Dear, dear friend,
It is extremely rare that I feel God gives me words to speak to a specific person in my life, and even when He does, I am hesitant to speak them. It feels arrogant -- it feels presumptuous -- it requires courage I don't always have. But you have spoken truth to me before that you felt I needed to hear, so I hope you (and any other readers who may also need this message) take these words in the same spirit.
As I sat listening to the sermon yesterday, one word from the pastor brought up other words from this week . . . which brought up other words from my past . . . and ultimately the Lord brought your face, vividly, to my mind. It started with . . .
. . . The story in Mark 1 of the demon-possessed man. "What do you want with us?" the evil spirits in him screamed at Jesus. "Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!" To which Jesus responded with a stern rebuke: "Be quiet!" Or as the pastor paraphrased, "Put a lid on it!"
Sometimes, the evil spirits around us (or within us) need to be told immediately and emphatically to put a lid on it. And this reminded me of . . .
. . . A comment a friend had about my post a couple weeks ago about MLK and adultery. She told me when she started reading what I wrote, she wanted to tell me to stop focusing on the sin and forgetting the restoration that God can bring from it -- "because evil would love for that to happen." Evil would love for that to happen. The enemy loves for us to speak of his work. It brings him glory.
What a sobering thought. I, through the words I speak, can either bring glory to God or glory to the enemy. God forbid that I glorify the wrong entity. And it reminded me of . . .
. . . Many years ago, when a friend was comforting me in a moment of sudden overwhelming crisis. After crying with me for a few minutes, she pulled herself together and began to pull me together by saying, "Okay, we need to start focusing on what's true. This is true -- let's think about that. This is true -- let's meditate on that. This thing here: that's speculation. We don't know that it's true, so we're not even going to go there. God is truth, He lives in truth, and we need God's presence here, so truth is all we're going to speak."
Amazing and powerful words my friend spoke to me that day. They have come back to me in many a trying time. "Whatever is true . . . think on these things," Paul tells us in Philippians, and in 2 Corinthians he reminds us to "cast down imaginations." Focus your thoughts on what is true, and only let those words escape your lips. Which brought to mind a song . . .
. . . A song that I know you hear on K-LOVE all the time, too. Toby Mac reminds us to "Speak life - speak life, to the deadest darkest night . . . when the sun won't shine and you don't know why." Mac has been singing this to me all morning this morning. I've heard much teaching (Christian and secular) on the power of our spoken words, and I know you have, too, because you've shared it with me.
My friend, I know life is hard, and it's particularly hard these days. But I want to remind you of the power of the words we speak. "The Lord inhabits the praise of His people," we are told in Psalm 22. Our words can glorify God and bring us into His presence, or that can bring glory to the enemy and give him more power over us than he has a right to. There are thoughts and words that Satan brings to our mind that we need to, emphatically, tell him to put a lid on.
Watch your words, my dear friend. Speak words of hope . . . speak love . . . speak truth . . . speak life. Even if just to yourself.