“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
The Holiness Movement is far from dead.
We, as Salvationists, have within our veins more than the figurative colors of red, yellow, blue…we have the image of Christ within our hearts. Not to say that other Christ-followers do not, or that we are better than anyone else, but this message, this pondering is primarily for Salvationists in our world today.
We face difficulties in our communities and in our culture which makes it hard to be truly set apart for God. The lure of many things comes knocking at our doors and begs us to participate, to comprise, to ignore this calling. Is it possible to look so much like the culture that our effectiveness in mission is compromised? Is there a line that begs and pleads alluringly to be crossed? What of our attitudes, our hearts, and our speech? Do these go hand in hand with our lifestyles, with our mission?
There isn’t a time clock that we punch when we accept this holy mission of Christ’s. We are either all in or not at all. We don’t wear the uniform to the corps but once it’s off at home we become someone else, with a different set of life rules. We are beckoned to “go into all the world…” We are asked to “take up our crosses” and follow Christ. If we are to imitate Him in every way (Ephesians 5:1), then this includes what we say.
I can be cynical at times (That’s not a shock to some of you).
I always joke that I have the spiritual gift of sarcasm, but sometimes that sarcasm takes a very harmful turn. My speech isn’t always as it should be. Words can become barbs that are razor sharp that can cut to the heart of people faster than any blade could ever penetrate. I know this of myself. I make no excuse of this. Does that mean I wish to continue to the live my life in a verbal rut? Of course not!
Do you have the deep desire to continue to grow in Christ?
Is there, within your heart, the Spirit’s pleading to become more than you are right now?
Are we settling for the verbal ruts, the bad habits, the inexcusable behavior? Do we make excuses and/or rationalize these away in order to make them more palatable and accepted? I can tell you truthfully that you will never really know peace within your heart as long as you continue to reside where the Holy Spirit does not want you to reside – in regards to ungodly habits and behaviors that are contrary to your covenant or promise to Him.
Like our tithe, like our commitments to God – if we continue to only give Him a portion, we will never be truly satisfied living within His will. What is God’s will for us? Read Micah 6:8 again “He has shown you, oh man what is good and what the Lord requires from you. To live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Watch Your Mouth!
Be mindful of your mission field.
Be aware of how ungodly speech corrupts your heart and those around you.
What kind of speech am I talking about? Not just profanity and course language, but (and more importantly) unkind words towards others, Gossip of any kind, malicious-hate fueled speech. Words that do not build up but instead destroy. Soldiers of this Army; more importantly Soldiers of God do not act this way…should not act this way! Watch your mouth…it can build souls and help them become more Christ-like, or it can burn the heart and fuel it into hatred towards God…that is how helpful or harmful your words can be.
Questions to Ponder Today:
How can I change my patterns of speech?
Do I recognize those moments when my words become barbs and are used as weapons?
What is the Holy Spirit instructing me to do within my actions and my use of speech?
What kinds of changes do I need to make right now?
Have I settled for where I am right now or am I willing to grow through the direction of the Holy Spirit?
Something more for our Army to ponder on today.
To God be the glory!