My friend Wendy’s favorite verses go to the heart of Christian living. She has chosen these two verses to guide her. Knowing Wendy and the opposition she has faced from unbelievers, they are perfect and have given her courage and direction as she seeks to live each day for Christ.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. This verse hits to the heart of good relationships with others. If we are to reflect Christ in all we say and do, Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”, then we need to be concerned about what we are saying. James talks about the power of the tongue, see James 3:1-12. He talks about the need to tame the tongue and not letting it lead one astray. Paul is warning us here that our talk can harm others, (we know this to be true), and that what we should be desiring is to engage in conversations that reflect Christ’s grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favor. Having conversations that are kind and not judgmental, gossipy or hurtful. With the goal of glorifying Christ with our words, we need to seek to uplift and encourage.
Wendy’s second verse is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. Her first verse zeroed in on what we say, this one focuses on our mind’s attitude and expression. That which happens in our minds help to drive our actions and words. Our character is important to Christ and He desires that we be sanctified in Him. Paul explains this wonderous transformation he calls sanctification in Romans 6:21-23 “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are to glorify God with our heart, mind and soul becoming more and more like Jesus with each day. Let the truth of the character God desires sink into your heart and guide you as you ponder and meditate on Philippians 4:8.
With both of these verses before us, Ephesians 4:29 and Philippians 4:8, we must recognize that without the indwelling power of Christ’s Holy Spirit within us, we will not be able to live as He desires. It is God alone who empowers us and equips us to do His work and act worthy of His calling. The author of Hebrews prays a prayer we can claim over us too, in Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Thanks Wendy for reminding us of Christ’s goals for our speech and conduct. May we strive to keep these verses before us as we interact with others in the name of Christ.