As we embark on our journey into 2021, there is so much out there that can positively or negatively impact or shape our outlook on the journey ahead. It is vital that at the beginning of this journey into 2021, that we make good choices, choices that will positively impact and shape our outlook for the coming year.
In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses puts this challenge to the people: ‘ This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live’. Choices we make about what we listen to, whom we listen to, the company we keep and where we walk in life, will positively or negatively affect how we think, what we say, and ultimately our outlook on life. In effect it will have a ‘blessing or curse’ effect or a ‘life or death’ impact as the Deuteronomy passage reminds us. These choices will not only affect us but also our families and indeed our spheres of influence.
What our world, our country, and the people around us need, in this time of uncertainty and apprehension, is for us – who know Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and who know that the Jesus within us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27) – to be speaking life and in our conversations and responses to be uttering life-giving words. The Bible quite clearly tells us that our words can either bring life or death, blessing or curse: ‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit’ (Proverbs 15:4); ‘The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.’ (Proverbs 18:21); ‘The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing’ (Proverbs 12:18). In order for us to be those who bless, encourage, affirm, inspire and heal with our words, we have to be intentional- we need to choose to speak life.
The choice to speak life, is not a stand-alone decision. Our words are influenced by our thinking and by the state of our hearts. It is now equally important to be intentional about guarding our hearts and minds: ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do, flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23); ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ (Philippians 4:8); ‘For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’ (Luke 6:45).
As I said at the beginning of this blog, the company we keep, what and who we listen to, will directly influence and impact how we speak and our outlook on life. You know the sayings: ‘as a man thinks, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7) and ‘we become what we surround ourselves with’. The output of our lives (our words and attitudes) will never be inconsistent with what inputs our lives (what we feed our minds and hearts). As the saying goes: ‘rubbish in, rubbish out!’.
Having said all this, to become those who intentionally speak life, we need the Holy Spirit’s help to filter the inputs into our lives. We need daily to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us afresh with His wisdom and His discernment, and we need ask Him to convict us about that which are destructive inputs into our lives. Invite the Holy Spirit to be your filter- the filter for the company you keep, that which you listen to and watch, and that which you fill your minds with. Allow Him, especially, to convict you about social media sources, and the ‘screen’ time on your cellular phones. Ask Him to draw you daily more and more into the Word of God, into the presence of the Lord through worship and prayer. As you do this, you will see how the input into your life changes- life giving input. Life-giving words will follow as a natural consequence of choosing life-giving input into our lives, through the infilling and leading of the Holy Spirit: ‘So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.’ (Galatians 5:16)
Join me in this season in choosing to be an instrument of the Lord Jesus in speaking life-giving words. Remember that Jesus has no other lips, but our lips, to speak His life-giving, healing, and uplifting words.
Bless you all,