Life. You either give it or you take it. You either breathe it in or choke it out. You either feed it or you starve it. There are only ever two options when it comes to life, one is to thrive and the other is to wither. This goes for both our own lives and the lives that we interact with every day. Our words and actions have the ability to either give life or to diminish it. The catch is that we have to wake up every day and choose which one we want to be. A life-giver, or a life taker.
There is no easier way to build someone up or tear them down than by what you say. We so seldom think about the impact our words can have. Too often we throw them around like light-hearted confetti when in actuality they are more akin to razor blades, cutting people deep and without mercy, often without us recognizing it.
What happens is that we (myself included) neglect to think about how our words will affect the person on the receiving end. We spit them out, eager to get our two cents in; but we ignore the fact that most times those two cents are actually for our benefit, not theirs. Most often what people need isn’t someone to point out their flaws or to offer advice, what they need is someone to come along and remind them of the person they’ve forgotten they are. Our job is not to find the chinks in someone’s armour and make them bigger, it is to come alongside and breathe life back into the suffocating chaos of surviving. Words have so much power, so let us not only seek to speak life into others; but let us also seek to speak life into ourselves. When we are kind and loving with ourselves it is easier to do the same with others.
Does it Bring Life?
Our thoughts control the rest of our lives. What we think feeds into how we act. This begs the question, “Are my thoughts edifying?” Do they lift me up and bring me closer to God, or am I so absorbed in my worldly life that that way of thinking has permeated my mind?
We are charged with the responsibility of guarding our hearts and our minds, protecting them from the deceptions the world tries to feed us. When we seek to align our thoughts with God’s word and his call on our lives then we will automatically begin to think in a way that brings life. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we are to “take every thought captive.” In the act of examining our thoughts, we are able to discern and acknowledge the origin of our thoughts. Are they meant for creation or destruction? Do they align with God’s Word or the words of the world? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves when we take stock of what’s in our minds. This makes it easier for us to determine if our thoughts are feeding us or starving us. If they are building us up or tearing us down.
Life to the Full
We aren’t meant to simply walk through life in a daze, we are meant to live it to the fullest extent. To grab it in our hands and wring it dry. To soak up every last drop, wasting nothing. But in order to do that, we have to take stock of where we are drawing life from. If we draw it from earthly sources it will inevitably run dry, but if we draw it from heavenly sources they will never run dry. In the Bible, Jesus says time and again that if we seek our life in him, grounding our thoughts and actions in him, then he will grant us a source of life that will never run dry. One that will never disappoint us, or make us feel like we’ve messed up. Our life in Christ isn’t one of condemnation, trying to reach unattainable standards or follow erroneous rules. It is one of finding true value and belonging.
We are promised a life full of blessings and joys, of purpose and love. But it’s up to us to choose it. We can remain wrapped up in the world, taking what looks to be sweet and life-giving but is really rotten and life-taking. Or we can seek a life of abundance, of purpose, and of love. One that comes with no pretences or hidden strings, only pure unadulterated life. Life to the fullest. A life that only comes from Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown tired of acting in a way that slowly bleeds the life out of me. I no longer want to advance the withering of others, I want to speak life, advancing their growth. I want to build people up, not tear them down. I want to focus my thoughts on Christ, not on the passions and thrills of this world.
I want to be a life-giver.
So let’s stand tall, grabbing life with both hands and living with a heart bursting with the promise of a full life and a head centred on the one who spoke that promise.