November arrived with some chilly temperatures for us this week! It’s nice to pull out some cozy clothes and start planning our Thanksgiving menu. I think I prepare more food every year as I try to include everyone’s favorites!
While I was working on this post Tuesday afternoon, life interrupted. I got some information that frustrated me. In the overall scheme of things, it’s NOT a big deal. But it potentially changed some plans I’d already made and worked our family’s schedules around.
So what did I do? Grumbled to myself – and a little bit to my daughter who was home – and let discontentment grow because of my thoughts. I wallowed in that frustration for a little while. In fact, I put away my laptop because I didn’t have the focus to write anymore!
Once I’d calmed down, I realized that what I’d needed in that moment was this post. I let my thoughts determine my outlook. The Bible verse I’ve been meditating on – Psalm 19:14 – to the rescue!
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.“
My thoughts in that moment were running my life, and not in a good way. There have certainly been other situations where it was my words that caused a problem for me.
So if we want this verse to be our prayer every day – and I do – then how can our words and our thoughts please God on a regular basis? What words and thoughts would He approve?
I think we can search the Bible and find several answers to those questions. Today we’ll look at three ways I believe our words can be pleasing to Him, followed by three that are related to our thoughts.
1. Our words are gentle.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” ~Proverbs 15:1
When someone uses an angry or irritated tone with us, it’s easy to be quick with a sarcastic comeback or a sharp retort. Replying in kindness may mean we have to take a second to frame our response. It takes self-control not to respond in the same way they talked to us. But any interaction with others is going to have a better outcome if we’re not harsh or argumentative with our words.
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” ~Proverbs 16:24
2. Our words encourage others.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” ~Ephesians 4:29
It’s often more natural to use our words to criticize and tear down. But words of grace, compassion, and kindness will build up the one we’re talking with. What does that person need – comfort, wise counsel, motivation, sympathy? Our words should nurture and inspire.
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:11
3. Our words are thankful, not complaining.
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” ~Hebrews 13:15
Isn’t it easy to complain??!! We don’t have to wonder how God feels about complaining. He tells us pretty plainly in Numbers 11:1
“And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”
We make a choice every day whether or not we’ll live with a thankful spirit. Our words will reflect which choice we’ve made. Let’s choose gratitude.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18
Now let’s switch to ideas that will help us have thoughts that please God.
1. Our thoughts center on God’s Word.
“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” ~Psalm 119:97
It’s wonderful if we can start our day with some time in the Bible. We can’t center our thoughts on it if we don’t know it! Scripture is where we find joy, peace, and His promises to us. Maybe you need sticky notes or 3×5 cards around your house, or an open Bible on a table just to remind you to focus on His Word.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” ~Joshua 1:8
2. Our thoughts are pure.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8
This verse tells us exactly what to think about. It could be a whole blog post on its own! But I chose to focus on the word “pure.” An impure thought may come into our minds, but do we dwell on it or thrust it aside? Let’s keep our thoughts on pure, lovely, and virtuous things.
3. Our thoughts are governed by humility.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” ~Philippians 2:5-8
There’s no room for pride or comparison in our thoughts. You’ve probably heard the C.S. Lewis quote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Thinking of others and their needs will lead us in the right direction, especially as we follow Jesus’ example of submitting ourselves to the Father’s will.
As is evidenced by the story I started with here, I’ve not mastered these six things! But I believe if we seek to have our words and thoughts line up with God’s Word, we’ll be well on our way to living for Him.
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