Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Feel The Burn

We lived in Montana when Glacier National Park suffered a massive forest fire. We were over twenty miles away from the fire but we still felt the effects of the fire. The air was heavy and thick with smoke, stifling and difficult to breathe. The smoke burned our eyes and made them water. The days were dark, the sun obscured by thick, black clouds. A layer of gray ash covered our cars and windowsills. The smell of charred wood clung to the air, tainting every breath with that unforgettable smell. It was a pretty large fire, started by a lightening strike, and left to burn itself out. (National Parks policy is to let the fire burn and not fight it) It destroyed thousands of acres and drove wild animals out of the park. It was devastating and destructive. It was awful!
"Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
James 3:5-6
What a strong warning by James! Scattered throughout the Bible, are numerous admonitions and warnings to watch our words, to guard our tongues, to be careful of what we say, and to think before we speak. Negative, harmful, ugly and downright ungodly speech is an epidemic in our country. I was talking with a friend just yesterday about the power of words, their power to offend, to destroy, to crush. We live in such a sit-com society. Conversations are no longer kind and gracious but are now filled with curse words and vile slang. There are no private topics anymore, anything is deemed fit to talk about in public. Most of us think it is okay to make jokes at another's expense with little or no thought to the effect the "joke" has on their spirit. Most of us throw around words haphazardly, oblivious to their meaning or intent. Brothers and sisters, I think we ought to be more careful with our words. There is a reason we are to use caution. We are Christians and as such we represent Christ. We are to be different from the world, that means in our language too. And words can be dangerous! James says our tongues are a spark. They can set the course of a life on fire. Some of us have been burned by the careless words of friends. Our hearts and our spirits have been charred, scarred beyond recognition. We are not the person we were, thanks to that little spark, the spark that changed our life. Some of us are firestarters, we toss around words soaked in the kerosene of crude and lit with a carelessly tossed attempt at humor. And then the fire is lit and the damage is done.
Many years after the fire in Glacier, the scars were still visible. Visitors to the park noticed blackened fields, barren of growth, a few dark, gnarled and broken sticks, standing where the lush, green forest once was. No longer could one see bear and moose, bighorn sheep and herds of elk just barely out of reach. Signs of life were there alright, but now they were difficult to find, requiring binoculars and a keen eye. Likewise the beauty of God's magnificent creation was now draped in black and death, as if in mourning.
The same can be said for the spirit set ablaze by destructive and devastating words. The scars are visible for years to come. Signs of growth are obscured by the wounded heart and the aching soul. Life is there but visible only to the keen and compassionate eye. A once vibrant and sparkling life is now draped in blackness, as if grieving for the past, a time when their confidence was intact and their spirit soared, a time when they were willing participants in life. Bitterness and unforgiveness grows where love and friendship once flourished.
If our tongue has sparked this calamity, we need to repent. We need to listen and really hear the warnings of the Word. We need to control our tongues--whether our words are written or spoken, I believe the same principle applies. Our words can either destroy a spirit or heal one. They can tear down a city or build one up. They can encourage or devastate. Both are eternally significant. The significance is not only for the victim of our tongue-lashing but for us, also. "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." James 1:26 That says that no matter how faithful I am in attendance, no matter how benevolent to the poor, no matter how evangelistic, if I am not trying to control my words, the rest is worthless. Worthless as in having no value, futile, useless. That is both powerful and convicting.
God wants us to be on fire. He wants us to be ablaze with passion for Him. He wants us to set others on fire. He does not want the fire to be the fire of destruction and death. We have the Spirit within us to set the world on fire for God. We have the power of the Word. Let's be careful that our fire is the fire of passion rather than evil. Both will change the course of our lives and the lives of others.

Peace
Neva

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so guilty of this. Thank you for reminding me that I represent Christ with my words.

Love ya
Rachel

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our words are so powerful both in what we choose to say and in how we choose to say them. To carelessly throw out words without thinking of the consequences can truly be devastating. I have always wondered why "friendly jibes" are so prevalent amongst us and encouraging words are often hard to find. I too love the reminder that I represent Christ with my words, therefore I need to coose my words wisely. Thanks for a great post.
Debbie W.

1:12 PM  
Blogger jel said...

I too am guilty of this !

AWESome post, and thank you!


huggs

1:33 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Our tongue can sure put a bad taste in our mouth.

1:53 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Foot in Mouth disease is hard to cure. Too bad it can become an epidemic before you even realize you have it.

Kathy :)

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch, once again I am convicted. You are touching a nerve that needs to be touched.


Carlos

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what everyone else says. This is good.


Sarah J.
PS. Things are so much better, thanks Neva. You are a godsend.

5:19 PM  
Blogger His Girl said...

Another great post on a topic that is always appropriate. I come from a family that prides itself on sharp wit...and that has been hard to outgrow as a Christian. Thank you for the encouragement to treat all with the love and respect God expects!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Neva,

I have such a problem with this. One time a asked a friend to pray that God would send a 1000 angels to board up my mouth. Her response, "I'm afraid you will die of a heart attack."

Now I spend a lot of time praying, "God place you hand gentle over my mouth." I can tell it's working.

Monalea

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It always hurts me that I hurt others with my sarcasm and caustic remarks. I seem to have no stopgate on it. I would appreciate prayers to help me exercise some self control over my tongue.
This post felt like you were talking to me, all the signs of a guilty and I mean guilty conscience.
Carol

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so important for body growth. We have got to stop tearing each other apart and start building each other up.

Pat

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In areas of self-control this is probably the most important. Like you said it is by far the most damaging but has the potentioal to be the most healing.
great post

Corinne

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets set the world on fire for God rather than burn them up with our words --i like this post.

Lyndsay

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva
I have been gone on vacation. I am back and will play catch up on the past posts but wanted to tell you that I appreciated this post. We don't pay enough attention to our words.
I am praying for your grandson

Jean

12:09 AM  
Blogger Live, Love, Laugh said...

AMEN, this is a wonderful thought provoking post!

6:19 AM  
Blogger ben overby said...

Neva,

I spent last Sunday night trying to help someone who'd been slammed by silly though hopeful words. The words were intended as mere sarcasm--but sarcasm usually has a victim. Words are one of the most creative powers we have. We can speak them to glory of God and in a way that edifies others, or we can blurt out insanities that make the world a lesser place.

Great reminders, Neva. Thanks

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being torched by thoughtless and cruel words is one of the worst experiences in the whole world. The wounds last a life time and are devastating. We need to be more careful. We will be held accountable for what we say.

Good post.
Shari

8:12 AM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

Great thoughts and reminders. Words can cut so deeply and once they have escaped our mouths, there is no taking them back. Apologies can be accepted, but the sting of the words lingers on. May we all strive to be more Christlike with our words. Thanks Neva!

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am touched by your message. I know I need to repent of this evil sin. I often forget that i am my brothers keeper and to destroy them even with something as simple as words is sinful.

Yvonne

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to say I am sorry to so many people. I remember what a scorched soul feels like.

Jeneane

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a struggle for me. I want to be a better christian but my mouth often gets in the way. I like Monaleas prayer.

Karli

10:23 AM  
Blogger smile4udonna said...

this is so true and i'm guilty, just as we have the power of death in out tongue we also have the power of life, it is no mistake the Bible starts out God said let there be light, and then Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness with It is written.....If we could all get in our spirit how powerful our words really can be if we believe, mountains would be moved. God bless and have a wonderful holiday weekend.

2:18 PM  

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