If You Say So - To Yourself

Randy Murray
So the Arkansas Piggies thoroughly thrashed the texas longhorns this past Saturday in a rematch of the old Southwest Conference days. Pastor Matt began this new series of messages with a not-so-subtle highlighting some of the game's stats and a declaration that "Texas is not back." Of course, coming into this game, Arkansas was predicted to come in 6th in the SEC West. Having begun at #20 in the polls, Texas had already moved up to 15 after beating an over-ranked Louisiana squad.  I guess sportswriters and even coaches can't make something so just because they say it or think it?
In this series, "If You Say So," Pastor Matt will be covering the power of our words, both written and spoken. He will also look at the source of those words and how they affect relationships with our spouses, children, and those around us. Most importantly, each week, he will bring us back to God's Word and what it says concerning us as believers and our interactions with other believers, be they family or friends. This week we began with the power of the tongue and how words we have spoken or have had spoken to us can become a permanent part of our memory, sometimes affecting relationships and even our behavior forever.
One of the passages in particular that Matt used was Ephesians 4:29, and it is of great value in setting the stage for this series, especially if it is taken in context:
"But ye have not so learned Christ;  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the Truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 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 4:20-29 (KJV).
The key verse for us during this series was the last one (emphasis mine); however, when we take it in the context of the passage, we see that in order for our words to minister grace to the edification of those around us, we must first "put on" that which God has accomplished for us in Christ. Literally, it is to "put on" the new man! In this chapter of Ephesians, Paul, our apostle, lays out the believer's walk in Christ and how that is to be accomplished. It literally begins and ends with our identity according to Him. Where do we find the power to accomplish that? What motivates us? Where do the things we say come from?
Our motivation:
"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 KJV).
The instructions:
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV).
The power:
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV).
Where it begins:
"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Ephesians 4:23 KJV)
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2 KJV).
Truth does not change. His Word is Truth. Pastor Matt ended his message Sunday with the illustration "be careful little eyes what you see"......and so on (now you'll sing it in your mind all day, please don't). The reality is that we have windows into our being and that in today's world, there is enormous background noise. We don't need to leave our windows open all the time. Unfortunately, the old "trash in—trash out" adage of the computer world rings true with the human mind.
Several years ago, while sitting around in the foyer one Sunday, Don Williams said something like this to a group of men:  "Fellows don't start your day or end it dwelling upon what's coming out of your TV, especially the news. It will steal your joy. Spend that time in the Word, and you'll be grounded in Truth.......it will give you the right perspective on the day and give you a better night's sleep."
Good words from a wise man. What we "put in" will inevitably come out in some form or fashion. Since we are ambassadors of God's grace and are to minister grace both to those in the Body of Christ and to those outside the body, it is essential that we be vigilant about what goes in so that we give the Holy Spirit some readily available ammunition to govern what goes out!

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