Monday, March 28, 2011

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword...

Now I'll admit...this idea has always confused me. It begs certain questions...questions like "if the pen is mightier than the sword, why do actions speak louder than words?"

Think on that for just a second...I'll wait.

I don't think that the pen is mightier than the sword. I think ideas are more important than facts. I suppose you could say I was a romantic, at least as opposed to a realist. When it comes to what I want...I rarely have a specific outcome in mind...I just have priorities.

This has its advantages and disadvantages. Truth, for example, is one of the things I value above almost anything else. I feel like it's important that I know the truth. Having the right perspective means you can make right choices. If your perspective or your facts are wrong, then why bother trying to do the right thing? You're probably going to screw it up no matter how well-meaning you are.

I realize that for many people that may seem a bit harsh, and maybe I am. I'm not known for being soft and delicate. But think about it this way...which is more useful, a pastor who preaches the truth, or an atheist humanitarian? Which would you rather trust your kid to? Intentions may dictate how you react to the person, but ultimately we're going to be judged on not only our intentions, but our beliefs.

That's why the Bible says "believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (Romans 1:9 Acts 16:31)...not "try your hardest and hope it all works out."

What you believe matters. The Truth matters. I think that's why the Word of God is so important. It " living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12) If we know the Truth, then we can share it with others, and we can know that we are doing what is right. The Christian walk isn't about avoiding sin. The Christian walk is about becoming progressively closer to being perfect, as Jesus called us to be. That means that the more we understand God, the more we start imitating Him...and sin isn't the problem anymore. It's surrender to whatever He wants from us.

The greatest thing I can aspire to in this life is giving up...and letting God run everything. God, and everything He asks of us is right. Everything else is wrong, and is sin. That's the idea that will change your life.

Friday, March 4, 2011

On Grace Speech

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you many know how to answer everyone. 

On Wednesday, our young adult small group spent a lot of time working through the meaning of this verse and discussing its implications for our lives. The conclusions we drew were insightful and have been stirring in my spirit ever since. 

My understanding of the word "grace" is receiving something you don't deserve. God the Father showed us the fullest extent of his grace when he turned his back on his son, Jesus Christ, who bore ALL the sins of the world on his shoulders as the life dripped from his beaten body on that rugged cross. Human beings, as his creation, were given the choice to sin or follow our Creator. We chose separation from God rather than communion with him, but in all his mercy, God offered an alternative. Wereceived the gift we never could have earned--total forgiveness and full and eternal life

Having my conversation always be filled with grace starts there--at the cross. I must be constantly connected with that sacrifice, the redemption granted me from that place where my Savior died. If my mind is meditating on the cross, on his grace, my heart will be overflowing with the same. 

Every word I exchange with another should flow from the place of grace--particularly if that person "deserves" nothing other than frustration, anger, disrespect. In those moments when I have been wronged, humiliated, frustrated, exasperated, annoyed, or hurt, I am to season my words with salt--making them delicious to the recipient. The sentences flowing from my lips should not be the same as the world's. Those who don't follow Jesus believe in retaliation, anger, and revenge. But Jesus showed us a different way. The way of Grace

To be seasoned with salt means our words go from being normal, typical, similar to the rest of the population's, to be tasty, memorable, enjoyable, blessed. Salt keeps food preserved, fresh. Our words shouldn't be filled with bitterness, rage, or malice, but with the life-giving, sustaining, savory salt of grace