JANUARY 4

Taming the Dragon

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11

It can lie. It can gossip. It can slander. It can also murmur and complain. It can manipulate and flatter. It can tear down. It can paint itself in nice words, even while cutting someone to ribbons.

My friend Joe Stowell calls it "the dragon in our dentures." Our tongue. It can truly be deadly.

On the other hand, when that "dragon" is under the power of the Holy Spirit, when we are daily training it to be submitted to Christ's control and available for His use and purposes, He can transform it into an instrument that delivers encouragement.

I remember being in church one Sunday morning when I spotted a prominent local oncologist walking by. I'd been hearing about some special things he'd been doing with his cancer patients—some unique ways he was allowing God to minister through him in the course of practicing his profession. So I caught his attention and said, "Hey, I just wanted you to know I really appreciate what you're doing. Do you realize what an incredible minister for Christ you are? You're making quite a difference in our community."

It was like I'd hit him with a stun gun. A dazed expression flashed across his face. And after a moment's pause, he looked at me and said, "Really?" I said, almost laughing now, "Well, yeah. The things I've been hearing about the work you do are really inspiring. We could use a lot more Christ followers like you."

He shook my hand and smiled. "You don't know how much I needed to hear that this morning. Thank you."

I was reminded again how often people just need a nod of encouragement in their journey, no matter how confident he or she may appear to be. 

Shared a good word with someone lately?

DISCUSS

Think about some things you've been noticing in others that are really worth praising. Slay the dragon and encourage them.

PRAY

Ask God to make you and your words build up, not tear down.  

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