There’s been a lot of talk in my circles about claiming a word from the Lord for the year ahead. I see a lot of value in doing this exercise, and I am thinking about throwing a couple of possibilities into a hat and just pulling one out — sometimes deciding what is “mine” has about as much rational thought as that particular way of choosing. I’m not saying that I don’t pray and ask God for guidance, or that He doesn’t give me insight into such matters, but I often wish for a soul impression so strong and so compelling that I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this is MY WORD FROM THE LORD.
Over the last couple of weeks, however, (perhaps due to a couple of situations that I’ve been in or been spectator to) there has been a passage of scripture that has impressed upon my heart in ways that I cannot ignore. I came across them in my Bible reading and was so convicted and compelled that I wrote them down for ready reference and intend to put them up where I can see them every single day:
“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need — words that will help others become stronger . . . Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other — Just as God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:29a, 31,32
This, I’ve discovered, is hardest for me with my everyday living. I need it when I am losing patience with Nettie and Cecilia. I need it when relationships within my family get uncomfortable for me. I need it with that Man That I Love Most, in the daily movements of life when there are sometimes things that irritate or make my selfish heart want to use my words to get what I want.
Words. For me, they are the things about which I need to be most careful. There was a time, many years ago, when Certain Man said to me, “When we get into an argument, I feel like I have a BB gun and you have a cannon.”
That was pivotal for me. Maybe more than pivotal. It actually hit me like a ton of bricks. By profession, (and confession) I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I understand much of His Teaching to be a call to love, to lay down my life for others, to be a peacemaker. And yet I was using my words as a weapon against the man that I profess to love the most. Not just a weapon, but a mighty weapon that left him feeling defenseless and wounded. The realization made me heartsick. Was this really how I wanted to use my gift? Absolutely not!
But old habits die hard, and natural inclinations tend to rear their ugly heads in those situations we haven’t anticipated or when our reserves are running low because of our humanity. However, the statement my husband made was stamped firmly on my heart as well as my psyche, and I purposed that I would do things differently.
God has been faithful, my husband has been patient, but I’ve needed reminders and admonition more times than I can count.
And one of those times is now, so this is the scripture that I’m claiming for the year ahead. I may still receive a word that I consider from the Lord (like silence, maybe??? Oh, HELP!!!) But for now, I’m taking these verses. Putting these words into practice will be a big enough challenge for this Delaware Grammy.
This morning my heart gives grateful praise for one more Bible promise:
” . . . My Grace is sufficient for you, for my Power is perfected in weakness . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Without this promise, nothing is ever going to change.