May 18, 2012
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10 NIV).
Friend To Friend
The summer heat can be unbearable. North Carolina is by no means a place of cool summers. To the contrary, we Tar Heel residents expect to have our air conditioning units running almost round the clock. But the heat we’ve experienced the past few years has been uncommonly sweltering. At times, it’s been so balmy that my sweat drops have had sweat drops! Now, you can call it global warming, or you can call it chance, but I just call it plain old hot!
On one of those crazy-hot summer days, I spent time at our local library. I sat on the lower level, which is the coolest area in the building. The vigilante AC unit worked aggressively to protect us book-reading occupants from the external heat wave. I was on that chilly lower level for the better part of two hours, and gradually turned to a human icicle. My fingers were completely numb as I signed out a Hardy Boys book for my son and turned to exit the building.
As I opened the door to leave, a forceful wave of heat swept over me. In that moment I thought, “Wow! That sure is a stark contrast! What a temperature change!” From one extreme to the other, the heat pendulum had swung. Hot to cold, and then hot again. As I considered the contrast, it occurred to me that the temperature of my life might sometimes look the same. It gave me reason to pray.
Have you ever gotten up early and had a sweet time with the LORD, only to turn into an unreasonable, raging screamer hours later? Have you ever had an argument with your spouse or children on the way to church, only to cross the threshold of the lobby with blessings and kindness on your tongue? Have you ever driven in traffic with worship music on the dash and praise on your lips when suddenly, someone cut you off and the praises on your tongue turned to cursing? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, welcome to the Sinner’s Club. All humans have an automatic membership that activates at birth and is irrevocable until we accept forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and see His face on the other side of glory.
The Bible calls us to a higher, more consistent temperature of living. We must be careful not to praise and curse with the same tongue. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10 NIV).
Are you swinging the pendulum of your responses, or are they swinging you? We are accountable for our behavior. We are accountable for the way we respond to circumstances. Our responses reflect the core of who we are. They reflect our faith … good or bad.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
As we go through today, let’s center the thermometer of our hearts on Christ so we are less likely to respond in stark contrast to His perfect example of love. Let’s live out God’s grace and heed the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:3: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Lord, please forgive me for the times when my responses are unkind. Please forgive me for the times when I over-react and under-love. I need the power of the Holy Spirit to moderate the temperature of my heart and my responses.
In Jesus' name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Will you live out deeper grace today? If you’re ready to start fresh and declare, “By God’s grace I am a new creation,” then visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusicand say, “I am a new creation!”
More From The Girlfriends
Okay – this is hard! Trust me, as I was stepping on your toes with this message, I was trampling all over mine, too. Let’s go in grace today, and pray that God will be strong in our weakness. We are continually being transformed into a greater likeness of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit … one day at a time … thank You, Jesus!
Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God’s beauty, order Gwen’s book Broken Into Beautiful.This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing and restoration!
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Originally published Friday, 18 May 2012.