|Posted by Lorraine Serra on January 14, 2015 at 9:45 AM|
My husband and I were discussing the maturity levels of each of our three sons just last night. Connected to maturity is discernment; prudently evaluating possible choices before taking action.
One of the most treacherously harmful moves we can make, harmful to ourselves and to others, involves our mouths. The apostle,James, warns us about our tongue being a weapon of destruction, or a source of blessing. Will the tongue wag on with ruthless gossip, or exert a quiet level of self control? He asks, "Can bitter water and fresh come from the same spring?" Hmmm.
Whatever comes out of our mouths in a moment of surprise, anger or fear, says a lot about who we are because in those unprepared moments, there is evidence of the Holy Spirit's control in our lives or the lack thereof. I am not referring only to the spontaneous explosion of expletives and curses.
Beyond that, there are choices to be made about the extent to which we will choose to malign someone who has "done us wrong". Or perhaps there is a measure of misunderstanding. Better to reserve comments and rumors which you can't retrieve once released.
No doubt, most of us have experienced the old "open mouth, insert foot" syndrome. But, loving God, and learning to live out our relationship with Him, transforms our thinking and, therefore, should transform our interactions. If you are a work-in-progress, you are not alone!
There is definitely a spiritual war raging within us as the scripture points out. The power of darkness is not just a euphemism for our self-centeredness. Our rage or disappointments, or our assumptions about the activities of others can override what we know to be the instruction of God:
"Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another...even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do". Eph 4:26
This call of God on the Christ-follower is a lifestyle, a world-view, not adherence to a list of rules of do's and don'ts. This call of God is about holiness. But, seeing holiness only as rule-keeping breeds serious problems and diminishes the grace of God.
Chuck Colson lays it out plain and simple. I like his direct approach:
"Emphasis on rule-keeping deludes us into thinking we can be holy through our efforts. But there can be no holiness apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Our pious efforts can become ego-gratifying, as if holy living were some kind of spiritual beauty contest. Such self-centered spirituality in turn leads to self-righteousness--the very opposite of the selflessness of true holiness." From "Loving God"
Jesus had a direct approach, too:
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34
What's in your heart today? Whose voice directs your path? Maturity, discernment, self-control; these grow from loving guidance, teaching, discipline, and accountability. Our sons are still growing, and so are we.
Lord, I am overwhelmed by your patience with me. Your grace and mercy have given me so much strength and peace. I am confident that You continue to work in me by your Holy Spirit, that I may grow into the person you desire me to be...for my own benefit and for Your glory. Amen!
Categories: Fresh Start 2015