Do we even think before we speak? Have we ever contemplated the perception others hold of our vulgar language? It seems in this day and time, every other word out of the mouths of some is a vulgarity of some sort: MF this, OMG that! Where did it all come from?
When I was young, I remember fearing retribution if I even thought a vulgarity. Such words were not typically uttered in the hearing of mixed company. As a general rule, men respected the presence of a woman and omitted such words from conversation. The impact of language on children was also considered. “Children Learn What They Live” (Nolte, 1954). Today, many women have language as atrocious as that of most men. This is sad. Even before birth, children hear these words as a part of everyday communication.
In verse 29 of Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to keep corrupt communication out of their mouths altogether. He told them every spoken word should be considered carefully and have a purpose. It should instruct, lift-up, praise, and exhort. Idle vulgarities were not to be voiced because of the negative influence and effect they have on others.
Do you think before your speak? Do you stop, think, and rephrase before you say words that impact others negatively? This is one area of living to which Christians are to pay special heed. Your spoken word reveals more to others than you might think. Do the words you speak reveal Christ in your life?
If we wish to center ourselves upon God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must remove our minds from the concerns of daily living and focus upon those things which are eternal. We cannot focus upon material or relationship concerns and focus upon those things eternal at the same time. It is necessary that we remove our minds from the here and now in order that we might focus on the eternal order of things. What is happening in my earthly life at any given time must be secondary to that which is happening in my eternal focus.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those in attendance:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
If I am focused upon what I will eat, or what I will wear, I cannot truly focus upon God and His righteousness. However, if I am truly focused upon God and His righteousness, He provides what I will eat and what I will wear. Centering my thoughts and my life upon Him and His Son takes me away from my worries over daily concerns and places Him in charge of those things.
This does not mean there will be nothing for me to do in order to arrive at those needs. It means, if I am focused upon Him, I prioritize my actions so they are in line with his directives. He will guide me to His desires for my life, if I allow it.
When I open myself to God’s guidance, oftentimes I “just happen upon” the very thing I am needing or pondering. How does this happen? By freeing my mind from worry and daily strife, I am able to follow in His footsteps. I am living my life in a manner pleasing unto Him, and He places answers to my questions and needs in my path, if I am searching in His righteousness.
5 — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
6 — “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
7 — “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
9 — “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
10 — “But I rejoiced in the Lord Greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
11 — “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:5-11—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is telling them how to center themselves upon God, His Son, and all things eternal. He implores them to worry and fret over nothing, but in all things to give thanks in prayer and supplication. When they practiced this in their daily lives, he told them, they would have a peace beyond their understanding because their hearts and minds would be in Christ Jesus.
If I focus upon doing, thinking, and saying those things that will be pleasing unto God and Christ Jesus, I will have no cause for concern about what the day may require. All things, will fall into place when my focus is “eternity with God and His Son.” I must stress, however, I must do the deeds He would have me to do in order for this to occur. If I am a homemaker, I must do those things necessary to ensure my home runs smoothly. If I am employed outside the home, I must do those things required of me upon that job. If I am a public servant, I must do those things needed to meet the needs of the public. Whatever my lot in life, I must be actively pursuing the needs of that lot. I cannot sit idly by, doing nothing, for things to fall into place. This is not what God’s righteousness is about. God cares for us, when we free Him up to do so. We free Him up to do so by doing the things needed here on earth–but our minds and hearts should ever be in tune to Him and Christ Jesus.
11 — “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
12 — “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
13 — “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
14 — “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
15 — “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
16 — “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
17 — “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
Philippians 3:11-17—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Paul says in these verses, he has not yet attained the resurrection unto Christ, but is constantly reaching for that goal in thought, in mind, in action, and in purpose. He acknowledges that he has done things in the past for which most people would cast him to the devil and never allow him to enter heaven. But he must forget about those things. Christ has “apprehended him” to serve God in every endeavor. He has been forgiven those sinful acts and is commanded to set an example for others to follow. Thus, he reaches for those things which Christ holds in heaven for him, and he presses onward toward that mark–“the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He then turns to the recipients of his epistle and reminds them to join with him in being thus minded. When he refers to “as many as be perfect,” he is not meaning without fault. The word “perfect” here means “mature.” So, if we are mature in Christ, and our minds are focused amiss, he tells us, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”
I was in conversation with my brother a while back when he stated, “Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to know through the mouths of those with whom we are speaking.” I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes, in our daily conversations, we will “hear” exactly what God wants us to “hear.” The question is, “Are we listening?” This is where our “focus” comes into play. If my mind is where it should be as a Christian, if it is focused on doing, thinking, saying, and purposing according to God’s righteous guidance, I will be shown. Sometimes, I will be shown through something I “read.” Sometimes, I may be on an errand out and about when I am guided to where I will “see” what God wants to happen in my life. “Am I watching?“
My part in “pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is to be “tuned in” to God and Christ Jesus. Then I can know God’s will and receive the “peace that passeth understanding.” This is how I know I am “centered on eternity.”
Where is your “center” today? Is it on earthly matters and concerns, or is it wrapped around God, His Son, and their will for you? May He heap blessings upon you in untold number when you “focus” upon Him and His righteousness–when you are “centered on eternity.”