Twice a week I go to a deep water exercise class. After several months I’ve begun to see a pattern. There are those who come to work out and there are those who come to tread water and chat. The working out group are getting stronger and hardly miss a class. Some of us are loosing weight and finding that we feel better and enjoy life more. For me, this class has made an amazing difference in just a few short months. It was not easy, especially in the beginning. I had to force myself to go back to class on Thursdays when I was still sore from Tuesdays. But now, after experiencing the benefits for myself, I don’t want to miss a single class!
As I’ve studied James with my Tuesday Ladies we learned that it’s important that we let the word point out areas where we need to grow and then work to make changes in our lives.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22
Just like with the exercise class you can attend church services, perhaps a weekly small group, or even have a daily Bible reading and prayer time. You can listen and read and discuss, but if you don’t do the hard work to put what God reveals to you through his word into action in your own life then you will not develop ‘spiritual muscle’. You won’t display the change that the spirit can produce in your life. You will just be fooling yourself.
I have decided I’m not going to be a water treader or use my time in God’s word strictly as a social occasion. I don’t want to be a spectator I want to be a changed woman! Just like I have experienced powerful changes in my physical body, I want to experience powerful changes in my life that come only from applying what I’ve learned in God’s word.
My husband calls me a wordsmith. And it’s true, for me words hold a great deal of power.
Words can heal, words can wound, words can fight our battles, or bring peace in order to avoid the battle.
I’ve become increasingly aware that I have a tendency at times to use my words to wound. So, I’ve been paying attention to when I wield those words as a sword. When I feel threatened or backed into a corner, or maybe just a bit insecure I tend to pull out my sword of words and fend off the attacker, real or imagined. But, just as the sword in the hand of a warrior of old could do lasting or even fatal damage, my words work this same damage on relationships in my life.
Words also have the power to bring life. For me, those words you speak into my life that build me up are the essence of love.
So, I hold in my mouth the power to build up or tear down. I can blame the one who backed me into a corner of insecurity and say they caused me to come out with sword swinging, but in truth, I am the culprit. I know better. I know that my security should not be found in the words or actions of others but I should rely on my faithful savior to…well, save me! But slowly I’m learning that I have already been saved, I’m just not recognizing it, and that it’s going to be gaining control over my words that allows me to live like I believe this truth. Only when I can quit wounding will I be able to live a life that reflects that saving.
This is a season in the year when many of us spend time with those who know us well enough to choose words that wound. It’s a time of year when we are tempted to do our own wounding. I pray that those of us who have been saved will begin to live like we believe it instead of wielding our words in a vain attempt to save ourselves.
My nephew and his wife have a new baby. Today, he wrote an eloquent post on their family blog about the challenges of balancing life, the changes they find in their thirty-something lives and I heard the unspoken plea, let us get this right!
This feeling never really goes away does it? At every stage we want desperately to get it right! And, we often are focused on the next step ahead as we fight this battle, so much so we miss living in the here and now.
From my perspective, recently retired from the ‘day job’, I completely understand this desire to get it right as we focus on the next stage or step in life. Life becomes a race and we are focused primarily on the end or at least the next milestone. This can be a heavy burden. It’s difficult to do today well when our focus is on tomorrow. Then, as you look back, it’s difficult to realize what you missed by being so forward focused.
I don’t think God ever intended us to rush so much or to focus so completely on what is ahead. I also know that he is not the harsh critic of my life that I am at times. He said, my yoke is easy, my burden is light. That doesn’t sound like a God who beats me up for more, more, more. He also said that we should not worry about tomorrow, he’s already got it handled.
God’s focus is on relationship. His relationship with us, our relationship with him, and our relationships with others. Relationships require we live in the moment. Want to join me as I readjust my focus?
I went out this morning to plant something in my flowerbed and discovered little bulbs popping up out of the ground all over the place. They had grown so much in just a few short years that the ground couldn’t contain them! So, I dug up that one little clump of bulbs and had handfuls of new bulbs just waiting to be planted throughout my flowerbeds. I spread those bulbs around. Next spring, I will have new little purple bulbs popping up all over my flowerbeds. I love seeing this!
This is how God’s economy works. What ever we plant, we will grow in even greater numbers. He has used this principle to spread his word down through the generations. He tells us that what we plant, we will harvest (Galatians 6:7). So, I was thinking, what am I planting each day?
What do I plant in my heart and mind that will multiply and impact my life?
What to I plant in the lives of others knowing that it will multiply? Will I be proud of what I see later?
I really want to see a field of beautiful words, deeds and actions pouring from my life and blessing others. If I want to look out one day and see that field of beauty, then I need to be planting that every single day.