Proverbs 15:1 Speaking Softly

Gentle with butterfly

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 

The fastest reaction that people have to what someone else says or does is with their words. People are quick to answer someone’s words or actions.

When the words or actions are harmful and offensive, the reaction is often spoken with harsh, condemning words. Retaliation is quick and swift in the attempt to strike back and make the person pay. Anger rises up and gets the best of a person.

Responding in this way, only causes the first person to respond with even more harsh and condemning words. This is what causes many fight and keeps many battles moving forward, rather than being solved.

Solomon realizes that a soft answer will keep anger at bay and calm a person down. Harsh words will only get a person more angry.

Harsh words are easy to speak and often are the first things that come out of a person. Believers are often quick to use harsh words under the disguise of trying to help the person see the error of their ways. Christians are often quick to condemn the sin in another person with harsh words, rather than showing true love.

The only time Jesus used harsh words was with the religious leaders who should have known better. With those who were lost in sin and did not know God in any way, He spoke with gentle words of love and kindness.

When words of condemnation and hate are spoken to unbelievers or even to other believers, it will raise up their anger. It will make a wrong even more wrong, causing greater battles and injury.

There is nothing harsh in the words of love, mercy and grace. Those are words that reach out to touch a person for God, revealing God’s true character.

As you go along in life there will be times when you will be hurt by someone or see someone steeped in sin. How you respond to that person will reveal the character of God. Your words can either draw the person towards God or push them away.

Harsh, condemning words will push them away and cause their anger to rise up against you and God. Soft and gentle, but firm words will calm them down and draw them towards Jesus.

How are your words causing others to act? Are they stirring up anger or are they drawing them towards God and diffusing the anger?

I pray today that you will know the love of God; that God will give you the words to speak; that you will speak out of the love God has for you and for others; and that your words will be the words of God to build up rather than tear down and destroy.

Fruit Of The Spirit: Love

Love on a fence

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

In the book of Galatians, Paul is talking to the church in Corinth. He is looking at a church that is being divided in what it means to be a believer in Christ. Some were stuck on the old way of doing things, such as circumcision and what is ate. Others were saying that there was freedom in Christ.

Paul points out that there are two ways to walk in this life. One is in the flesh, which is living in sin and sinful ways. The other is living by the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, which is living in righteousness and holiness.

Man at two paths

The challenge now comes in as to what does it look like to be holy before God. What does it look like to live a holy life or to walk by the Spirit?

Actions that occur in life have results. These results show the true nature of the action. Driving too fast around a corner will result in a crash. Telling lies will result in being untrustworthy.

Plants grow up and bear some type of fruit. It is a result of the plant growing and maturing and doing what it is supposed to do. Each plant bears fruit in accordance to what type of plant it is. An apple tree cannot bear oranges, but only apples. A pear tree cannot bear apples, but only pears. It has to keep within its own nature and what it is supposed to do.

Apple tree

Just as there a signs of what something is by its fruit or results, there are signs and results in those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Every believer will want (or should want) to live and walk as Jesus did. He was always led by the Holy Spirit in everything that He did.

Believers who are walking as Jesus did by the Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are results that will show when one is walking with God.

The first fruit that I will be looking at is love.

Couple on a bench

Love is something that people talk about a lot. They fall in love, they fall out of love. They love something. They love someone. They love to do certain things. And the list goes on. Yet, what is love? Is this the love Paul was talking about as a fruit of the Spirit.

To find out what love is we must look to the bible and see what its definition is. The greatest short definition of love is found in 1 John:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:8-10 

God is love and Jesus is the exact representation of God–love. God does not just tell us that He loves us, but He shows His love for us.

It is easy to say that you love someone or something, but it is harder to prove it. It takes effort on your part to show it.

Showing effort is easy sometimes. When things that are going well for you or people are treating you well, it is easy to say that you love that something or someone.

Running stairs

The real test of your love comes when things are not going well and others are not treating you correctly. You may love your car when it is running correctly, but it is easy to begin to hate and despise it when it keeps breaking down or has faults in it. How you react to the situation or person determines if you are showing love, if you really love the person.

Most often when someone treats a person badly, the reaction is anger and striking back, retaliation. People want to get back at the person or get even with him. Does this show love?

No, it shows selfishness and hatred.

Selfish me

Selfishness is the exact opposite of love. Love is all about the other person, whereas selfishness is all about self.

Look back at the verse John wrote. God showed His love by sending His Son as a sacrifice for your sins. Love is action, not just words. It is self-sacrificing action for others. Love is putting others above yourself, your needs, wants and desires.

This is the very opposite of what the world wants and displays. The majority of the world is all about self. This even occurs when large donations are given. The donations are given for a tax break or to look good to others, not out of true love. Often the donations are given out of the abundance, not out of the limited and need, or sacrificially.

Giving blood

Sadly many in the church have fallen into the same way of thinking as the world. People do various ministries in order to look good to God or to other people. They want to be seen as holy and righteous, when in reality they are very selfish.

Showing the love God shows will often be difficult and painful. The one who shows true love will often get hurt by the ones they are showing love to. Yet, this is what God wants of the believer.

We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to be just like God–love. We should be the embodiment of love, love incarnate.

As you are led and walking by the Holy Spirit, you will begin to show that perfect love. It may not be perfect, but it is striving towards the perfect love of God each and every day. Love will govern every thought, action and word each and every moment of every day. It will never take a day off from loving. It will never set love aside for selfish reasons or to get out of the struggle to love.

Love tiles on bible

The other benefit of showing true love is that you will not sin when showing that love. You will love God, so you will not do anything against God. You will love people, so you will never try to hurt them in any way on purpose. You will make the right choices every time, because they are motivated by love and by God’s love for you.

Seek God to reveal to you how your love life is. Is it an example of the temporary, selfish love that the world shows? Or is it the love that God has for you and this world, perfect, unselfish and self-sacrificing?

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to fill you up with His love. Allow His love to govern your every thought, action and word. Let the fruit of love be evident to every person who sees you.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Next week I will be looking at the next fruit–joy.

Proverbs 14:23 Hard Work Or Just Talk

Honey bee on flower

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

Talk is easy. People can talk about a lot of things that they will plan to do. Dreams and goals are often talked about and set on a daily basis by millions of people. Grand dreams of changing the world, inventing the newest gadget, starting a business, and much more.

Every new year, people will draw up elaborate lists of goals for the new year. Many times they will go into great detail of what the goal is and how they plan to accomplish it.

Out of all of the goals set, very few will ever be accomplished. Very few people will take the steps needed in order to fulfill the goal that they had set.

Solomon brings out a great truth about hard work and talk. Hard work will often lead to a profit or success, while just talking will bring only poverty.

It will often take hard work and dedication to accomplish a goal. Most goals are not easily accomplished.

It is common for people to seek to gain without the hard work. They want the ‘get rich quick’ method, rather than the slower hard work method. In the process, most of their goals are just talk, leading to nothing.

This can also be found in the life of a believer. Many believers talk about following God and believing in Jesus, yet, that is all it is…talk. Their lives never change. They continue to live the same way, often in sins, and refusing to be a witness.

Although salvation is free, God has work for every believer to do. It sometimes takes hard work to be a witness. It can be hard work to turn away form sin. It can be hard work to pray or read the bible. Yet, doing each of these and following God will bring about a profit of the soul.

Not working for God will bring to a poverty of the spirit and soul, missing what God has for the person.

Do not just allow yourself to talk about being a follower of Jesus, be one. Do the hard work God has called you to do.

Work at turning away from sin, work at being His witness, work at being like Jesus. Do what it takes to build your life into the image of Jesus. As you do your part, God will do His part and bring the reward and increase the efforts effects.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus brings; that you will work to turn from sin against God; that God will give you the strength to be His witness; and that you will not be a follower of Jesus just in words, but in action.

Proverbs 13:13 The Value Of Instruction

Assembling Legos

Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded. Proverbs 13:13 

Instructions are something that are found nearly everywhere and with everything. In order for a person to understand how something works or how he should do something, he must have some instructions.

The common joke among many dads is when their child is given a new toy that must be assembled. Instead of looking at the instructions, he chooses to ignore them and attempt to put the toy together on his own. Hours later the toy is still not put together, because pieces are missing or are in the wrong place because the instructions were not followed.

It is common for people to ignore some instructions, thinking that they know best.

This verse simply states that ignoring an instruction will come at a price, but following an instruction will bring a reward.

God has laid out instructions on how to live for Him and serve Him. There are many details about principles of living for God throughout the entire Bible. No matter what a person is dealing with in life, there is some instruction on how to deal with it in the Bible.

Yet, many people ignore the given instructions and try to do it on their own. As they do things on their own, they fail. Failure in following God comes with a price. One loses God’s favor.

Not obeying God’s instructions is to not love God, it is to reject God. Rejecting God is a death sentence of eternal value.

Those who choose to follow God’s instructions will reap of an eternal life of rewards. They will be filled with God’s peace, joy, strength and life. These things will come, no matter what one is going through in this life. However, follow God’s instructions out of love for Him, not out of duty or fear only.

Think about how great God’s love is for you in what He has done for you. Now return that love by respecting and following His commands to you.

Read the bible to find out what instructions He has for you. Pray daily and listen to what He has for you to do each day. Then do what He has told you to do.

Do not reject God’s instructions and bring on disaster. The price is too high for you to be able to fully pay for it and still live. Follow the instructions and reap the reward in the end.

I pray today that you will know what God’s instructions for you are; that God will give you strength to obey Him; that you will see the rewards God is giving you in obeying Him; and that you will find joy in following God.