Gracious Speech

Colossians 4:6   (KJV)   Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Colossians 4.6 - Gracious SpeechGracious speech and appropriate response go together. Pleasant words, especially in giving a response don’t always equate to flattery. It doesn’t always mean pleasing people and displeasing God. This is something we value as God’s people.

We don’t find the need to heartlessly and proudly cut people down. We don’t intend to shine our lights more brightly by extinguishing others. We don’t find a need for that. Our promotion comes from the Lord. We have much grace to spare. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our hearts are filled with God. It’s natural for our words to be godly, pleasant, and pure.

Our words draw people in—that’s way much more attractive than words that offends and push people away. Pushing others away is one of the last things we want to do. We understand that there are people who won’t be pleased with anything we say no matter what we say and how we say them. We’re not bound by their reactions; we’re not in control of that. However they respond, we choose to always speak truthfully, in love, as wise as those given the mind of Christ, as gentle as doves, as bold as a lion. We can’t control them and we don’t intend to; we love them and honor their freedom more than they know. They also can’t control us; we don’t let them; we love and honor Him most. And we thank Him for the opportunity of demonstrating our love for Him and others through our speech.

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New Hearts

Matthew 15:18   (KJV)   18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matters of the heart matters more than the physical. They affect us in more significant and more crucial ways.

The words we honestly speak spring from deep within us. Depending on the condition of our hearts, the kinds of words coming out reflect them. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matthew 15.18 - New HeartsThat’s why although we hear it often, it’s not always wise to say “Just listen to your heart,” or “Just follow your heart.” Unregenerate hearts from unsaved world often come up with very wrong advice.

We praise God for changing our hearts. Instead of hearts of stone—hard hearts unwilling to listen to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, He gave us hearts of flesh—soft hearts—longingly, lovingly hungering, expectant of, and pursuing Him, His Kingdom, His Word, and His will. We’re more concerned about these hearts of ours and the issues flowing from them compared to the physical stuff we stuff our physical bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong; we don’t deny the importance of our physical bodies and the honor our Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We are the temples of the precious Holy Spirit. We recognize and realize the importance of good diet and exercise. Over-eating is still something to avoid, although I admit, I need more discipline in that. Gluttony may be a more convicting term than over-eating.

We can desecrate this temple. But what defiles this temple are not the kinds of food we eat but the kinds of words coming out of our lips; the kinds of thoughts we think with our brains, and the kinds of actions we engage in with our bodies. Immorality—these kinds of acts of our bodies defile us. But all these ultimately spring from deep within us. We take care of  our hearts; everything else flows from there. Our hearts belong to Him; that’s the big difference.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

Close and Clean

James 4:8   (KJV)   8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Our Lord’s gracious invitation is always extended to us. The Father tenderly draws us through His gentle Spirit, and we willingly and gratefully come. As we do, we’re wonderfully transformed into His image; we’re changed from glory to glory. Changes james-4-8-close-and-cleanhappen; we walk the straight paths of righteousness, holiness and purity. We delight in clean living—in and out. Our minds and hearts are set: we choose God over the world, over others, over ourselves, over anyone or anything else.

He is our continuous pursuit. We want to know Him ever-increasingly more. We want to be as close to Him as possible. The closer we are to Him, the clearer we see Him, the more we know Him, the more we become like Him. Our faith-our dependence on Him, our relationship with the Lord is proven genuine even through the hardest of tests, trials, and situations. It’s not a cheap claim and confession; instead, it’s clearly evidenced in our lives.

All for God, and God for all—totally and absolutely—all in, all out, all the way. The cross before us, the world behind us, though none go with us, we are committed: we follow Jesus, ever closer. Our eyes are set on Him; our path is clear. Nothing can stop us. We’re going all the way—to the upward call of our Lord. Suffer, we may; it will be way more than worth it all. Surrender to Him, we do. We walk without the unneeded weights of our sin baggage. Jesus is seen increasingly more in us; we look for and see God’s image in others. We treat everyone with love and respect. That’s why we don’t discriminate; that’s why our lives are testaments of God’s blessing; our lips are fountains of sweet blessings as well. Our minds, our hearts, our works—all them are aligned toward one end: the glory of our beloved God and Savior.