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An Invitation To Live Loved Today - Encouragement for Today - December 10, 2021

  • 2021 Dec 10

Wendy BlightDecember 10, 2021

An Invitation To Live Loved Today
WENDY BLIGHT 

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“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

A few years ago at a neighborhood gathering, I overheard a Bible study leader speaking and acting inappropriately. What I heard left me grieved and frustrated — and, honestly, angry.

I called it “righteous anger.” Ever experienced it? That justifiable anger that rises up when you know someone is not speaking or acting the way God calls us to as believers. That anger Jesus expressed when He walked into the temple and found the moneychangers. (John 2:14-16)

Yes, righteous anger can be a good thing. But it’s what we do with that anger that matters.

Have you ever had a moment where you know you shouldn’t say what you are about to say, but you say it anyway? This was one of those moments for me.

Rather than going directly to the leader and speaking truth in love, I shared my feelings with a few other leaders. Was I gossiping? At the time, I didn’t think so. I justified my words because the leader I was angry with had engaged in behavior that reflected badly on our leadership and Jesus.

The Lord, on the other hand, had something else to say about my anger. The next morning, God convicted my heart through my pastor’s sermon on idle gossip and how our words matter.

The message penetrated like a double-edged sword.

I, too, was a Bible study leader. And I, too, disobeyed God’s Word when I spoke judgmental, unkind words behind my fellow leader’s back.

Righteous anger? Not quite, God said.

Idle gossip? Sadly, yes.

In the quietness of that moment, I felt convicted about the words I had spoken. Not guilt. Not shame. But conviction.

The distinction between conviction and condemnation is significant. Guilt and shame are self-focused, unproductive emotions that leave us stagnant, in a bad place with God and others. Conviction is God-focused and productive. It’s spurred by the Holy Spirit to point out our sin, speak truth into our hearts and empower us to change so we live in a way that’s pleasing to Him.

That day in worship, God reminded me of our key verse, Ephesians 4:29 — a verse that directs us to speak only what is helpful for building others up.

We all have weaknesses. We all experience temptations to act in ways that dishonor God. What matters when we find ourselves in these situations is our ability to recognize those weaknesses and temptations. Because if we can’t recognize them, we certainly can’t address them.

The good news for us as daughters of the one true God is that we’ve been “born again” in Christ. This change doesn’t simply give us a fresh start or a new beginning. It's a rebirth. We receive a new nature, a new heart and a new name.

It’s not an instant transformation. The more we expose our hearts to God's love and His Word, the more He transforms our hearts and renews our minds. More and more, His love influences the choices we make. We begin to think and act differently because of God’s love that lives and breathes in us. We begin to live loved.

Our inward change eventually translates into outward changes as we speak and behave in completely new ways. Then we’re enabled to love others, even in the hard moments, and glorify God.

I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, who moved me to act on my conviction. I confessed and apologized to the leaders with whom I gossiped. I then went to the leader who behaved badly, and I apologized for not directly coming to her. I then dealt with what happened at the gathering … in love.

Through this, I learned God’s way of handling these difficult situations is much better than ours. Will you join me today in praying to do better together as we commit to live in the fullness of God’s unconditional, lavish love?

Thank You, Father, for convicting my heart. I will give my best efforts to hold my tongue and only speak words that will build others up and benefit those listening. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

If you want to learn more about God’s unconditional, life-transforming love and how to walk boldly, confidently and faithfully in that love, check out Wendy Blight’s 1 John Bible study, 1 John: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love.

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Enter to WIN your very own copy of 1 John: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love by Wendy Blight. To celebrate this book, Wendy’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, December 13, 2021.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

1 John 4:9, 11-12, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him … Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)

God invites us to live loved and to love others with His love through our words and actions. Ask God to remind you of Ephesians 4:29 today. How can you respond differently when someone disappoints or offends you?

© 2021 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106
www.Proverbs31.org



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