Ahhh, let me hear you say “outstanding!” Or tickle my ear with the good news! “That sounds miraculous!” Increase my joy by replying “what a hope we have in Jesus!” Fascinate me by your interest in the scripture I shared. “What a blessing that was!” The truth is that we were created by God with two ears, and one mouth….let us listen more, and speak more about “their” positive impact, “their” eternal destiny, and less about me, me, me. Why not ask more questions, and listen intently? Let us not minimize “their” experience with one of our own. When Jesus intentionally chose not to travel with his friends to eat, He knew in advance that the woman He was going to ask for a drink would be astonished, then changed by the personal revelation He would impart. “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?…the conversation included His knowing of her hearts condition. “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe Me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” He told the woman of her future adoration of the Father. His spoken word satisfied her thirst for truth. She became a mighty force, a great blessing to others! “The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the One speaking to you—I am He. Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” John chapter 4 The Holy Spirit dwells within each believer and Jesus told us “we shall do greater works than these” A great work is to use words to lift others up to their fullest potential ‘in Christ’. “Are you listening to what the Spirit is saying?” In the NIV Bible we are exhorted to “LISTEN” 412 times. We are also asked by God to examine ourselves, to invite the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in us that does not please God. Lord “Does the content of my mind and heart please you?” Does my thought life reflect a smile or a scowl? Are you baffled by doors that have been closed to you? Do people seek to be around you? Are you a light? Has your spirit ever been convicted as to whether your complaining pleases God? Do you ever stop to consider IF your grumbling about the traffic, government, or the times pleases God?
Does our whining cause people to stop and want to listen? Do we simply voice whatever runs through our mind without the filter of considering God’s purpose? Do we stubbornly resist changing our pattern of thinking and speaking? Why? Are our thoughts superior to God’s? While observing God’s beloved people, are we judging them by asking “Why would anybody say that, or do that?” Jesus hears every thought, and we will be judged by every word we speak. Only God knows the motives of man’s heart and we all fall short and need His grace. Ask “Am I easily irritated by perpetually optimistic people? Does my level of contentment depend on who wins the game, the race, the election? Do I grumble when plans change? Do I automatically issue mercy? Because we have received much mercy, it should flow from us abundantly. Do I seek opportunities to encourage? Do I look for what is GOOD in others, my family or in my church and speak it? Am I quick to inject a compliment or a complaint? Am I inclined to defend my ways, thoughts, actions, opinions when others voice a difference? Wisdom allows us to discern and lets us know when to hold our tongue and when to speak. First we must listen with both ears and an open mind. Am I quick to point out the good, the better way when in the midst of chaos? Do I admit that I miss the moment in front of me while reminiscing about the way it used to be? “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.” Mark 7:20 For our heavenly Father is fully aware of our secret criticisms. Inside every Christian, the Holy Spirit abides, and He is there to help us be purified of all that defiles us. Can you agree that sarcastic humor is just as wicked, or as sinful as profanity or murder? It is foolishness to deceive ourselves… and pride fully deny… that a critical spirit is not of God. Lord, in the name of Jesus, help us heed Your calling for our hearts to be transformed as we put on the mind of Christ. Wash our minds and uproot the deep pockets of judgment that reside in our hearts. Give us eyes to see what You see in others. A living hope, a holy restoration and the ongoing sanctification through the completed work of our Lord Jesus. Help us to look and find the good in every situation, in each encounter You set before us. Help us to control our tongues and speak words that will edify and encourage those You place in our path. “Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.” Psalm 101:5 To the glory of God, and for His good purpose, as we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is vitally important that we become a love covering for other believers who speak inappropriately. 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because LOVE covers a multitude of sins” This truth instructs us to recognize that if we gossip about a wrong choice, or a worldly way in another, we are exposing faults and uncovering them. When we tear down instead of lift up, we are choosing to sin against God’s will that we love one another, forgive one another, and issue grace to one another…just as He loves, forgives and issues grace and mercy to us….daily. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2 A dysfunctional Christian justifies his complaining, sarcastic humor, negativity and criticisms. Jesus taught that there is no middle ground between the kingdom of heaven and the world we live in. “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 Our judgments’ produce misery and the chronic critic reaps what he sows. “Yet I will show you a more excellent way” 1 Corinthians 12:31 The polar opposite of a life spent in judgment, criticism, sarcasm and bitterness is a life filled with complete joy and contentment. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 The NEW creation, is NOT a negative person, but a positive, joy filled, peaceful person who identifies with the freedom of Christ Paul had while in prison. We are either praising God in all circumstances, or we are whining and complaining! To live “in Me” as I am “in you” is to live in gratitude and contentment. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the WILL of GOD in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Choose to think about whatever is noble, noteworthy or good in every situation, everyday. Enjoy the thoughts that occupy your mind. Choose thoughts to think and words to say as if you were talking to God. Wisdom calls us to honor our Father, Mother and all relationships in this way. Intentionally Choose to draw people to the Love, the Light and the Joy that lives inside you. Choose to rehearse or filter every thought before it exits your lips. Choose Wisdom words to inspire, uplift, encourage and transform. Choose words that cause the hearing face to light up. Does not Wisdom call out? With ears to hear, our spiritual understanding deepens. Wisdom cries out to mankind “I speak of noble things and what my lips say are common sense! All the words of my mouth are righteous, not one syllable is perverse! None of what I say is deceptive, all ye who are perceptive must cease to be foolish!” Accept My instruction over the lust for silver. Seek the knowledge of God instead of gold. I, Wisdom share a home with shrewdness, together our sharp knowledge is full of discretion. Let Wisdom pierce your heart for the fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Wisdom hates arrogant pride, evil conduct and lewd lips that spew cantankerous words. Therefore, accept the competent good advice of Wisdom. “It is by Me that kings reign and rulers enact just law; by Me princes lead, as do nobles and all righteous judges. With Me are riches and honor, lasting wealth that is unattainable without Me. The Lord made Me at the beginning of His creation, before His words of long ago, I was formed before ancient times, from the beginning, before the earth began. I was born when there were no watery depths and no springs filled with water. I was delivered before the mountains and hills were established, before He made the land, the fields or the first soil on earth. I was there when He established the heavens, when He laid out the horizon of the surface of the ocean, when He placed the skies above, when the fountains of the ocean gushed out, when He set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate His command, when He laid out the foundations of the earth. I was a skilled craftsman beside Him. I was His delight every day, always rejoicing before Him. I was rejoicing in His inhabited world, delighting in the human race.” Proverbs 8:22-31
Choose words that lead to eternal smiles. We cannot accomplish fasting on negative, pessimistic thinking and broadcasting without our indwelt Holy Helper. Lord help us hold our tongue. Help us listen with genuine interest and not just wait for a pause just so we can share our experiences. Help us intentionally choose words that will uplift, acknowledge, and encourage. Help us glorify Your plan for the world as we speak Kingdom language. Forgive us for any secretly held thoughts of criticism, judgment, malice or unforgiveness. Amen —- “The Forty-Day Word Fast” by Tim Cameron