We had dinner last night with a lovely couple & the husband said something profound that is continuing to echo in my thoughts today: We are not all called to talk, in terms of public speaking, but we are all called to listen.
There are times, no doubt, when we need to speak up & be advocates for love and justice. Additionally, some of us have the gift of gab & our personality lends itself to be a “talker.” But let us never minimize the importance of listening – not only with our ears or intellect (so that we can interject a witty comment or some helpful wisdom), but also with our heart, so that we can be attentive with compassion, tender affection and gentle endurance.
In Mark 4:9, Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Do you remember having those recess arguments in elementary school when you’d defiantly exclaim, “Prove it!!!”?It seems like we humans have a passion for certainty & evidence helps to prove certainty.
So I find it interesting that James 2:18 says, “ . . . , You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”When I read this verse, it provokes me to look at my actions more than what I say. It’s easy to say that I believe in Jesus & I believe in the Bible. But the real evidence of what I believe is demonstrated by what I do. So let’s endeavor, with God’s Help, to be doers of God’s Word & not merely people who hear or talk a big game. Proof of our faith is in doing & not just speaking 🙂
“Oooooos!”I wish I had a dollar for every time I said something I wish I could’ve retracted. And then on the other side, there are also many times I wish I would’ve said something but didn’t. Too much talking or too little talking, each have their own shortfalls. So having discretion & wisdom with our words is massively helpful & constructive!
Here are a few ideas that could be helpful with minding the mouth:
Affirmation – being encouraging is very helpful!
Graceful truth – important investments that help us grow!
Saying good – words that speak life rather than death express genuine love!
My dad was always good with strangers, regardless of how they looked or their social abilities. Maybe it helped that he was comfortable in his skin & had his own drumbeat, so I never saw him get jittery around anyone. On the other hand, I don’t think I inherited my dad’s amiability.
I’m trying to get better with that because I’ve felt the Holy Spirit challenging me with this. It’s an interesting journey, when I’m more friendly with strangers. Not only do I learn new things, but I’m beginning to appreciate the unique perspective everyone has about life. I’m also enjoying that being friendly can open the door to pray for people, either on my own or with the person. Maybe there’s not as much stranger danger as I had once believed 🙂
Talk is cheap & words are a dime a dozen. I was thinking of this in relation to various sermons I’ve preached & blogs I’ve written. It’s not as difficult to speak as it is to live out the words we speak. We all have moments when we feel strong & full of faith. We also have moments when we feel frail, fearful & less than full of faith. It’s in these less than powerful moments when our substance gets tested & we come face to face with our humanity. Maybe this is one of the reasons I so deeply love the words of John the Baptist, “Jesus must increase & I must decrease”.
I want Jesus to live big through me & I want the Holy Spirit to empower not only my words but more importantly my actions, attitudes & behaviors. Let’s be sure to allow the Holy Spirit to give us strength, courage & love for Jesus to live big throughout each day!
I want to be sure to mention that today is the National Day of Prayer & I hope that we don’t stop with one day 🙂 Our nation needs sustained & daily prayer so let’s keep praying for our nation tomorrow, the next and work this habit into our daily routines 🙂
With that shameless plug to pray, here’s something really fun! I recently had the great honor to be with Joni Lamb on her Table Talk program! I had such a great time!
I rarely ever do this, but here’s a video link so you can join this helpful and engaging discussion!
Today, I was driving and having a God chat. We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance. Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time. To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available. In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.
We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities. But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching. God talk is a two-way street 🙂