I just finished doing a “first thoughts” journal entry, or a free write, you could call it. It helped me realize something: words are my practice, so of course I should use them wisely! I can be very reckless with my words. Especially when it comes to speaking them, or even just thinking them. The world tells us that our thoughts are safe in our minds, but God reminds us that to think something is to commit it in your heart. (Matthew 5:28) The verse in Matthew specifies lustful thoughts, but I am beginning to realize that it is not so simple. A look at James 1:13-15 gives more light to this: a desire will lead to sin, and sin has only one path, and that is death.
I am quite careful about the words I write. I reread everything at least twice over before it is put online, for others to see. I have, countless times, spent hours writing something just to completely discard it. Words are important. But something I have been giving into is my thoughts. I will soak in sinful, judgmental, egotistical, lustful thoughts. Don’t we all? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NIV) But just as we cannot escape this truth in Romans, we also find hope in it. None of us are safe from our own desires, but we all can find redemption in Jesus.
My journey is likely nothing similar to yours. Right now, God is calling me, teaching me through the Holy Spirit, compelling me to rid myself of meaningless things. Getting rid of meaningless entertainment, in favor of fulfilling experiences, so I won’t be distracted by what is “interesting” to the flock of sheep that surrounds me, but rather, what is interesting to God! And since words are my practice, I now can see that the logical next step in my walk with Jesus is to be careful about my words.
What does God have in store for me? My guess is as good as yours! But I see now the most exciting hope is being offered up to me: my words will bring glory to the kingdom of God!
No more gossip. No more fantasizing about ungodly things. No more judgments. No more carelessness. No more wandering off. I say these things as a hope for my future, knowing that I will require God’s guidance and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ more than I want to admit. My thoughts plant a seed, so I start there. I must be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen. (James 1:19)
Being quick to listen is a hard one for me, perhaps harder than being slow to speak. My mother asked me what I thought being “quick to listen” really meant. I imagine it means different things to different people, but for me, it means this: I do not wander off, I do not plan my next interjection, I do not eagerly wait for a break in conversation, and I actively pay attention to what is being said. It is so much more important than most of us realize.
So, moving forward, I hope to be accountable to this lesson I’ve been learning. I hope to speak slowly, and clearly (not in “Christianese” as some have called it), and to be listening with patience and haste. This is my spiritual journey, my career, my understanding, and it may not be yours at this time. That is fine. God works in His Divine Ways. May His grace and peace cover you today.