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I wonder how often you are taken in by the beguiling words of advertisements, created deliberately to draw you into the carefully laid breadcrumbs of a sales pitch?

business pexels julia m cameron 4144923Me... I’m a sucker for spiritual and business self-improvement courses.... the saccharine sweet beguiling claims of be better/ earn more/ be better organised -draw me in to commit briefly to the hype driven claims from some self-confident, self-made high achiever. Note that my commitment is brief... lacking the commitment, the time, the...well, the work that it all entails!
I would really like to be better...I try...constantly ...using some supposedly all effective formula to solve an issue...but in the end... I realise that each supposed promise with each book, workshop or course is mostly about the work you are prepared to put in. As with most things, there’s no quick fix, no easy answers ( despite the myriads of tempting titles, such as “3 ways to organise your business effectively...five ways to make social media work for you...6 ways to be a more effective prayer warrior... 7 ways to slow down and still be effective at work...

FaceBook pexels pixabay 267371The trouble is, that the clever FaceBook algorithms know my weaknesses.. and barely a day goes by when there isn’t something to divert my attention, draw me in, and take me away from the goals I’ve already set myself...so that I end up farther behind than I would have done if I had just persisted slowly and steadily like the tortoise from Aesop’s wonderful tortoise and the hare fable...

Words can so easily deceive and lure us away from what we are meant to be doing, saccharine sweet and equally as synthetic, a substitute for the soundness of Scripture...

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

Sweeter than HoneyThe psalmist encourages us to savour the words that are sweeter than honey, for it is the deep word of God that satisfies, not the alluring promise of a sales and marketing pitch that briefly beguiles and flatters our desire for a quick fix, on the surface solution.

I wonder what a difference it would make if I spent as much time in the Word of God as I do on social media, or the comfort of an escapist novel? Mmm...I think I’d rather not answer that one!

So, just as God’s Word satisfies our souls, how might our spoken words be genuinely sweet to those we encounter?

Sweetening our own Words
It isn’t always easy to use words well. As with any self-improvement, it takes focus, time, patience, and self-control, when it would be so easy at times, to blurt out words that could be unhelpful or hurtful, but Scripture provides us with lots of advice as to how we can each watch our words.

Words are not Enough
Scripture has much to say about words. We are reminded that reading these wholesome words is not enough. The power of the words comes from the transformation they effect on our lives and the lives of others when we choose to implement them, acting on their age-old wisdom.

mirror pexels jessica ticozzelli 4333559“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25

Words of Worship/ Praise
Scripture exhorts us to give praise where it is due. Our Creator and Redeemer deserves an abundance of words that worship Him for all that he gives us. Our words are to spill over into songs of thanksgiving.

“May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.” Psalm 119:171-172

Words to Build Up
It is easy to speak before we think; so simple to grumble, to criticise, to blame- but when we take time to pause, considering the other person’s point of view, really listening to them before blurting out what we may be thinking, then we begin to build up rather than tear down.

“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

Wise Words
Like many of us, I have said things I have regretted, and equally can still recall the hastily spoken words of others that have acted like shrapnel, wounding the core of my soul, only to be healed years later when I have recognised the falseness of them.

Once uttered, we cannot take our words back. We might apologise, but the sharp words will have been heard, often becoming embedded within- like a festering wound. Scripture reminds us to offer words of wisdom that endure and build up the receiver, acting as a healing salve.

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:18-19

Seasoned Words
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Colossians 4:6

worker bees pexels mostafa eissa 3424406Salt preserves, adds flavour, and acts as an important nutrient for our body- balancing fluids in the blood and maintaining healthy blood pressure. So, may our words too, be wholesome, sweet to the ear, seasoned with grace and balanced in their response. That’s a big ask, and we cannot do this alone, but by daily savouring God’s sweet words, and working with him, allowing him to transform not only the words from our lips but also the way of our lives.
So, I pray that we may each learn to savour God’s Word, that is sweeter than honey, but also to temper our own words, working hard to create sweetness from our own lips and lives, just as worker bees toil together to create honey.

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