids out. He looked at me, held out the open container of Altoids and made the offer "Vocal Anointing?" He did not have to unpack that for me. I understood exactly what he was saying. I've never forgotten that moment, in fact I often refer to mints and gum as "Vocal Anointing". "Vocal Anointing" is very important and necessary. Especially if we have had some coffee.
There are times when we could all use a "spiritual Altoids". Moments when we let our humanness get the best of us. Moments when our day has given us "coffee breath". God says that "the power of life and death is in the tongue". Our words matter.
Paul says it this way, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” - Colossians 3:8 NIV. As Christ-followers we are commanded by God to "rid yourselves" of words that are "slanderous" and "filthy". Why? Because they matter to God and they can change the atmosphere of our world. So this is what Paul says later on in Colossians “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” - Colossians 4:6 NIV
One commentator puts it this way "There is no place for those things that characterize the unredeemed mouth. Whether undergoing persecution, stress, difficulty, or injustice, whether with your spouse, children, believers, or unbelievers—in all circumstances believers are to make gracious speech a habit. To speak with grace means to say what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful."