Are You Wasting Your Words?

Posted on May 4, 2020


By David Ettinger


How useful are your words when it comes to proclaiming God’s Kingdom? Do your words make unbelievers aware of their need for salvation?

How “stripped down” and “bare” are your discussions? In other words, what characterizes your conversations? Politics? Civil-rights issues? Sports? Culture? Or, as a Christian concerned with the souls of the unsaved, are your discussions “stripped down” to the heart of the Gospel: that all people are born sinners destined for hell, but that Christ can give them eternal life.

As Christians, we should filter out the gunk and emphasize the pure. Politics and “issues of the day” do little to promote the Kingdom of God; telling people how their souls can be saved does. How fruitful are your words?

“Fruitless Discussion”
This phrase comes from 1Timothy 1:6, where Paul tells his young charge: “For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion.”

2 timothy

The context is the church at Ephesus, over which Paul has assigned Timothy. In giving Timothy his marching orders, Paul begins, “… remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines” (v. 3). In the first and second centuries A.D., the early Church met in homes scattered throughout cities, towns, and villages, meaning there were many instructors teaching different things. (Church buildings became the norm in about A.D. 200.) Sadly, many of these teachers got way off track and wasted their “pulpit time” instructing on “myths and endless genealogies” (v. 4), which eventually morphed into “fruitless discussion” (v. 6).

The Greek for this phrase invokes teaching or discussion that, from a spiritual standpoint, is useless, futile, and empty. It is aimless and has no logical end. Such discussion by the Christian teacher will do nothing to promote the Kingdom of God and fails to be edifying and beneficial. Paul hated such fruitlessness and commanded Timothy to clamp down on it.

Too Much Fruitlessness Today
What about today? Are Christians guilty of fruitlessness? Sadly, the answer is yes.

fruitless tree

As I engage other Christians in discussion, I am disheartened when all they want to do is trash political figures and talk about issues such as gun control. By contrast, when Christians get together, Paul instructs us to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). I love talking about Scripture when I get together with fellow believers, but I’m afraid too few of them reciprocate. They would rather talk politics – which is okay to a point – and nothing else.

As I scan my friends’ Facebook pages, I see very little by way of witnessing for Christ. I see many reposted articles on gun control, condemnation of those from the other political party, and bashing liberals, but I see very little of an evangelistic nature.

The message of the Christian should always be Christ as the only way to salvation. The focus should always be the saving of souls. Our current conservative president will accomplish nothing by way of saving souls solely by his being a conservative. Retaining current gun laws will have no effect on the eternal destinations of men and women. Ending the assault on Christian civil rights will not keep a single unbeliever out of hell. And yet, this seems to be what American Christians are most focused on.

When in conversation with the unsaved, or posting items on Facebook which unbelievers can see, we must switch our emphasis from the “fruitless” to the “fruitful” and stop wasting words.

Turn “Fruitlessness” Into “Fruitfulness”
To be sure, topics such as gun control, politics, and civil rights are not without spiritual benefit. I often use them to veer into fruitful discussions of Christ, sin, and eternity.


When discussing politics with unbelievers, I allow the conversation to go on for about two or three minutes before I say something such as, “You know, you will never convince me that your point of view is right, and I will never convince you that my point of view is right.”

Hopefully, the other person will ask, “Why not?” I reply, “It all has to do with worldview. I come from a biblical worldview; you come from a secular worldview.”

This should be the launching point into the only discussion that truly matters: Christ as the only way to salvation. All other topics pale when it comes to unbelievers and the state of their souls. What good is it persuading those with a liberal mindset that the current gun-control laws and supporting a Republican president is the way to go if we don’t tell them that they need Christ? What good have we done if we can convince them that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are wrong if we leave the topic of their eternal salvation untouched?

Such political and social postures do nothing to advance the Kingdom of God. For the Christian, unless these topics are used as gateways into spiritual conversations, they are nothing but “fruitless discussions,” mere wasted words.

As Christians, we must seek “fruit” and every turn. A healthy concern for the souls of men and women will help turn our focus in the right direction. Seek God earnestly in this, asking Him to help you trim waste at turn you into a tree of fruitfulness!