We don’t do good to make God like us, nor to be “pleasing” to Him. We do good because He is in us. He already loves us!
1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than [a rich] one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Or, better to be a wise sheep than a foolish shepherd.
Our integrity is wrapped up in our relationship with Jesus. I consider integrity the outer wrapping of what is inside a person. It is okay to disagree with someone, but when we open our mouths, what comes out? What should come out is the character of God. If God allows us to resist Him, and then takes our consequences and works them into the making of our character, then we would do well to allow others to err against us so that God can take their consequences and work them for their good. The only thing that should come out of our mouths is blessing.
What is the character of God? If God is described as love (1 John 4:8), then, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
- He is patient
- He is kind
- He is not envious or boastful
- He is not arrogant or rude
- He is not insistent on His own way
- He keeps no record of wrongs
- He is not irritable or resentful
- He never rejoices at wrongdoing
- He rejoices with the truth
- He bears all things
- He believes all things
- He hopes all things
- He endures all things
- He never fails
With His character in mind, let’s apply Ephesians 4:29 to our lives:
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
I am reminded once again how important this axiom is to our daily walk. The reasoning behind this verse goes like this:
- IF we are all one body, THEN sharing negative words is like poison.
- IF we are all one building, THEN being critical is like watering down the cement used between the blocks.
- IF we are all one Church, THEN cutting each other down is like hating its members.
- IF our opinion is sound, THEN our fellowship with the Lord is good, which leads to patient endurance, gentleness of spirit, and self-control.
Our words, body language, and other signal factors all display the love that is in us for each other. Each of us is on a journey with Jesus. He reveals knowledge, understanding and wisdom as we go according to His time for each of us. Our job is not to change other folks or make them see things from our perspective. No human has complete knowledge. We must remember that fact.
In all things, we must keep relationships first in our lives beginning with our fellowship with the Trinity and then branching out to our fellow Christians. From there, we search for those to whom God directs us to help them to see Jesus clearly.
In my conversations, I vow to not only refrain from making negative statements about others, but to help turn other’s negative statements into positive ones so that the body may be built up in love.
2 Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace.
Abba, may I be a picture of Jesus to everyone I meet. I want to be so like You that they would sense Your presence and participation in our conversation. May we all aspire to such a goal. Amen.