How Should You Respond? Same Way You Decide What to Wear
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.
- 2017 Mar 01
Words are powerful. As Christians, so much of our faith is built on words: God spoke the world into existence, Jesus is the Word of God, we use words to preach the Gospel.
We likely know how important words--and choosing the right ones--are to living our lives as followers of Christ, but oftentimes we fail to take a step back and evaluate what words and thoughts we are storing up in our hearts.
After all, the Bible says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45).
In a post titled “How to be Intentional about Building Our Best Word-Robe” on Ann Voskamp’s blog, Karen Ehman compares our store of words to our closets.
“Thoughts that go into our heart closets are very much like these clothes; sometimes carefully chosen and sorted. Other times they’re rumpled and dirty hand-me-downs that we toss haphazardly into the corner,” she writes.
“In fact, we make additions to our heart closets way more often than we do our real closet.”
It’s so easy to form opinions about people from little pieces of information we get: a rumor going around, a comment on Facebook. What we think about someone will eventually come out and our true thoughts and feelings will be revealed. This is why it is so important to be feeding ourselves the truthful words rather than lies and rumors.
This also applies to how we think about ourselves. If we constantly deposit thoughts in our minds that we are inadequate, untalented, and unable to be used by God, this will manifest itself in what we actually say and how we act.
Ehman gives the example of Moses.
God chose Moses to lead His people Israel out of the oppression they were under in Egypt. But despite having witnessed miraculous signs by God (the burning bush, his staff being turned into a snake, his hand afflicted with leprosy and then healed), Moses gave voice to words of self-doubt--words he likely had been rehearsing in his mind for some time.
“Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Moses’ “word-robe” was dominated by the label “poor speaker,” and even when God revealed his authority and power, Moses remained skeptical.
As Christians, we are told that God redeems our weaknesses, failures, and inadequacies.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Christ loved us enough to die for our sins and invite us to be heirs with Him of God’s Kingdom.
The infinite value He places on our lives--and the lives of all people--should cause us to rethink our inner dialogues, which in turn will shape the words we speak out loud.
“The question is, is it a truthful thought you are thinking before you speak?” asks Ehman.
“What good is it to think before you speak if your thoughts are shaped by self-deprecating lies or inaccurate views of God’s power?
Here is what is good and helpful: We must think truth before speaking. Even better, we must think truth about God.”
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 1, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com