Archive for September 4th, 2016

Building Others Up

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

“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 benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

In Ephesians, chapter 4, Paul refers to believers as prisoners for the Lord and reminds us that we have been chosen to be Christ’s ambassadors here on earth. If you think about it, this is a huge responsibility. The awesome prospect of representing God must resonate through our entire bodies from the very core. Because the world is watching when we say we are believers, we must walk the walk. As this verse says, part of the walk is how you talk. The idea is not to talk religious or quote Bible verses all the time. The idea is to not curse, not gossip, and to build others up. This, more than likely, requires some changes in our lives. Paul calls us to lead a life worthy of our calling.

Immediate changes required by Paul insist that we begin sporting an attitude of humility, gentleness, and patience. This takes practice and time, but the goal is to project the unity of the Body of Christ and I can’t think of a more commendable enterprise.

As children of God, we are made holy, that is, we have become separated from the world and gathered unto Him. This means we cannot live as the rest of the world. Because hearts have been hardened due to a lack of sensitivity, worldly people take the road to sensuality, believing it’s how to survive in a dark world. Paul says that they indulge in every kind of impurity, always lusting for more. A life without God is meaningless.

We are new creations in Christ and now we can be made new by throwing off the old desires. We have been given power through Jesus to change and be like Him. The first thing we must do is learn to tell the truth. This can be difficult if you are used to telling little white lies now and then to excuse your own mistakes. No, this is no longer acceptable.

As God’s ambassador, we must learn to give up things like anger, brawling, and slander. Give up any malice. Forgive any past grudges. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to forgive, due to your emotions, ask God to make you willing. Most importantly, guard what comes out of your mouth. Words we say cannot be erased, so we must get into the habit of thinking before we speak.

We must refrain from the urge to gossip and we must not listen to others who gossip. This takes discipline because as human beings we remain naturally curious. However, we no longer allow the “natural man” to reign in our body. Now Christ reigns. So we no longer criticize others, but we build them up. We see the good and let the blood of Christ cover their faults, just as it covers ours.

There’s no room in the kingdom for swear words or unwholesome talk. Let me share a practical suggestion that works for many. Suppose in the old days, before you were a Christian, you used to say “Jesus” in ways you no longer do. If something happens, say you stub your toe and it slips out ― immediately turn it into a prayer. “Jesus ― please forgive me for my many shortcomings and the times my old ways surface. You, Lord, are the One I love and I never want to shame you.”

Let’s think of ways to build others up so that people listening will know we have changed. As ambassadors, we want to live like Jesus did and love others the way He loves us. Today let’s practice an attitude of encouraging others.

Father God, You are our awesome God and King. Help us honor You in all of our conversations. Teach us to lift up others as they need so that people around us will also be blessed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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