Monday, July 22, 2019

What Did You Say?

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  Ephesians 4:17-19

Every day the gap is getting wider between what the world sees as normal and what God’s truth is.  As we grow in our relationship with God, things that used to not bother us, now makes us uncomfortable.  We see things in a different light as our hearts and lives are transformed. This is a process of finding a new normal.  What once was normal and acceptable for us has changed.  We now look to the spirit of God within us to define what is acceptable and good for our lives.
But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.v.20-24  
The only way we can lay aside our old self is through the grace of God at work inside us.  Grace is the power to do what is pleasing in God’s sight.  Grace is what God gives us to bring the change we need and desire - the power to do what is pleasing to Him.  It is laying off the old behaviors, being made new in Him, and putting on the new self we have in Him.  
When we do this, there will be evidence in our lives that something has changed.  We will have a new, altogether different, nature.  We will still struggle and fail, but there should be an obvious difference in our lives!  
One difference that should be obvious is in the way we talk.  A Christian speaks differently than a person who is not concerned with pleasing God or loving others.  When we have Christ in our hearts, love for others naturally follows.  Kindness, gentleness, and goodness are all part of it.  We have a new responsibility to represent Christ and our words are a big part of that responsibility.  
Words are powerful – More harm has been done by the tongue than by the bottle, pill, or gun.  It is the sin of all ages of people.  Supervising our words is essential, and we desperately need the help of God to know: when to speak, what to speak, how to speak and to whom we are to speak. James calls us out on controlling our tongues - With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  James 3:9-10
The tongue has great potential for good or evil.  God did not give us tongues so that we could hurt others with it. He intends for us to use our tongues to build up and bless and to spread the good news to the rest of the world. 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

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