As I've been reading through Proverbs this month I've been struck by the simple, direct wisdom in the words God chose to instruct us. The verses are beautiful in their simplicity, each one a nugget of wisdom applicable to any situation we face. God's Word truly is living and active (Hebrews 4:12)!
I've spent quite a bit of time lately reflecting on words...mine, and the words of others. The gift of speech and the written word were given to us by God. So how are we using it? Sometimes I speak too quickly, like a fool, giving vent to feelings best kept under wraps. I've also been guilty of not speaking up, not righting a wrong.
Further, I've realized that in this world of instant communication on Facebook, texting and email, it's way too easy to give myself a public platform to be miserable. After all, misery loves company...right? It's almost too easy to vent my frustrations and irritations to all of my friends on Facebook. And to have them respond sympathetically somehow makes me feel better. Wouldn't I be better served by laying these irritations at the feet of the One who died so I can overcome? What if I spent all my time "venting" in prayer instead of on the computer?
So, what about using words as a different kind of weapon? Today when I went to the grocery store, I went out of my way to say "hello" and smile at the people I passed, and who served me. I thanked the man who bagged my groceries and complimented him. I chatted with the cashier. I tried to be an encourager in my words and had prayed before we went into the store that God would help me to do just that.
There seems to be a spirit of negativity that hangs over the media and so many other forms of communication today. I feel like God is telling me that my words can be weapons of encouragement. It certainly isn't easy but as I meditate on Philippians 4:8 I realize encouragement starts in my thought life.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV emphasis mine)In Matthew 12:34 Jesus warns that "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (NIV) If my heart is in a negative spot, my words are going to reflect that. If my heart is full of Jesus, my words are going to reflect that as well. I want to be a light, not a downer. I'm challenging myself to stay positive in my thoughts and speech and to truly be an encouragment to others. Since I'm making this a public intention, it will be quite easy to hold me accountable!