I have several quirky sayings that I’ve picked up over the years. They are reminders to me to be careful what I think and what I do and what I say. It is not good works that earn our salvation, but it is because I am saved that I desire to please God with my life and to obey His commands. He is changing me to be more like Jesus and showing me that narrow path that leads to life. These help me stay on that path.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. (Isa 48:10 ESV)
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. (Psa 66:10-12 ESV)
Don’t get between the hammer and the work
When God is working in someone’s life, especially in our loved ones lives, He often allows them to suffer or at least feel the full effects of the natural consequences they’ve earned. It is not good for us to intervene in that hammering process. God is remaking, re-molding them into the likeness of Jesus and our intervention only slows this process (if not halts it). So don’t put yourself between God’s hammer and His work in the lives of others. You’re likely to get hammered on yourself. We can come alongside them and encourage them with God’s truth in His word, pray for them, and love them without trying to remove that painful element that God is using to refine them in His fire.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa 26:3 NIV)
Eyes on the Father
This one is a simple reminder that our circumstances should not hold our focus – God should. We should keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him and His plan for our lives. When we lose our focus on God, we become fearful, anxious, angry, or just lost off of the path that He would have us take. To stay on that narrow path that pleases God, we have to be in God’s word, praying without ceasing, and walking by faith not by sight. It reminds me of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Great book – you should read it if you haven’t.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (Jas 3:6 NIV)
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Pro 10:19 ESV)
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
You can all thank my dear mother for this one. If she only had a nickel for every time she said that to us! But what truth! Learning to only say that which is beneficial for others. A learned skill I’ll admit. For those of us who like to chat, it can help us to reign it in a bit. There is wisdom in silence. My husband is fond of saying, “Will my speaking improve upon the silence?” He’s a funny one!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29 NIV)
Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it true? Is it necessary?
My daugher just reminded me of one I overlooked.
Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus
Now remember that I didn`t create any of these. They are sayings that I`ve come across along the way and they`ve just stuck. But this one is a great reminder that I need to be aware that every problem in life is NOT mine to fix nor mine to carry. Set healthy boundaries with the people in your life who want to control, intervene in what God is doing, or simply take advantage of you. God`s word says that we are to help those who are in crisis but that each of us is to carry our own load. Only say yes to those things that God has asked you to do. This is where many of us get off track. We want to help, serve, and be a blessing to everyone. But people pleasing is not the same as God pleasing. We are not to be interveneing in everyone else`s life. We are to work diligently at home, life a quiet life, obey God, and not be busy bodies. We don`t need to be God`s Holy Spirit in someone else`s life and they shouldn`t be in ours. Ask yourself, “Who`s problem is it?”
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (Pro 21:23 NIV)
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Rom 12:3 ESV)
But for the Grace of God, There Go I
If it were not for the grace of God in my life, I would be a lost soul, a real mess. In truth, I am no better than anyone else. Even my best deeds are as filthy rags before my Lord. It helps me to have compassion for others – to imagine what life would be like walking in their shoes. It keeps me humble. It makes me grateful for all that God has provided for me in my life. It keeps all the glory focused on God alone. It makes me cringe every time someone is made fun of; that could be me. It keeps my mind and mouth in check.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mat 7:12 NIV)
That pretty much sums up the Christian walk doesn’t it? Build up, don’t tear down. That applies to all aspects of our lives. Would you like someone to say about you what you have said in the past year about the President of the United States? (pick one – it probably doesn’t matter) What about what you have said about those who disagree with you? What about what you have thought about those who have done you harm or just fallen short of your expectations of them?
Lord Jesus, we need Your forgiveness and Your Holy Spirit to help us walk as we ought. Bring to mind those times when we speak mindlessly or when we get in the way of what you are doing in someone else’s life. Help us to have self-control and to honor You with our thoughts, words, and deeds. Keep us ever mindful that others are watching us, and that we may be the only gospel they ever hear. May our lives bring glory to Your name. Help us to love others well. Amen.
One day even our hidden attitudes will be revealed. I pray that God will continue to do a work in your heart and mind as He is in mine. God has given us today, beloved. Let us be faithful in it. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Be encouraged. God has great things in store for you. Keep your focus on your Father. Press on.