Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Word Up

We have been learning about patterns and processes and practices from God’s Word in Glow lately. Yesterday we explored what I think is the greatest, most important, practice to …practice… in our lives: Reading, speaking, meditating on, memorizing and believing the Word of God. The Bible. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” You can’t separate God from His Word—they are the same! So when you are giving your focus and mind and heart over to learn His Word, you are learning about Him.

If I want to get to know anybody that I don’t know and they have written down all the information about themselves, I’ll read it! And I’ll read it first, before I go exploring what other people have said about this person. But I have found that when it comes to God, often times we look to other people first. That’s backwards! Go to the Source!! God has given YOU access everything He has said about Himself and His Kingdom. Don’t let it be a wasted resource in your life. Read it! Learn it!

Learning, knowing, memorizing, meditating on God’s Word is SO important because it’s a word fight. It's always a word fight. You think of all the trouble you’ve gotten into over the years—it's probably because you believed words like “I need acceptance at all costs” or “I won’t be happy unless I do or have this”. Other people’s words have likely influenced you for good or for bad. Do you remember a teacher or parent telling you that you weren’t good at something? You probably carried that with you for a while. Conversely, if someone important to you told you that you were good at something, you probably carried that for a while, too. The power of words. It's amazing.

Even more influential than the words of others are the words we tell ourselves. We may take others words, the good or the bad, and make them our own, but the reason our own words to our own selves are so powerful is because they are repeated over and over and over. Sally isn’t in my ear all day long every single day telling me the same thing over and over again. But I am. I can hear my own words, either building myself up or tearing myself down, every single day, every single hour, every single minute.

So I better make my words count for my good.

I believe the best way to do that is to not use my own words at all, but to use God’s Words. After all, He made me. He knows my future. He knows what He created me to be and do and experience. Also, my words can be wrong. They are based on feelings, and oh how my feelings are prone to change. But not God’s Words. His Words are faithful, and they are forever.

Will you join me in this? Start repeating the real Truth—God’s Word—to yourself. Often. Daily. It’s a practice, after all.

Here are some examples we can work on this week:

Instead of repeating to ourselves, “I can’t”, why don’t we put God’s Words in our mouths and in our minds: “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Instead of the refrain, “I’m tired”, start saying what God says in Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

How about we stop saying “I’m too old”, and start really believing: “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!” Psalm 103:5

In the same vein, “I’m too young” is replaced with “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

When you hear that familiar “I don’t feel forgiven”, remind yourself that God has said in 2 Corinthians 5:21: For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

When your voice tells you “I’m afraid”, counter that feeling with the Truth of Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (I particularly love the Amplified version of this Verse: “Fear not, there’s nothing to fear…”)

These are just a few examples of how we can counter our negative thoughts, which spring from feelings and are subject to change at any given moment, with God’s Words, which are the most powerful weapon in a word fight. Ephesians 6:17 calls it “the Sword of the Spirit”. Believing God’s Words about me—and to believe them I have had to read them, recite them, think about them over and over---has been the thing that has grown me spiritually more than any other. Because in the process, in the practice of this, I have gotten to know God. I have reminded myself that His Words are truer than mine, and He has shaped me more into His image as I have submitted to this process.

It is a process. It does take practice. It’s a practice worth starting.