Devotional: A Great and Noble Task – Attitude and Words

Devo2Our theme for September 2009 is, “Pierce my heart in the small stuff.” This can be approached from many different angles, but first we’ll delve into our main scripture, Matthew 5:18: “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (NASB)

Understanding Matthew 5:18

The King James Version of the Bible words Matthew 5:18 differently, but we can easily break it down: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Jesus is speaking to the multitudes, saying that until God has accomplished all that He desires to accomplish, nothing—not even a jot (the English form of the smallest Greek letter, the iota) or tittle (a point)—shall pass away from His word. The word of God is unchangeable, just like He is unchangeable. (Malachi 3:6a; Psalm 90:2) We don’t know all of God’s plans or thoughts, because His thinking is so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), but it is obvious that even things that seem “small” to us are very crucial to His work through us on earth! Sometimes we get in ruts, and life feels like a never-ending pattern of going through the motions—how terrible! With that kind of feeling, nothing we do seems very important! Let’s wake up and make a conscious effort to allow Christ to shine through us in all the “small stuff” in our lives. What kind of daily things might we pass off as “small” or unimportant in relation to our spiritual lives?

Our Attitude

Often, we forget to pay attention to our attitude. The way we say things, and our body language, are big indicators of how we really feel about things. Say you’re with friends Sunday afternoon, when a glance at the clock reminds you that evening worship service begins in thirty minutes. You roll your eyes, sigh, and say, “Well, I gotta go to church now. I guess I’ll see you guys later.” When you arrive at the church building, you slump in, take a seat on the back pew, cross your arms—and stay that way the entire service. You might not consider this attitude of any importance, but what kind of impression does this make on people for our Lord? How do you think God feels when we come to worship Him and have this awful attitude? He deserves so much better. When we have an attitude such as this toward serving and worshiping our great Father, how can we honestly say we are excited to tell others about Him? In the June devotional, we talked about the kind of attitude a worker for Christ must have; we must be respectful, confident in Him, willing to work, steadfast, and cheerful! (Philippians 2:12-18) We should have a mind like Christ (Phil. 2:5); He certainly had a good attitude toward serving His Father! (John 6:38, 9:4-5) Our attitude toward spiritual things certainly has a huge impact on the people in our lives. We cannot consider our attitude as something small; we are representing Christ!

Our Words

Devo1I don’t need anyone to tell you how powerful the tongue is: but how little time we take to prepare our words! Words can be small, but powerful. In James 3:5, we read, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (emphasis mine) Think of the statement, “I love you.” That’s one of the shortest sentences, but definitely one of the most meaningful! On the other hand, harsh, careless words uttered in a moment of anger or thoughtlessness can do damage that can take a great deal of time to undo. Thinking before speaking is something that sounds like a small task, but is truly a great challenge. The book of Proverbs says a lot about the tongue:

  • “…he who restrains his lips is wise.” (10:19b)
  • “He who guards his mouth preserves his life…” ( 13:3a)
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly…” (15:1-2a)
  • “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer…” (15:28a)
  • “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace…” (17:27-28a)
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (18:21a)
  • “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (21:23)

It is plain to see how much our words can do. A sincere, “Have a good day,” and a smile to a cashier can brighten their day! A thoughtful, “Thank you,” to someone who prepared your meal will be so appreciated. You might think your words are of small importance, but they contain great power! May our hearts be pierced to use “small” words wisely!

Check back soon for part two.

By Hannah Smith

Speak Your Mind