Words and attitudes also matter in our relationship with God. Will we be patient and faithful in times of tribulation, as well as blessing, or will our praise quickly turn to anger and bitterness?
If we realize our words and attitudes need to change, where do we start?
Jeremiah 23 & 24
2 Thessalonians 1.1-12
Words & Attitudes Matter!
It Starts with the Heart
“A continual dripping … and a contentious woman are alike …”
Ladies, we need to understand what God is saying here about the power of our words and attitudes.
None of us lives in a perfect world. We have spouses and children, bosses and co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors who are imperfect. But we can choose how we’ll respond.
Will we be the women Peter encouraged us to be?
¹ In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Pet. 3.1-4 NLT).
Will we choose to live the kind of lives that win others even without words (v. 1)? And when we do speak, will they be impacted by the purity and reverence of our lives (v. 2) or will they see a harsh, prideful heart?
Proverbs has a lot to say about the power of our words:
A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. (Prov. 15.1-2 NLT).
Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything (Prov. 13.3 NLT).
Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing (12.18 NLT).
He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit (Prov. 17.27 NKJV).
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Prov. 16.24 NLT).
The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences (Prov. 18.21 NLT).
And what about our attitudes? As Peter reminded us in the passage we just read (v. 1), we communicate even when we’re not speaking.
Mockers are proud and haughty;
they act with boundless arrogance (Prov. 21.24 NLT).
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16.18).
Ladies, how do we want our husbands and others to think of us? We have a choice. But if we want to reflect a godly attitude, if we want kind words to fill our mouths, we’ve got to start with our hearts. Jesus said:
“It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (Mk. 7.20-22).
What are you putting into your heart? God’s truth or worldly ideas?
On what do you meditate? On slights and hurts, things you wish you had, on all your husbands faults? Or do you cultivate gratitude, contentment, forgiveness, and grace?
It’s your choice and mine.
Today’s Other Readings:
The Father’s Plan
As I read chapter 23, verses 5 & 6, I was reminded of Genesis 3 where right in the middle of pronouncing the curse that would come on Adam and Eve as a result of their sin, God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3.15). Right there in the garden, God gave them, and us, a glimpse of His plan to restore His creation to right standing with Him.
And here in Jeremiah 23, as He is pronouncing the consequences of Judah’s repeated disobedience, He promises to bring them back:
5 “ Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“ That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Another reminder of the coming of the promised Messiah—what a good and awesome God we serve! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8) and that was the Father’s plan from the beginning.
Another passage that is full of hope is 24.4-7:
4 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel. ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. 6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
Look at that passage again. “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel. ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good …'”
There were those among the people, including Daniel and his friends, who were taken captive to Babylon long before the final captivity and destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Instead of allowing it for their hurt, God allowed it for their protection and good. And He promised to exalt them in due time. Yes, they would be tested and refined, but He would be with them.
We, too, need to remember when we go through difficult and, seemingly, unfair circumstances that He will use it for our good and His glory.
Open My Eyes
As the psalmist continues to extol the virtues of God’s Word, his prayer is that God would open his eyes that he might see wondrous things from His law—a great prayer for each of us to pray every time we prepare to open the Scriptures.
Patience & Faith in Tribulation
Paul said in verse 4, “… we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.”
Like Daniel and his friends, we have no greater opportunity to show that we are different from the world around us, than when we are experiencing trials, tribulations, and suffering. It’s easy, even for an unbeliever, to be happy and pleasant when life is going his or her way. But it’s in the trials, that we demonstrate the fact that our trust is not in our circumstances, but in Christ alone!
Getting ready for 2017
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible.
And I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment between now and then.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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