Say What You Mean

Say What You Mean

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
 – Colossians 3:9

This verse speaks for itself. If you have taken off your old self then a change has begun. It isn’t overnight and God doesn’t expect us to instantly become a completely different person. The Holy Spirit gets deep in side of you and starts helping you shovel all of that darkness from your heart. A little scoop at a time is really how it works. To believe that you get saved and you live just like Jesus did instantly is a myth. If you mean the words your have said then the next thing to do is step back and take a deep breath because a moment that defines you just happened. Seek those who love Jesus an they will support you. If you just say a few words and walk away thinking you’re ‘all good’ with God then you will be setting yourself up for spiritual failure.

Colossians 3:1-25 is all about how we should be living when Christ has redeemed us. I think that 3:9 is crucial because lying is the oldest deception we have in the Bible. Satan used the serpent as a means to an end. The lie was the misrepresentation of who was speaking to Eve. Of course this went downhill afterward and we all in some shape or form find ourselves telling lies regardless of how small or big they may be. I do it, I try very hard not to and usually restrict my tales to stories for my kids but I make sure they know the stories are not real. Saying words you think have saved you but continually living in no ways whatsoever doesn’t sound like redemption to me. I am not a judge, only the trinity can discern the true nature of our souls but meaning what you say and saying what you mean are important in securing that salvation.

Our marriages work like that too. Communication is the most important goal after ensuring God is first in your home. In many ways you must communicate better to put God first but if you have God in the home then you will have God in the heart.

Saying What You Mean

Jesus tells us this plainly in Matthew 5:33-37 where He is wrapping up speaking about oaths and how we should not make oaths based on Heaven or Earth for Heaven is God’s throne and the Earth His footstool. In v. 37 He says, “All you need say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” This applies to us outside of just oaths. If you hear someone constantly saying ‘I swear to God’ or ‘God as my witness’ it’s usually because they have a tendency to lie or at least not tell the whole truth. As Christians we should say what we mean and do so in love. We should be saying what we mean with sincerity and truthfulness behind it because we should live as Jesus did. He did not lie, we should be striving to do that as well because if not the Holy Spirit is going to convict us and we are going to end up begging forgiveness from the Lord, provided we have that light in us and have not just said some prayer of rote that is supposed to affirm our salvation because we were told that it will save us. Words do not save your soul. Saying what you mean is about the consistency of your thoughts and the words you put forth. Both of which should be grounded in your faith.

Mean What You Say

Meaning what you say is to have a consistency with the words you put forth and the actions you then perform afterward. As an example, I hate to use Peter again but he is the one most familiar to people because he said he would not deny Jesus but he did anyway. He meant what he said at the time but when it came to fulfilling that obligation he fell flat. I try to be very careful but I fail in this on a personal level. Doing a devotional publicly for a year was more ambitious than I could handle but I am doing it as often as time allows. It isn’t that I can’t but I do have family obligations that have to be done before I can do this. God’s work is not put on a backseat because I feel that I am filling my role as the leader of my home by taking care of my family and doing my best to put God forth in all we do. I fail in that too sometimes but Jesus knows my weaknesses and I ask God for the strength to endure them without falling into a tailspin.

Final Thoughts

When we say things it should be wholeheartedly and again in love. When we say what we mean in truthfulness then we are doing as Christ instructed us to do. Say what you mean plainly and in honesty but without cruelty. Mean what you say by putting your heart into what you say so that love is communicated.  Do not say negative things to your wife because I promise you, she will remember that. Do not promise anyone things unless you intend to fulfill those promises because they will remember that you let them down. Our faith is rooted in the trust we have in Jesus that our salvation is secure. How can we expect people to have trust in our testimony if we are acting shakily in behavior?

Our relationship with God requires honesty in all things, trust in Him and the desire to continually communicate with him. Our spouse, our children, every person you meet deserves those same qualities because anything less takes away from the testimony God has given you.

Daily Devotional – Child of God

God's Child

To be blessed with a child is the most precious gift next to our salvation that God bestows on us in this life. What do you love more than anything? For me it is my kids. I am not taking away from my love for God at all. I believe it is a different kind of love. You can’t fully explain either. They both make your chest swell and your eyes fill with tears. The difference I think is in how these differing loves affect us.

A Child’s Love

A child’s love can provide soothing peace after a long day of work. It’s one of the first things I look for when I come home. I set my backpack down and if they don’t know I am home I shout, “Where’s my kids?!” and then the pounding of feet and I am tackled. Even if I were sore I would happily bear that pain as they crash into me because there is no place I’d rather be. Until later in the day they don’t like what I have to say and throw a huge tantrum! That’s where things diverge, our children and even we forget our love when other emotions take over. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or to defend yourself against. My boy tells me he doesn’t love me when he is not happy with my choices for him. As a father you know that is just not true and even though it stings you smile and tell them you love them anyway.

God’s Love

Is perfect. It doesn’t change even if we curse the things He has chosen for us. Even when we decide not to live for Him and then come crawling back. It is the same consistent love over and over. That is why He is the perfect Father. He will run to meet us if we truly want Him there. That is why the parable of the Prodigal Son is so powerful. Man was God’s child before the Fall and afterward the only way we can be adopted back in is through the heartfelt desire of His grace and love. He thought nothing of his son’s desire to run off and sow his wild oats and he thought nothing of his son’s return except that he was home and he could love on him once more.

Final Thoughts

God let’s us have those glimpses of His love you know. Like when you hold this angry red child fresh from the womb and you want to bawl more than they are. When you are at the bottom of the depths of your despair and there is no way out, that whisper in your heart, that urge in your mind to become better, to become one with Him. When you’re at church and the music wraps itself around you and you can’t help but raise your arms up. That’s just a tickle of His love. It’s effervescent and the only way to capture it is to be like David and go after God’s own heart. To seize the chance to say, “Here I am Father! Love me! Allow me to love you!” When you get to that place, you’ll experience love in a way you could never imagine.

Consistent Nourishment

Consistent Nutrition

A tree planted by water.

Or maybe the farmer scattering seeds is what you recall from the parable [Matthew 13:1-9] that Jesus spoke of in the Bible. As a child I was taught about the farmer sowing seeds but as an adult I enjoy the idea of a tree more. The reason for this is because trees are consistent, you’ll hear this word a lot going forward. Plants, like those sown by the farmer are seasonal. These plants grow quickly, become fruitful but almost never multiply without help. Without consistent nourishment.

While working on a devotional recently with Bethany I was reminded of this because it is exactly what we covered in the devotional which focused on Psalms 1:1-6. If there was ever a single chapter devoted to the need for consistent nourishment in the bible it is this one. So after we completed the devotional which was about this nourishment we get from our connection to God, I let it marinate in my heart some.

One of the greatest things about God is that he is an awesome father. He makes sure we get the nourishment we need whenever we need it and it is abundant. The cupboard is never ever bare!

I would be lying if I said that I was that consistent in providing a soulful nourishment for my kids or those around me. It’s hard and we don’t get it right all the time. We aren’t supposed to either because we aren’t perfect and we were never made to be perfect. God made us according to his image and according to his likeness but he did not intentionally create us as a perfect creature. He created us with free will and the choice to not only be what he created us to be (human) but also to make the choice to be in his likeness. They are two different things that I want to cover in another article.

How consistent should you be?

When it comes to God, always. When it comes to your children, always. At least that is should be. Still there is something here that we should look at and it is what the farmer and his seeds represent. I want to look at it from multiple angles and hopefully inspire you to not only get nourishment consistently but to also give nourishment consistently. This applies to anyone you meet not just a friend, not just your Pastor and certainly not just a Christian. The person may not know immediately they are being nourished by the grace God has given you but in time they will realize it.

We are eternal servants to the spiritual nourishment of others. In fact, we are charged [Matthew 5:16] to show others this consistent nourishment because we are also nourished by giving to them.

How to be more consistent

It’s harder than it sounds otherwise I wouldn’t have been moved to the point that I am writing this! However I think that the method to be more consistent is simple. Just be mindful!

I forget this sometimes because I don’t do anything half measure and I don’t give up. It leads to arguments. Be mindful of what you are projecting to your children, to your wife or significant other. Is it in God’s likeness? Then stop. Put yourself in a strangers shoes a moment and look at yourself, this man, this dad with his children or his wife. How are you being perceived when you are with them?

Even if we are experiencing rough waters within ourselves we should project kindness. Even Christ who prayed at Gethsemane went quietly with the guards when arrested knowing that his fate was death. Did he want to run? His humanity may have but he prayed fervently and God heard his prayer and saved him from the eternal separation that the sin he bore would have caused. Instead he knew that he would be separated from his father only for a little while and this gave him the strength to carry on.

This to me is so very important because how can we nourish our children if we put separation between them? We should be making every effort to speak kindness to them even if we may want to send them away when they are misbehaving or not acting to our adult standards. I forget this and I think you would be hard pressed to find a parent who has not done this.

The Farmer

If we look at the farmer we can place him in to four different categories of spiritual nourishment;

  • The seeds that fell upon the wayside were eaten by birds. These seeds signify the uninvolved Christian who jealously holds close the love that God charges them to spread. Their work is no nutritious at all.
  • The seeds that fell upon the stony places. These seeds signify the hard-hearted Christian who spreads the love God charges them to spread but not to everyone. They bear fruits swiftly and they die just as quickly because their work is not nutritious enough.
  • The seeds that fell upon the thorns. These seeds signify the inflexible Christian who does not know how to encourage the growth of other Christians. They can spread the love that God commands us to spread but often-times they will leave the new believers without a safety net. Their work is a trickle and the fruit they bear will grow but eventually it will slowly die.
  • The seeds that fell upon the good ground. These seeds signify what God commands us to do! This is the servant Christian who is involved, open-hearted and the flexible child of God who approaches the stranger and loves on them regardless of the circumstance and then after bringing them to Christ continues to walk with them and encourage them as they take their next steps. Their work will bear fruit that lasts the hard winters and seeds that carry in to new seasons.

Let me ask these bold questions of you. What kind of man are you? Are you giving consistent nutrition? Are you seeking consistent nutrition? You should be. We all should be, both man and woman. I should be.

I will. I will be a tree planted by the water.

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