Tag Archive for wisdom

Words With A Purpose

 

Words, words, words. We use them every day. And God has quite a bit to say about our words.

Our words can build up or tear down. They can be kind or bitter. They can bring God glory or bring Him shame.

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Today in Sunday School we talked about not grieving the Holy Spirit by sinning, and one of the ways we grieve Him is by using “corrupting communication.”

Ephesians 4:29,30 is one of those extreme “never” verses. Never let this happen. 

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And grieve not the Holy Spirit…”
I can’t think of anything that I would actually want to be defined as corrupt. A corrupt file? A corrupt accountant? A corrupt home? No, thank you. There is nothing attractive about something that is corrupt. And lips and words are no exception.
What are some synonyms for corrupt? Rotten, useless, depraved.
We are talking about words that tear another person down, or build ourselves up at the expense of another. It also encompasses thoughtless, backhanded comments that hurt or belittle another person.
God’s word says that out speech should have a purpose. To build up and edify.
Anything that falls short of that goal grieves the Holy Spirit.
I often tell our teen girls that when you use your lips as a tool to slander or tear another person down, you are never more like Satan. When you encourage and edify another sister in Christ, you are never more like Christ.
We have ALL kinds of excuses for our sinful speech, don’t we? Excuses ranging from “Oh, it just slipped out” to “I have PMS.”
But sinful words have a sinful root. A sinful heart. We hate to admit this, because it is so much easier to make excuses or tell people about all of our extenuating circumstances. We love to blame others and claim our own goodness.
But we can never blame another person for something sinful that came out of our own lips. We need to own our words. And when we have grieved the Holy Spirit and torn down another believer, we need to make that right on a vertical level (God) and on a horizontal level (person you offended.)
When you find yourself in conflict, how is your speech?
A Facebook friend had this as his status this week:
“Conflict is especially effective in breaking down appearances and revealing stubborn pride, a bitter and unforgiving heart, or a critical tongue… It is important to realize that if you do not glorify God when you are involved in a conflict, you will inevitably glorify someone or something else. By your actions you will show either that you have a big God or that you have a big self and big problems” (Ken Sande from his book The Peacemaker).
If you find yourself wishing that you didn’t have to deal with this sin nature, and you are discouraged by battling your tongue once again, remember this:
God has given us all we need to live for his glory. 1 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
Do you find yourself struggling? We all do.
Do what it takes to avoid this sin. This might include separating yourself from people who tempt you to gossip, recording yourself during the day to evaluate your tone of voice with your family, taping scripture near your telephone or computer, or just plain limiting the amount of words that come out of your mouth.

How to Be Holy When You Wake Up Grumpy

How are you supposed to be holy when you wake up grumpy?

We know what holiness is not, and what it looks like, but how do we get there?

If I had to describe myself when I wake up in the morning, holy is not the first word that pops into my mind. Tired, yes. Holy, no.

Some mornings I wake up grumpy. I don’t want to face the day. I wake up overwhelmed.

So, what now?

KGcbEHoSLmcHyhqA2nfl_76591_667052060003591_1045050051_nHoliness is not about being perfect. Jesus was the only person to walk this earth in a sinless manner. He was perfect for us!

So, holiness is not a matter of attaining perfection, but of mimicking. We want to follow Christ’s example, because we want to be like Him. And, holiness is not about feelings, but about direction. We are purposefully choosing to walk as He commands. Obedience. Choosing the right path.

Here’s what that looks like in real life:

You wake up exhausted. Instantly, thoughts flood into your mind: problems, worries, what-ifs.

You breathe a prayer for help: “Lord, this day, all of it is yours. You are ruler of my life. Help me to follow You.”

You have two choices: you can feed on the negative thoughts, or you can choose to feed on what’s true, honest, just, pure, lovely. You can choose to praise God with your heart, soul, and mind.

Holiness is about making excellent choices.

The phone rings and you’re greeted with that problem person (Love your Nellie Olsen!) and her stinky remark. You have another choice. You can use this person’s sin as an excuse to sin yourself and retaliate in kind, or you can choose a higher road. You decide to overlook the lousy attitude and treat this hurting person with care and kindness.

The kids wake up and didn’t seem to get the “holiness” memo either. They’re bickering and grumpy, and general selfishness seems to reign supreme. You could react in kind, with snarky remarks, put-downs, or threats, or you could see things with eternal perspective, encouraging them to follow you while you follow Christ and His commands, helping them see where they’ve fallen short of God’s code of ethics for loving others well.

The list of scenarios could go on and on, but you get the picture. Holiness is about obedience and not necessarily about feelings.

Some quick tips for pursuing holiness:

1. Take time to be holy. It’s a song, I know, but the truths are spot-on. The more time you spend communing with God through prayer and Bible reading, the more transformed your mind will become in your desire to pursue holiness. Cut out needless distractions to make time for the Lord. Then, go out and serve people in a way that points all the glory back to Him.

2. Don’t make excuses for your sin. Call it what it is and agree with God. Make it right with the person you’ve offended. If you don’t own up to your own sin, you won’t put it off or make progress in holiness. (Confess, find forgiveness, move upward.)

3. Listen to your heart. And I don’t mean in the sense that you’re following it. Listen to what you say to yourself when you are alone with your thoughts. Where does the needle of your internal compass land, when you have a free moment? If it’s on problems, then you’ve got to recalibrate. If it’s on bitter or unloving thoughts, you’ve got some forgiveness to do. If it’s on worry, take time to get to know your God. (You can only trust God to the extent that you know Him! The more you know His character, the greater your ability to trust Him!) Self-assess what’s going on in your own spiritual life.

4. Just do the next right thing. The flesh is not your friend, so whatever feels natural in the heat of the moment, don’t do it. Don’t tell that person off or give her a piece of your mind. Don’t give the cold shoulder and pretend they’re dead. Don’t yell at your kids. Don’t manipulate behind the scenes. Don’t gossip or slander. All of those sins feel good for a minute, but that’s it. They’re killing your spiritual life, your testimony, and your quest for holiness. It’s not worth it. Count the cost, and do the RIGHT thing. Take the higher road. When everyone around you is “seeking their own,” you love others enough to transfer that care that you once had for yourself to them. That’s God’s way. That’s what He did for you. Loved you when you were unlovely. We’re trying to be like Him.

5. Spend time with those who are pursuing holiness. You become like those you spend time with! Choose carefully. Look for women who are trying to respect God’s word. Spend your “free” time with women who are confident in their identity in Christ, who give and receive encouragement, who are transparent about what they are learning and how they are growing, who will challenge you to be a better person and who talk about others in a positive way, when they are not around. (Of course, there are several types of friends, and we all spend time with a variety of people, but when you have a choice, choose the person who’s walking the same direction as you are!)

What about you? What are you doing to pursue holiness? What would you add to this list?

Use a Little Tact, Rachel Lynde.

Had to share this funny article on using tact when dealing with others  from  The Modern Mrs. Darcy and a video to brighten your day.

Wise Words, Wounding Words

This week I have been meditating on words. I am studying Proverbs and am constantly amazed at how much it speaks of words and the lips. What we speak reveals what we are all about. It shows our heart. Someone has quipped “The tongue is the tail of the heart.”

Proverbs tells us that the virtuous woman had a “law of kindness” for her speech. That means she set a self imposed standard on herself. She made sure her words were wise and kind.

When people think of you, do they say ” Oh, she is always so wise and kind with her words, ” or would they characterize you as harsh, cruel, petty or critical with your words?

Here are some of the types of words and lips mentioned in Proverbs for you to meditate on:

Wise Words:

  • good words
  • truthful words
  • insightful words
  • wise words
  • gracious words
  • judicious words
  • righteous words
  • prudent words
  • healing words
  • pure words
  • sensible words
  • right word in season(at the right time)

Wicked Words:

  • bitter words
  • angry words
  • ensnaring words
  • rash words
  • foolish words
  • harsh words
  • hasty words
  • lying words
  • deceitful words
  • too many words

Which list best characterizes your speech? What will you change to become a woman who blesses her family and others with wise, kind words?