"A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word." Proverbs 15:23
When I began to make Biblical joy a focus of my life, and then wrote a book about it, I was so blessed, again, to learn so much in God's word that is changing my life. There are times when I learn truth and feel so guilty that it makes me want to stop being in ministry as I see how much I have fallen short of God's ways for me. But, if I take the truth as instruction for my own life so that I may live better and live more in the grace and blessing of the Lord, then I can just confess how I have fallen short, apply the new truth and move forward with God's blessing of forgiveness and love.
I assume God's love, I don't have to earn it.
Indeed it is true that what we sow, we will reap. Yet, sowing requires a decision of our will, of our heart, to decide just what we will sow. One way we sow into our own lives as well as the lives of those around us is through our words.
Lifegiving words have deep and abiding power. It is through words that we come to understand the truth about the Lord.
Words can give hope, life, and redemption, or death, guilt, anger, and bitterness.
We are to be stewards of our words and if we are walking with God, we are to plant words as seeds in the hearts of our children, that our words of blessing might reap the fruit of life and beauty and hope and confidence in their lives.
The legacy of Words of anger
I have talked to a number of precious moms lately who struggle with anger and impatience, and yell a lot at their children. Of course all of us have experienced this if we have lived very long.
Yet, if we regularly sow angry words, condemning words, guilt-producing words, we will find our children feel hurt, condemned, guilty, criticized, unloved.
But, studying scripture in this area lately has really caused me to develop some stronger convictions again, about the importance of guarding my lips and keeping them from pouring out anger--and asking for forgiveness when I do not! We all do this from time to time, but if we are to grow in righteousness, we need to use self-control in the area of anger and learn to move more and more into His gracious, patient love as we mature in understanding His own love and fatherhood of us.
Sowing words of life
A child has joy in an apt answer, I might paraphrase. And how delightful is a timely word. If children grow up on words such as, "I am so thankful for you!" "You are a blessing to me." "I appreciate you because...." "God has a special place for you in his kingdom." "You encourage me." "I see that you are capable in ____area.
You are the rock. You are a joy. You are faithful. You are a lover." "I believe in you." I believe in your dreams." etc. ,
Then there will be stored up in their hearts a deep confidence that they are loved, respected, appreciated, called by God to accomplish great things for His kingdom.
And in marriage....
As in all of the other areas of our lives, we have choices to make. In marriage, we can look at the great faults of our spouses or hold on to bitterness or our rights, and justify our withering speeches and lectures and complaints to them, not understanding that this kind of speech kills a relationship.
Or we can look at those areas for which we are grateful or remind ourselves why we were attracted to our spouses to begin with. We can pile on guilt or discouragement, complaints, and un-forgiveness for what we have not received. This is the way of the world.
The way of God, which includes forgiveness and love, is to learn to verbalize words that bring life. We must bear our spouses load and speak words of love, respect, admiration and support, and let them know we forgive them. What we sow we will reap.
Same goes in friendship, ministry, and work situations. We can choose to be a blessing and sow seeds of faith in the lives of those God has brought in our lives, or we can sow death to a relationship.
How are you speaking words of life today? Is there anything you need to repent for, give to God, perhaps even apologize to someone for? Better late than never. God will cover our faults (thank goodness!)