My Week Came Full Circle

In Bible study last week, we focused on bringing our mouths under control 
and using our words to speak life, 
and encouragement, 
and kindness to the people in our lives

Every morning, we opened God's Word and asked Him to speak to us through the following verses:

Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 10:11 - The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Proverbs 12:18 - There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 10:19 - When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Luke 6:45 - The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Proverbs 10:31 - The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

Proverbs 4:24 - Put away from you crooked speech,

and put devious talk far from you. 

Ephesians 4:29  - 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.

1 Timothy 3:11 - In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect (dignified), not malicious talkers (slanderers) but temperate (sober-minded) and trustworthy (faithful) in everything.

Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Every morning after reading and meditating on these verses, I felt a renewed sense of both brokenness about how poorly I manage my tongue, and fresh resolve to be intentional about speaking kindness and encouragement over the people I encounter. 

And every day...
I'm not kidding...
It got harder
and harder
and harder
to be kind, encouraging, and positive with my speech. 

To top it all off, on Friday 
- after I had spent a solid week asking the Lord to be changing my heart so that what came out of my mouth would better reflect His character - 
- and after I had purposed in my heart and successfully NOT said anything negative or harsh when it would have been very easy - 
from a very unusual place 
came a pretty back-handed attack on my integrity.

I was very frustrated indeed. 
But I had a weekend ahead of me and decided to be a big girl and not let it ruin any part of my day. 

Then, Sunday at church
our new campus pastor preached
about facing resistance. 

After we've purposed to follow the Lord, or decided to walk in obedience to Him, or anytime we say "Yes" to Him...

We turn around and find resistance there. 

He shared the story of Acts 13 where Paul and Barnabas received an invitation to share the gospel with Sergius Paulus (one of the most important political figures in the region), and then immediately faced a false prophet who strongly opposed them. 

He likened it to riding a bicycle with the wind at your back feeling absolutely great, and then turning around and realizing the wind is 50mph all in your face. 

But you have to push through it - even in 50mph wind - in order to get home. 

Paul and Barnabas didn't let the false prophet stop them from reaching Sergius Paulus. 
They looked past the obstacle and pushed through the resistance they faced. 

It makes sense now that the times I feel like the Lord impressed upon me and I responded with obedience (at least attempted obedience), I met stronger and stronger resistance every time I tried again! 

But it's to be expected. I think I missed that part at first. 

I think that's why we're told:
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."  Eph. 6:12

We're going to meet resistance. 
It's going to be hard to continue in obedience because we have an enemy that doesn't want us to succeed. 
Not only that, we have a flesh that needs to be beaten into submission because it doesn't want anyone else to call the shots either. (Rom. 7)

So with that, 
I'm going to remember that controlling my tongue
and being intentionally encouraging and life-speaking and kind
is going to be hard

But in the power of the Holy Spirit
I can - and will
eventually see my heart change 
and my tongue reflect the qualities I so want to characterize me. 

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Zech. 4:6