“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.” Ephesians 4:29 (Amplified Bible)
A little back story for you: these two blocks of Scripture have been in front of me in some form or the other for a couple of years now. They are not new revelations to me; they have been pulling into my heart’s driveway and blowing the horn repeatedly. Why? Because I have consistently been terrible at carrying them out. In the past 4 days, they have shown up again. Only this time, they arrived almost simultaneously. So, neither is new individually to me, but as a duo, they are coming at me in a fresh and hard-hitting way.
You see, for the first time, I see the unavoidable link between the two. To be who Jesus wants me to be, I must practice both in order to satisfy the demands of each. He is calling us to be a people who make a difference in the world, but we cannot do that until we become a people who make a difference inside of our own churches. We must love each other well in our seats/pews before we can ever hope to make a move in the outside world. We must stop tearing each other down and speaking so loosely as to make our brothers/sisters stumble to have any hope of loving each other well.
So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m setting out to accomplish what God has been calling me to all along. I’m going to commit to putting into action the second passage, so I can take a step toward the first one. It isn’t going to be easy, and I’m going to fail on the front end, but I WILL get back up when I do and start again until it becomes an everyday practice in my life.
I challenge all of you who read this to consider the implications of these verses on your life. Consume them and allow God through His Holy Spirit to make them personal, real, and applicable to you. Let’s see how far that takes us to being the disciples God has called us to be.