Hey friends! Welcome back to a more regular Friday post. Last week was so crazy I actually uploaded the photo story from a car (I was a passenger, don’t worry!). That craziness is actually what is inspiring this post. When life is busy instead of full (read all about that here), we start to fall apart a bit right? Stress and exhaustion take a toll.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that our character (and therefore our witness) is made up of lots of small moments. We can say that we love Jesus. We can wear t-shirts with bible verses or buy a WWJD bracelet. We can share our testimony or write a blog. We can say it all we want. However, that’s not how people recognize a Jesus follower. I think our every day, moment-by-moment actions say a whole lot more about our relationship with Jesus.
This seems so simple right? Of course we are changed if Jesus has entered our lives. Of course our day-to-day actions matter. I’m just not sure I’ve ever realized that simply saying I’m one thing doesn’t make it true. Let me explain what I mean in more detail.
I’ve prided myself on being positive my whole life. I tend to be a glass full kind of gal and I like that. I like being nice and kind and encouraging. I want to make others feel welcomed, loved, and built up. I can’t stand the idea of hurting others or discouraging them with careless words.
Somewhere along the way of this semester, I’ve started to crack along the seams. So many outside pressures have an effect. I looked around recently and saw things I didn’t recognize. I saw a complaining spirit. I saw a whole lot of negativity. I saw discontentment. I didn’t see encouragement. I didn’t see myself listening intently to others. I didn’t see a whole lot of intentional love.
I don’t mean to imply that I was perfect in these areas before this fall. Far from that! However, I have been very purposeful in the past to be aware of my actions and outputs. We all struggle with discontentment and negativity from time to time particularly in certain seasons. However, I so want my life to show an outpouring of Jesus. He isn’t dark. He doesn’t carelessly use words.
James 3:2-5 says, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
The tongue is like a ships rudder, it reveals where you’re pointing. Or rather, our speech reveals the condition of our hearts. When we are not thankful, it comes out in our speech. When we are not content, our mouths tell others. When we aren’t praising God in the moment-by-moment, others hear it.
Speech seems like a strange spiritual discipline. But it most definitely is a discipline. As James mentions, the person who perfectly controls their words is perfect. It’s so hard to stop what flows out of our mouths.
So, my goal for the upcoming weeks is to focus on what God is doing and has done. I’m seeking after this thankfulness thing. Y’all know I love goals and challenges. So, if you’ll join me, I’m making the month of November a month of thanksgiving (leading up to Thanksgiving. I know I’m cheesy). Let’s work towards this together ok?