My dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You now to be restored in You, to be renewed in You to receive Your life and Your love and all the grace and mercy I so desperately need this day. I honor You as my Sovereign Lord and surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to You and ask you to lead me this day and speak to me through Your word! Amen Ephesians 4 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
As I think back on the theme for this week about "being a neighbor", arising from Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan, I am caught by the thought that sometimes it is more difficult to love people (be a neighbor) in the intangible things like communication, emotion, compassion than it is in the more tangible ways like caring for the sick, helping someone on the side of the road, etc.
It is this intangible "neighborliness" that the scripture above speaks into my heart today! These words cast a vision for me of loving people in very practical and often overlooked ways especially the way I communicate. I love the idea of communicating with others in unselfish ways - ways that benefit those who listen.
I am also moved by the reality that the Holy Spirit of God living in me is "grieved" when I reject what He is trying to do in my life in a particular situation. I do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit. Not only is my unwholesome talking, bitterness, rage and anger destructive to my human relationships, it is destructive to my relationship with the Holy Spirit.
This passage helps me see that the very Spirit that my unhealthy communication grieves is the very Spirit that gives me the power for "healthy communication"! My will power is not powerful enough to correct my errant ways - but the Spirit of God in me is. Today I get to surrender again and again to Jesus and ask Him to fill me with His Spirit so my words, thoughts and actions can flow from a different place than my "broken sinfulness". They can flow from the Spirit of God in Me!
That is cool! Really cool!
Just the other day I was in a situation where I could tell my words, thoughts and actions were beginning to flow from a "not so healthy" place in me. I slipped off to the bathroom (a good place to be alone in a pinch) and prayed something like this. "Jesus, i desperately need You now. i completely surrender myself, my ego and my agenda to You. i step by faith into Your reign over me. Please fill me with Your Spirit. I receive You, Your agenda and Your Spirit right now! I will now go back out there and act like it! I love You God! Amen"
I am so glad Jesus has forgiven me and because of that does not disqualify me from His presence!
I get to live today and communicate today filled with the Spirit of the living God!
How did the passage strike you? Let us know your thoughts!