Among the spiritual reflection and encouragement this past weekend at Passion Houston, I found myself being discouraged from one thing. God laid on my heart a message that I have rarely considered. God’s given me an affinity for language. I like writing; I like speaking. I like to think I do both rather well. I’ve long since realized that I want to be using these gifts for God’s glory.
But something that never occurred to me was where I shouldn’t be using these gifts. In my mind, they were bestowed upon me to do with as I pleased and God was happy just knowing I use them for his praise and worship.
Having a way with words makes those words all the more influential. It’s like you put sentences together in an attractive enough way and they start catching people’s attention, making them think the way you’re trying to get them to think.
I recently went through a breakup where my ex-boyfriend and I disagreed frequently (and NOT in The Notebook cutesy “they didn’t agree on much…” kind of way). He was a man of few words and my talents as a wordsmith made our arguments extra difficult for him.
My zest for putting words together meant his articulation (or lack of) of his point of view usually didn’t hold a candle to mine. Nonetheless, he usually came out the other side of an argument hanging stubbornly onto his way of thinking. This frustrated me because when I put that much time into other written or spoken word, it is more often than not successfully persuasive.
So this weekend God moved in me and his message was clear: I was no longer to use my words to try to convince this guy of my rightness or his wrongness. Despite the swallowing of pride it would take when I believe I’m in the right “if only I can explain myself,” I’m to remain quiet. After all, do I think I can work on this guys heart better than God can? Do I think I can convince him that my way is God’s way better than God himself?
“Let go and let God,” is easy to say and hard to do. God lays it on your heart and you nod your head, Yes God, I surrender. Then you get into the daily grind and that promise of surrender is easier said than done. You get a text and your knee jerk reaction is to respond with a convincing novel of a text about how you’re in the right.
So, as I’m fighting the urge to launch into a cleverly worded diatribe, I sit down to do my bible study. This is today’s passage:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. -1 John 2: 15-17
In the commentary (Kelly Minter’s “What Love is” study) it identifies what “lust of the flesh” can look like. My eyes immediately fall on one example: “being consumed with convincing someone you are right”. I laughed and looked to God like “Okayyyyyy. I get it!”