And so i commence.
I am so weak. Recently, i have seen my weakness in my inability to keep up certain "Christian" habits. You know, the ones....read your Bible and pray every day and go to church twice a weak and also women's group and revival meetings for the entire month of February and fast through the month of January and volunteer for the nursery once a month and............and............and........
Honestly, after 30-something years of attempting to follow Christ, i still struggle with the first few items in that list. And sometimes accomplish the ones at the end of the list without the ones at the beginning.
Recently, i have started making use of the fact that God is not afraid of technology. For example, if you can't manage to lasso in your mind and your eyes and your wakefulness and your attention span long enough to read your Bible for five minutes and possible cover a whole chapter, you might be able to pop in one of those New Testament CDs you bought 7 or so years ago -- or use an app on your overpriced pocket computer to listen to the Bible. Or at least to have the audio of someone reading the Bible playing at an audible level in your earshot, preferrably, without anything else playing in your earshot at the same time. If you can entice your spirit to overcome your flesh for long enough to put in enough effort to install an app or pop a CD in a CD player (are those obsolete already), then you can still get some Word in your mind, and God's Word doesn't return void, even when your lazy flesh wants none of it.
Thus, i have discovered that my 30-45 minute commute to work in the morning, is a wonderful time to turn off the radio, with the touch of a little button, and activate a CD of someone reading from the New Testament. And even though i wasn't listening very well the first couple of times, just hearing the Word of God began to wake me up (my spirit that is) and make me hungry to hear more.
Today, i listened to the first four or so chapters of Colossians. I was even interested enough to back it up and repeat certain parts that captured my interest. Here's the part that captured my interest the most:
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt..."
That's the first part of the 6th verse of chapter 4.
I had to start thinking about it. What does that mean? What does it look like?
full of GRACE
Grace is unmerited favor.
How do you put unmerited favor in your conversation?
What is unmerited favor? I think it's the embodiment of agape love. You know, the kind of love that loves those who don't love back or love first.
What does that look like in your conversation?
I think it's sincerely compassionate. Truly listening. Not gossiping. At all. Ever. Agape love is generous. How can i speak generously? I must need to share God's love in my words.
seasoned with SALT
Salt brings out the natural flavor of the food on which it is sprinkled.
How can i bring out the natural flavor of agape love?
Salt preserves nutrition and keeps it from spoiling.
How can i preserve with my words.
full of GRACE seasoned with SALT
I set out at the beginning of my day today with a prayer that God would help me follow this admonishment. That my conversation would bring out the natural flavor of agape love. That's a pretty big expectation.
You know what i discovered today?
I discovered that you can't fake conversation full of grace and seasoned with salt. It has to come from the heart. After all, "from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." Since i was paying attention, i noticed that my normal conversation is far too fond of criticizing instead of lifting up. Far too eager to please those who would seek to shun those who don't fit in or who seem odd. Too happy to love the nice people and not nearly eager enough to love those who don't love back or love first.
My mouth revealed what i didn't know about my heart.
full of GRACE seasoned with SALT
Six words that shined a bright light on the condition of my heart. Amazing. The Living Word.
And now i can keep listening and let it change my heart. My my words and my heart be full of GRACE seasoned with SALT. Funny, that describes the Word of God, itself, doesn't it? I guess i know where to start.