Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Imparting Grace: Learning to Speak Words of Life

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


One day I committed a pointless act. Renee and I have a home office. In it we each have our computers, desks, and chairs. Years ago, we had a cat and I don't know why but our cat loved my chair. Although there are two chairs in the office, she loved and always sat in mine. I wouldn't have cared except that I often wore a dark suit to work. As I walked into our office one day, there was our cat Cuddles sitting in my chair. I picked her up nicely and put her on the floor. I then sat down in my chair only to realize a short time later, that my suit was covered with cat hair. Feeling upset, I looked at the cat and firmly said, "Cuddles, I don't want you sitting in my chair." I lectured her for about 30 seconds and a short time later I began to laugh thinking, "You are lecturing a cat." I pictured myself in one of those printed cartoons when someone is talking to their cat and all the cat hears is "blah, blah, blah..." My talk with my cat was pointless. It made me feel better for a moment but it was still pointless. It reminds me of people trying to communicate in ineffective ways that turn out to be pointless such as yelling and screaming at each other. They may as well be saying, "blah, blah, blah..."

Too often we participate in various kinds of pointless communication.  That would happen much less if we would consider our tongue to be one of the greatest God-given tools we have. He has given us our tongue as a tool to skillfully learn how to use. We are to learn how to communicate blessing to others which will at the same time contribute to our success. Even correction can be spoken skillfully and in a way that can bless if we let the Holy Spirit teach us how. Proverbs 15:23 (NLT) says, "Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!"

As we learned yesterday, the Bible tells us that ",,,no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." We in ourselves cannot tame our tongue. It only comes under control with the help of the Holy Spirit. The truth and revelation of Prov 18:21 is this, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." We love life and blessing but knowing it can impart death and destruction should help instill a reverential fear of God on how important the words we speak are and how powerfully they affect our lives good or bad!  They can be used skillfully to contribute to the wellbeing of others, or they can tear down the lives of others and ourselves.

We have to realize that our tongue spills over with whatever is in our hearts. We are all too unaware of all that is in our hearts. How do we find out what's in there? We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear our words. Then we just listen to what spills from our mouthespecially under pressure or in anger. The tongue is an extension of our thought life. In Mat 12:34 Jesus said, "...For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Out of discipline, the tongue can be forced or made to say proper things at the proper time, but when you are by yourself or around those you feel most comfortable with and let our guard down, that is when your tongue simply reflects what's in your heart and thought life. Prov 12:6 "The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them."

God wants us to succeed in how we communicate. For this reason, He instructs in Eph 4:29 saying, "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 impart grace to those who listen." Eph 5:4 says, "Dirty stories, profane conversation, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God's goodness, and be thankful."

What does it mean, "...that it may impart grace to those who listen?"  Grace is the supernatural help we get from God in all areas of life. It's the combination of God's mercy, His compassion, instruction from His Word, and His direct help in our life. When you do something wrong, the devil will try to accuse and condemn you in your thoughts. God will correct you showing you what is wrong, but God is interested in helping you change to become more like Him. He is not condemning you. Therefore, He'll show you what is wrong through His Word, but He'll also offer mercy, forgiveness, and help through His Holy Spirit so that you can get things right. Simply put, He is out to help you.  When someone wrongs you, is that your attitude? Are you ready to rip into them or can you focus on the solution and how to avoid the problem and conflict going forward? Are you as patient with others as God is with you? Have you asked God for forgiveness a dozen times but are furious with someone after they make the same mistake twice?  God imparts grace to you and He wants you to use words to impart grace to others "...that it may impart grace to those who listen."

The imparting of grace is a supernatural thing. If we are to impart grace, then that means that God is going to be involved in it. He is the one that is going to help us put away the fleshly impulses that come with being offended. It means He is going to help us see things from a different perspective - His perspective. That is where the grace will come from - His perspective in us! Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

Imagine that you feel like blasting a person that has offended you in some way. Instead God speaks to your heart and says, "Put your thoughts and words on pause. Don't slam dunk them because that's how the devil does business. Instead think for a minute. I have forgiven you. I have had mercy on you. You've blown it just like this person you're mad at. I've looked past your sins and continued to love you. Can you do it for them? Can you settle down and let me help you? Can you find kind words to speak truth, kindness, mercy, and help to them? Will you impart grace to them?"
Can you do this on your own? Usually not. In yourself you might want to lash out. The thoughts are in your mind fighting to make their way out your mouth. But, that isn't God's way. He wants you to be a vessel of His grace. It isn't about suppressing feelings of anger, or hurt, or disappointment. It's about God helping you see things in such a way, that you can have mercy knowing He's had mercy on you, forgive knowing He's forgiven you, and then manifesting compassion and kindness as God's grace is imparted through you!

God's grace is available to you whenever you need it! He says it's available. It's received by faith. 2 Cor 9:8 says, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." God wants it to abound in your life and through you! You have to pause, exercise your faith, and pull on His grace in difficult times. Then, over time, you will become supernaturally skillful drawing on Him for words that impart life and grace, blessing others and yourself. As today's Fresh Manna verse says, "...but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Prov 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt

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