Create by: Hungsu Lim December 18, 2015 at 4:33 pm
[Advent Devotion] Day 17 “Speak Life”
“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.” (Ezekiel 37:7 NIV)
Sometimes I try to be prophetic. I want to speak the truth. But when the truth is not paired with love, it can sting a little.
One Sunday afternoon, the senior pastor and I were preparing for a church visioning meeting, and we decided to speak the truth—though I am uncertain how much love was in it. We wanted the people to wake up and realize just how seriously in trouble the church was. With my amateur editing skills, I altered a picture of the church sign to read “Closed,” and we projected it onto a big screen. Then came the speech: “If you, you, you . . . don’t, don’t, don’t . . . we will die, die, die.”
There are times when God is asking us to speak the truth, but always it should be spoken in the context of love. I forgot that part. The visioning meeting was not a disaster, but there was some finger pointing and blame. Quickly I realized that if we were going to experience new life, it was not going to be the result of focusing on the problem. What we needed were solutions.
I began to ask myself this question: What do you see? There were some really fantastic people in the church, and they had beautiful gifts. What if I focused what I said—prophetically—on what they could do well instead of on what was not happening? What if I spoke life into the people instead of death? That’s exactly what God was asking Ezekiel to do—to speak life into those dead bones.
I had been so focused on naming the problem that it had blinded me to the solution that was right in front of my face: the people. People are God’s greatest resource. As I began to speak life into the beautiful gifts that people had and were using in the church, we began to experience change. I changed, and the people changed as a result.
Our words matter. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they have the ability to bring life. My words changed from “We are dying people” to words such as this: “What if, Donna, you make that delicious bundt cake you make for every carry-in dinner and take it to the kids at the local homeless shelter? I know they would enjoy it. I know I do! And while we are there, we will play some games and talk with their parents.” These words gave Donna purpose, but they also changed my perspective. The more I spoke life, the more we believed; and the more we believed, the more I spoke.
Words are powerful. It may sound silly to say that vocabulary plays such an important part in bringing renewed life, but it’s true. So each day I think about how I am speaking the truth in love into the people around me: my spouse, kids, friends, neighbors, and even the strangers I meet.
Just as God challenged Ezekiel, God is challenging us to speak life into death. Today, speak life!
PRAYER: Jesus, open my mouth to speak life into circumstances. Challenge me not only to name the problem but to speak life into the situation and solution; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
(from “SENT: Devotion” Week 4 – Jesus Brings New Life by Rachel Billups)
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