Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Than Words

"Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
-- James 3:3-5

How many times do we say things we don't really mean and think nothing of it? If anyone comments, or if we have a little twinge of Spirit-conscience, we immediately follow up with "just kidding"!

As children we used to say "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me". Apparently, James disagrees.

As small a member as the tongue is; as seemingly unimportant as our idle words are, they set the course of our lives, our health, our finances, our future and the future of our children.

The Message translation puts it this way:

"If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life... A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!"
-- James 3:2&5

The faith message is a hard one to hear. It's far easier to be a Christian who believes that God is in control--that everything is according to His will--instead of accepting responsibility for our circumstances.

Ultimately, God is in control. But, we aren't puppets without a will of our own. If God was truly in control, do you think we would have starving babies? Would we have rape and murder? Would there be sin?

The fact is, God gave dominion -- or control -- over to man in the Garden of Eden. Then man turned around and gave the enemy entrance into our world, and the ability to control circumstances if we allow it -- we still have free will and can choose who we follow. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) These things aren't from God.

Christians tend to look at salvation from a single perspective. We see it as eternal salvation. We know where we are going when our body stops functioning. Jesus paid the price for our sins giving us eternal life.

This is important. In fact, it is the most important aspect of salvation. Our lives on earth are short. Eternity is, well, forever. Most of us feel like we can put up with anything temporarily. Right?

But, check this out. Look at the first words of Jesus recorded in the gospel of Luke:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..."
-- Luke 4:18

What would be gospel, or good news for the poor? You don't have to be poor anymore! When Jesus died on the cross, he provided salvation for the 3-fold curse of the law: sickness and disease, poverty, and spiritual death or separation from God.

When the scriptures were translated into English, there were a variety of words translated as "salvation" that have a broader meaning than spiritual salvation. The Greek word σωτηρία or soteria, means deliverance from temporal evils, health, salvation, save, saving. Temporal evils are the trials, problems, and result of the curse (separation from God) that we experience while living here on earth.

The good news of the gospel is we don't have to be sick or poor. We have been redeemed from that too! Now, the thing is, we are in a battle that is NOT a physical battle.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
-- Ephesians 6:12

The only way to fight spiritual wickedness is with spiritual things. Putting on the whole armor of God. One of the weapons we are told to use is the Sword.

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
-- Ephesians 6:17

The sword is the Word of God. So, here we come back full circle. The way to win the battle is with words. We need to replace our words with the Word of God in our lives.

Even Jesus, our example, our Savior, our King, spoke God's words instead of his own. When he was tempted, he told the enemy "It is written..." He said he only did what he saw the Father do (John 5:19) and only spoke the Father's words (John 17:8).

We fail when we say God's words on Sunday, but the rest of the week we say our own words (doubt, fear, unbelief). We mix our words. Let's go back to James 3.

"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."
-- James 3:10-12

Whenever you mix two things together, you will be left with something that is no longer pure. Just a little bit of poison in a glass of pure water will kill you! If you mix your words, you'll get the lower form -- every time!

Be careful of those idle words, that sarcasm that slips out of your mouth so easily... they may not seem important, but they are setting the course of your life. Are they taking you where you want to go?

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