READING: Matthew 12:22-50, Luke 11
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I have two heroes of the faith, one who is now with the Lord and the other who is now in retirement. I met these men at least twenty years apart. They lived in two different sections of the country. One was known regionally, and the second was/is known nationally. One had a small family, and the other has a large one. Their stories were quite different even though both were pastors.
What I most admire about these men, though, marked both of them: they used their mouths for God’s glory and not for evil. In fact, here’s what most caught my attention about them:
- Both always prayed with me, regardless of setting.
- Both always told others about Jesus, again regardless of the setting.
- I never heard either man ever say something negative about another person.
I suspect my faith heroes would not have been alarmed by Jesus’ words: “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37). I, on the other hand, get anxious when I read those words.
I know some of my words over the years have been careless. Some have been rude and impatient. Years ago, they would have been off-color and flippant. Some have been laced with false humility (thus, with real pride). Others have been judgmental and condemning.
But, my ministry and witness are built upon my words. If my words on Monday are less than godly, why should anyone listen to me on Sunday? Or, at a more corporate level, if our words are careless, why should a non-believing world listen to the gospel from us?
To be a faithful witness for Christ, I want to pray regularly, evangelize recurrently, and speak kindness always. I do not want to fall into the trap of condemning others when I should be praying and evangelizing. I long for my lips to be pure.
ACTION STEPS: Live today like my heroes lived: pray throughout the day; tell somebody about Jesus; refrain from speaking negatively about others.
PRAYER: “God, I need your help to guard my every word. Use me as a pure, consistent, holy mouthpiece for the gospel.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 13, Luke 8