There is a time to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7).
We talk a lot about speaking right words here at Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Speaking words of faith is empowering. But silence, too—when not fear-based—comes from a place of spiritual strength. It is all the fruit of the spirit in action, and it can be the difference between a faith victory and a faith failure.
Certainly, there are many times when we need to speak. The righteous are bold as a lion, and remaining silent due to timidity or intimidation is not wisdom. But in many instances, wisdom is silent (Job 13:5). While the world speaks whatever comes to mind, we, as believers, are called to hold our tongues. In fact, James 1:26 says, “If you claim to be righteous but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
If you’re ready to harness the power of holding your tongue and protecting your blessings from the grip of the enemy, here are 8 Times You Should Stay Silent.
1. When You Get Bad News
“If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” –Job 13:5
Bad news can start a whirlwind of thoughts filled with fear, anger, doubt or hurt. You’re tempted to blurt out the first thing you think of.
Stop. Stay silent.
Your first words are critical to your outcome (find out more HERE). Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that’s why when you get bad news is one of those times when you should stay silent—that is until you are prepared to respond ONLY with faith-filled words.
It’s what Kenneth Copeland calls “the language of silence,” and it’s advice he’s given to many people, including some who are powerful preachers today.
Until you become fluent in faith, learn the language of silence, especially when you get bad news. Ask God to help you the way Psalm 141:3 puts it: “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (NIV). It will completely change your life!
2. When You’re Angry
“Be angry, and do not sin.” –Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV)
When you’re angry seems to be when you want to speak the most, doesn’t it? You have something to say!
This is one of those times when you should stay silent.
Speaking when you’re angry opens the door to sin, causes strife and turns you into a fool (Proverbs 29:11). Sometimes it feels like it takes every fruit of the spirit to make it happen, but when you control your tongue, you will come out on top every time. You’ll be amazed at how much fighting someone can’t do when you don’t participate. And you’ll save yourself from the pain of words that can’t be taken back, no matter how much you regret them.
Don’t let the devil push you off the line of walking in love. He’s only trying to get you out of alignment, so he can steal your blessings from you. Instead, hold your tongue. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (James 1:19). Wait and listen for the Holy Spirit to tell you if this is a Proverbs 26:4 moment or a Proverbs 26:5 moment. Then, let Him give you the words to speak. When you do, you’ll never let anger lead you into sin again.
3. When You’ve Been Accused
“Jesus gave no answer, not even to a single charge.” –Matthew 27:14 (BSB)
Jesus sometimes responded when He was being accused. Sometimes He didn’t. How do you know when to speak or stay silent? By starting off silent and listening for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It is tempting to defend yourself, but God says He is your avenger (Romans 12:19). You can trust Him to bring you justice. He does a much better job than we ever could! Despite what it feels like in the moment, you don’t always owe someone an explanation or response to an accusation. Sometimes, it can even make things worse, especially when you respond from a place of offense or emotion.
4. When Someone Invites You To Gossip
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” –Proverbs 16:28 (CSB)
We’ve all been there. We’re enjoying a friendly chat and then…it takes a wrong turn. There is no shortage of people who would love to get you involved in their gossip.
What should you do?
Change the subject, walk away. Whatever you do, don’t participate.
Why? See some of what the Bible has to say about it.
The Bible doesn’t just refer to gossip as a not-nice thing we shouldn’t really do. It calls it “wickedness,” and that’s something we want to stay far away from. Be someone who speaks well of others and builds others up. Be a light in a world that is just waiting to tear someone else down. After all, it’s your testimony and your witness.
5. When You Want To Complain
“Do all things without complaining.” –Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)
Complaining puts you in a powerless position. It says everyone else is in the driver’s seat of your life but you. It stirs up an ungrateful heart, and if you’re a believer in Christ, you have a whole list of things for which to be thankful.
It was God’s will for the Israelites to conquer, possess and enjoy the bounty of their Promised Land. But most of them didn’t get there because of COMPLAINING.
Watch Kenneth and Gloria Copeland teach you how to have an attitude of gratitude.
Here are some things that may tempt you to complain:
- How you slept last night
- The weather
- The traffic
- The government
- Your boss, your company, your co-workers.
Maybe you’ve even complained about God. “Why did those people get blessed, while I’m still waiting?” Or maybe, “I’ve been tithing, but I don’t see any blessings.”
Every time you complain, you go around in a circle and keep your breakthrough from coming. Instead, when you start to feel yourself complaining, shift gears, and start praising and thanking God for everything you have and what He’s done in your life. That’ll get the enemy on the run!
6. When You Haven’t Verified the Story
“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” –Proverbs 18:13
You’ve heard a story about another person. They’ve wronged someone or sinned or behaved foolishly. At least…that’s the way it seems. The Bible warns us that every story sounds true until you hear the other side (Proverbs 18:17). So, when you haven’t verified the story you’ve just been told, this is a critical time for you to stay silent. Do what you’d want others to do for you—confirm the story from the mouths of two or three witnesses. And don’t neglect to get the other side of the story from the person directly. Making remarks or judgments prior to doing so is a recipe for disaster.
7. When You Haven’t Been Released To Speak
“Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise.” –Proverbs 17:28 (NASB)
You have something on your heart to share—with a friend, co-worker, boss, pastor, business owner or anyone else. But should you?
The flesh likes to talk—a lot. But Proverbs 10:19 (AMP) tells us, “When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable.” When you aren’t sure if you should share a thought, input or criticism; or even ask a question, this is a time to stay silent until you’ve been released by the Holy Spirit to do otherwise.
Now, it’s important that you don’t use “not being released to speak” as an excuse not to speak when you absolutely should. There are times to seek the Lord, and there are times when His will is perfectly clear upfront about speaking up.
If your flesh is holding you back through fear, that is not a time to stay silent. There are countless times the enemy would love to shut you up. Don’t be fooled! But if you feel a tugging of the Holy Spirit giving you pause, take the time to be silent long enough to hear from Him. Then, be willing to hold your peace forever if necessary.
8. When You Need to Listen
“Go near and hear all that the LORD our God may say.” –Deuteronomy 5:27 (NKJV)
We’ve all been there. Our prayer time is so full of our own talking, God can barely get a word in edgewise! The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16, NKJV), and God wants to hear from you. But there are times—many times—when you need to be silent and just listen for His still, small voice.
That’s why Kenneth Copeland says, “You haven’t finished praying until you listen.”
If you’ve gotten in the habit of doing all the talking in your relationship with God, set aside time each day to just sit and listen. It’s amazing what you will hear from Him when you quiet your spirit.
Watch Kenneth Copeland teach you why faith doesn’t skip the listening part of prayer.
In the days and weeks ahead, keep these eight times when you should stay silent in mind. Practice them. See if you don’t see a HUGE difference in your life and walk of faith. See if you don’t find yourself experiencing a whole lot more VICTORY!
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