“In the Trap”

I really could not tell you how many times I have had my “size nine” foot in my mouth. I’m can’t remember what crow tastes like, but I have partaken in this bitter bird more than I care to recall. Words of scorn, criticism, and gossip has no place in either my life in Christ, nor my life in recovery from alcoholism. Too many times I have been critical in an attempt to be funny, not to put down, but this is totally unbecoming for a follower of Jesus. Words can tear down, they can build up. What rolls off of the tongue can be a curse, or a blessing…literally. Also, my words can put me in chains to others.
“You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.” Prov.6:2 NKJV
It is important to see character defects in myself. Yes, they are repugnant, reminding me of the heavy hurts and personal pain experienced from the cutting remarks from others. Especially those I wanted to be accepted by. Their words have carved me into a work of art you would say looks like a Picasso, “what is that ugly thing?” How did I respond to put-downs? I put someone else down. Maybe it was a morbid desire to share my pain with others.
Thank God for the gift of understanding how important it is to eliminate bad behaviors, sins that separate me from blessings, and from serving others. I desire to heal with what comes from my mouth, to pick up the broken person no one has ever been kind to. They are everywhere. So many coming into recovery carry the pain from words, inflicted on them by parents, siblings, and acquaintances that have been treated in the same manner.
Liberating Language
It is easy to hurt with words, but words can also trap you, place you into bondage. Making promises can be a curse from allowing your mouth to write checks your abilities cannot cash. Once you have committed you are snared, the person you promised, owns you. “Why didn’t I keep my big mouth shut?” you ask. The same reason we all do. We insist on self promotion, not honesty. Saying you will do this or that, and then not keeping your word, reflects you lack integrity and cannot be trusted. If you are in that situation, the passage above and read a little further.
“…do this,…deliver yourself, for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes…deliver yourself..Prov.6 :3-4
Admission is embarrassing, but freeing. If you don’t do this, admit you can’t follow through with what you promised, expect the cutting, hurtful words to come from others. Maybe you learn a lesson; don’t use your words to make impossible promises, don’t open your mouth in critical words or gossip. Let your words be a healing balm that brings God glory. Promise what your talents can deliver. Here’s a great use for your words, pray for those who have cut you with comments, ask God to open their eyes to the way their mouth works to snare them, or free them.
Heal with your words, keep yourself free from criticism, not just saying, but doing what you promise. Use the wonderful gift of language and communication to speak kindness, mercy, hope. Build each other up, blessing and filling all with faith.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!

Feeding the Baby

One of the most difficult things for anyone to do is admit their shortcomings and character defects. We are prideful in thinking that we do not have such, or that others do not notice our flaws. Over the course of our life we have on Earth, we develop many resentments, bad habits, and attitudes that define us. The deception that we cannot change, or that we are too old to improve, robs us of life and enthusiasm to flow with all God has for us.

It takes nourishment to exist. The food and water we receive not only keep us alive but also cause our healthy growth. If we grow up eating junk that is not good for us, the cells may not properly develop, and we may have a life of sickness, and may die prematurely. It is important to eat a proper diet for health and long life, but we still want to eat junk from time to time or we may become bored with eating…so we think.

This is true for our spiritual side, our mentality, and character and personality. Feeding daily on positives will build strong healthy character, and outgoing personality. Positive living can make the difference in how we see things and people, through empathetic eyes, or seeing what others can become, and how to solve problems instead of being a problem.

Spiritually, the knowledge of who I am in Christ, and how I approach God in prayer, and studying His Word, all come by the nourishment fed to my spirit. How do you and I nourish ourselves spiritually? It is our desire to know the Creator and search Him out that drives us to the place of prayer, and causes us to dust off the Bible and actually read it. Some unfortunately, never get to the nourishing part of spirituality, and remain babies…no growth.

That is true for self improvement in our total being. In recovering from addictions, we have to face our character flaws and remove ourselves from the thought that we can get well without others help, and God’s help, or staying clean and sober will be short lived. Resentments, attitudes, and bad habits have become our “babies” that we nourished while in the throes of addiction, we were the only person who mattered. We felt unique, no one was like us. Our babies wanted fed…and we nourished them with poison.

“Maturity consists in no longer being taken in by oneself.” – Kajetan Von Sclaggenberg “Do not pray for easier lives, pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.” -Phillips Brooks “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)

We must feed on goodness if we want self-improvement and a full life while we are here. To look back and say I gave it my best is good, but is it true? Think about you. (We should be good at that) Not in a way you see you, but how others see you. Will they say of you…he/she is a good spouse, a good father, a great employee. They go out of their way for others. He will give you the shirt off of his back. She is consistent, never thinking of herself. And the ones closest to us, our spouse, parents, and children, what do you think they think?

If we stop feeding our “babies” with self-deceit, and move toward maturity in service to God and others, intentionally putting our wants and needs behind everyone else’s wants and needs, we will be on our way to a full, mature life. Give thought to how you feed your body, what you allow in your mind, and feed the real you…your spirit every day with prayer and God’s Word. The effect will be felt by others around you.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith