When I was in the Fifth grade, lunch time consisted of a group of us who spent that time doing a put down contest. Every day we sat there with one person on one side of the table against a person from the other side. The two would trade put downs until one person ran out of them or someone cried. As kids, we had no idea how dangerous this exercise was. Words are more powerful than we realized. My fear is that some from that group have spent a life time putting others down constantly or worse, putting themselves down. So many people are constantly putting themselves down with their own words.
Jude 1:20 says, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith” (NLT). That’s a command to do the exact opposite of what we’ve been taught to do. We have to train ourselves to quit looking in the mirror and telling ourselves what’s wrong with us. We have to learn to quit saying what our limitations are and why we can’t do things. Building up involves talking about what you can do and what your qualities are. When you consistently tell yourself the qualities God has given you, you shift the talk track in your mind from negative to positive. You begin to build up rather than tear down.
We need to learn to do this for other people as well. Imagine if you had someone constantly telling you what’s right with you. That would affect your day and how you see yourself. So why not start it off today? Find someone and build them up today by telling them a God-given quality they have and why it’s important. Building each other up is part of God’s design for community. We all need to be reminded daily of the positive qualities we have and how they affect the world around us. Let’s quit putting ourselves and others down and begin to act the way God intended by building others up.
Photo by Natalie Acheatel on Unsplash
Recently I was talking to a group of people on the Importance of the words you use when talking to yourself. Many times when we mess up, we pound ourself on the head and say something like, “Stupid!” It’s not good to do that. The more you say something, the more it gets into your subconscious. The more it gets in there, the more you believe it, and we always act according to what we believe. So it’s critical that we are intentional about the words we use because they determine our success in life.
It’s also a good habit to consider the words we use when we talk to others. Are we more apt to lifting up or putting down? This one is tougher for me to follow. It’s natural for me to quickly take a shot at someone rather than to intentionally build them up. It requires using a filter and repetitively replacing positive words for the negative ones. Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life and his words of wisdom are a source of blessing” (AMP). Are the words you use a fountain of life to yourself and others?
There really is the power of life and death in the tongue. According to James, none of us will ever tame it completely. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make sure we are a fountain of life, wisdom and blessings. The words you use today towards yourself and others are important. You can choose from millions of words to speak into someone’s life including your own. Choose to speak life. Choose to be a blessing rather than a curse. Watch and see how your words can change someone’s day or how they see themselves. The life you change just might be your own.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
Have you ever purchased something that had to be assembled? How did you put it together? Did you read the instructions first and then try to do it? Did you have someone else read them to you and then you tried to build it? Or did you look at the picture and try to do it from that? I confess that I’ve been the latter more often than not. I’m getting better at looking at the instructions though. I’ve found that it’s quicker. As I age, it’s becoming more important to me to take a little longer and get it right the first time than to have the pride of building it on my own without instructions and having parts left over.
The same way we approach an assembly project can be the same way many approach being a Christian. Some people want to read the directions (Bible) to find out how to do it right while they build their faith. Others prefer to have a pastor read the instructions to them and then they try to figure it out from there. Still there are those who feel they have no need to read the Scriptures. They feel like that they can figure it out as they go. They try and fail over and over again until they get it or until they give up. Either way, they either have missing parts or there are parts left that they don’t know what to do with.
I’ve tried all three approaches to God at different stages of my life. When I was a teen, I tried to get by just by listening to my pastor and teachers. I got a decent understanding of what Christianity was about, but because I didn’t have the instructions in my hands, I didn’t have a clear picture to go by. In college and the years that followed, I tried the “who needs instructions” approach. I failed miserably. Things in my life kept breaking, parts were falling off and I was missing a lot things that I needed in order to be successful. The outside of my life resembled the picture on the box, but the inside infrastructure was missing. When I had weight applied to my life, it fell apart.
I’m a try, try again kind of person. I don’t easily give up. I may not have gotten it right in the first few tries, but I’m on the path to getting it right now. I’m spending more time reading the instructions and less time looking at the picture on the box. If I spend my life trying to create the picture on the box, I’ll never be the picture of who God wants me to be. We all have different gifts and talents which create different pictures, but our infrastructure has to come from God’s Word. We have to build ourselves up in the most holy faith as Jude 1:20 put it. We each are a work in progress guided by the Holy Spirit. If you’ve found your method isn’t working, try the original plan God had for you. Read His Word and follow the instructions He has for living this life of faith. Don’t ignore the instructions that are right in front of you.