Grace For The Journey
Today I’m presenting the final installment of a three-part message on “Thanks-living.” We’ve looked at what we think and what we do – or, more accurately, why we do what we do. Today I want us to see that thanksgiving also involves what we say.
There is power in what we say
And every word we sow
Into the lives of others
Results in some kind
Of harvest being left behind.
As with the previous two blogs, I’m only going to deal with one verse of Scripture. I encourage you to find others that will strengthen your Thanks-living for God’s glory and for the good of others.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29, “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.”
Experience has taught me that this command is much easier to say than to actually do. Perhaps it is the same for you. Unwholesome talk seems to roll so easily off the tongue and leave a wasteland of hurting hearts in its wake. We say things without thinking that we ought not to say and prove that the old childhood saying – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” – is so very wrong.
To be sure, sticks and stones may break some bones but those wounds eventually heal. However, the harsh, unwholesome speech we direct at others can and often does scar for a lifetime. Is there anyone reading these words who does not know this truth by way of personal experience? We have all been scarred and we have all scarred others. When I was involved in athletics, I saw young people driven out of a life of sports because of insensitive coaches who could not control their tongues.
But this is not what God desires of us!
Thanks-living is marked by language
That builds others up
And encourages others.
Someone has called it being a “good-finder” (rather than a fault-finder) and broadcasting the good we see in others. One of my best friends is quite gifted in this area. It is as if God has given him a mission to build others up according to their needs. He does this with me week by week by way of messaging or when we are together, and I hear him doing it with others he comes in contact with as well.
The Greek word for “encourage” literally means “to give heart.” Those who are marked by Thanks-living look for every opportunity to speak words of life into others and strengthen their hearts.
What they say
Is intended to
Help the hurting,
Bless the broken,
Strengthen the weak,
Lift up the downcast
And always to
Encourage their brothers and sisters
To continue to run the good race.
The only people who can lift others up are those who are secure in themselves. Insecure people tend to put others down, for fear that the spotlight may not shine their way. Some Christians have become so comfortable with this practice that they even weave their discouragement into their prayers, saying things such as “Oh, bless his (or her) heart” . . . right before lowering the boom of criticism or gossip.
As children of the Most High God,
We have so much to be thankful for
. . . And one of the greatest blessings
Is that God has called
And equipped us
I am often asked about the best techniques for evangelism; I reply that they are as many and as varied as the people who share the Gospel. But I always add that the way we live our lives will either make the Gospel attractive or unattractive to those around us. The best evangelists in the world are those whose lives are marked by Thanks-living through what they THINK . . . DO . . . and SAY.
And please remember this: Thanks-living shines the brightest light on the One to whom we should offer joyful thanks. That is a life worth living!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”