Lesson 7 -- first quarter 2004
January 18, 2004
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
Integrity of speech
Air is an extremely precious commodity; without it we would die quickly. Even so, most of us rarely give it any thought. And why should we? We have it in abundance all around us and we have easy access to it. We don't worry about running out of it. We don't worry about wasting it. We don't even worry about the mechanics of using it. We just breathe and breathe. And we just talk and talk.
Maybe if air were more difficult to acquire and use we would be more careful about the speech we produced by it. Maybe if we only had a limited quota of air to use we would be less careless about how much of it we wasted in speech. Come to think of it, though, my personal allotment of air is limited. God has indeed established my individual quota of air to use, and after that -- the judgment.
Job's comments in Job 27:3,4 got me to thinking along these lines. I hear him saying, "As long as I have air flowing in and out of my lungs and over my vocal cords, I'll not waste it with unwholesome, worthless speech." We should all strive for that sort of integrity!
"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). What a standard by which to measure our speech! I don't use it near often enough. Do you?
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). What a motivator for wholesome, edifying speech! I don't think of it near often enough. Do you?
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). What a mission for my speech! I don't aim for it near often enough. Do you?
Integrity of focus
We all have a certain focus to our living. In essence, that focus is one of only two options. Our focus is either temporal or eternal. One of those two value systems drives and gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
Job spoke of "an iniquity to be punished by the judge," adding that had he been guilty of that, "I should have denied the God that is above" (Job 31:28). Whatever it was he had in mind, doing it is clearly a choice for unwholesomeness. What could Job have had in mind? Well, that sentence begins by zeroing in on having a temporal focus (Job 31:24,25).
What is your focus? If you don't work at it constantly, your focus will naturally be temporal. If you don't discipline yourself to look upward, your eyes naturally will turn downward. If you don't put forth the effort to look to an extraterrestrial future, you naturally will be stuck in the quagmire of an earthly present. If you don't determine to live for Jesus and His kingdom, you naturally will live for yourself.
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1,2). "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). So let's get our focus right!
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