Which Language Do You Speak Most?

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Matthew 12;34b (NASB)

Our choice of words makes a difference. Sure, we use words to influence others, but I’m more interested at the moment in what our words reveal about us and how we may be influenced by our own words. Consider these three phrases:

I want to… This is the language of self-centeredness. It’s all about me. My desires may be good, or they may be bad. It doesn’t matter, they’re mine. And I intend to satisfy them.

I need to… This is the language of obligation. Again, the source of that obligation may be good or it may be bad. It could be rooted in a healthy sense of responsibility, or in fear, or in selfish ambition, or in legalism.

I choose to… This is the language of love…or not.  Love, at it’s core, is an act of the will – a continuous set of decisions we make.  If God had not given us a free will, it would be impossible for us to love. When our choices are motivated by the best interest of others, we demonstrate love. When motivated by our self-interest, it’s selfishness. God equipped us to choose.

I can choose to do what I want to do, and if I have been transformed to desire the things that please God, fulfilling my desires is a good thing.

I can choose to do what I need to do, and if my needs are aligned with loving God and loving others, with faith that He will take care of me (Matthew 6), then meeting my obligations is a good thing.

Perhaps saying “I choose” more than “I want” or “I need” would make me more aware of the motivation behind my choices. The synergy between heart and mouth might be a powerful tool in the transformation from selfishness to love.

I don’t want to, but I choose to.  I don’t need to, but I choose to.  I choose acts of love, acts of worship.

More than Words…

“Prayer is something deeper than words.  It is present in the soul before it has been formulated in words.  And it abides in the soul after the last words of prayer have passed over our lips…Prayer is a definite attitude of our hearts toward God, an attitude which He in heaven immediately recognizes as prayer, as an appeal to His heart.  Whether it takes the form of words or not, does not mean anything to God, only to ourselves.”

– Ole Hallesby, Prayer, p18

Make my day…

I was visiting Atlanta last week and went for a long walk one afternoon in search of a good cup of coffee.  As I passed a school crossing guard standing by herself, in a moment of inspiration I simply said, “Thanks for doing what you do!”  I could tell I had made her day from the way her face lit up as she said, “Why, thank  you!”  Whether it did or not, it made my day to be uncharacteristically sensitive to the opportunity for a simple kindness.