Who we are on the inside shows up on the outside. People know when we are faking it. Let’s be genuine Christians.
19 As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
Perception can be a powerful ally or adversary. Christians don’t want to be fake, but want to allow Christ to shine through us. We must leave others’ perception of us to Him. One of the greatest characteristics of a child of God is graciousness, or, grace. When we show grace to people, we allow that grace to run through our minds and then out of our mouths. Grace must come from the Holy Spirit within us; we say that it must come from our hearts. If Christ is in control of our hearts, then we will be gracious. Thus, if our hearts are full of grace, then people see that we are genuine Christians. Consider these two verses.
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Luke 4:22
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace [be gracious], seasoned with salt [biblical truth and wisdom], so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
I read these two verses every morning to remind myself that Jesus was gracious in His speech, therefore, I am to be gracious in my speech, which means that caustic remarks, cutting comments, and derogatory speech are not allowed. I am to take those thoughts captive to Christ. In fact, with the power of the Spirit, I can take strongholds of hateful speech and demolish them:
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Habits feel real, but they are really just what we are used to. A habit takes about three weeks to establish. If we are serious about letting our lights shine for Christ in the world around us, then we must demolish the stronghold of a hateful tongue and allow the Spirit to give us gracious speech, which starts with our thoughts. When a hateful thought comes to mind, run it up to the throne of Jesus and say, “Here, Lord, please take this thought and get rid of it for me. Now, give me one that You want me to have. I praise You and thank You, Lord.” This process will feel awkward at first, then hopeless, but if we stay with it, we will overcome our habit and create a new one, one that brings joy and gladness to us, and glory and honor to our Lord.
I pray that you will read these verses every morning, too, and allow the Spirit to change your speech to His speech.
Abba, I know that a gentle and gracious tongue is a tree of life to those around me. I also know that a cruel, vicious, sarcastic, biting, acid, and bitter tongue crushes the spirit of its victims (Proverbs 15:4). Please train me to think like You because I know if I can think like You, then I will be able to control my tongue. Only with the partnership of Your Spirit do I stand any chance of success. Continue to conform me to the image of Your Son, Abba. I want to be just like Jesus. Amen.