who’s doing the talking?

I keep reading and rereading James 3, about controlling the tongue. I feel convicted about this. The ways I say – or write – things just to get attention, or to make myself sound good. The ways I use my words to evade and to manipulate. The ways my words – and not them only, but the tone in which I speak – reflect what is in my heart. And my words impact other people, every day.

As a teacher, I speak into the lives of thirty children on a regular basis. What am I speaking? Am I discouraging them? Am I cutting them down, or misleading them? Or am I encouraging them, enforcing boundaries that make them feel secure? Do my words challenge them? Am I okay with being wrong in front of them, or am I obsessed with seeming to always be right – with my image?

Am I using my words to encourage my roommate and my friends, or am I tearing them down?

The selection we read this week for the World Literature class I’m teaching is from Dante’s Divine Comedy. The excerpt takes place when Dante is entering hell. Dante observes a group of languishing souls and asks his companion, Vergil, what they did to deserve such torment (their punishment is that they are completely ignored by everyone who walks by). Vergil replies that they sought their own interests and chased after vanity. Basically, they were self-focused.

That struck me. Am I okay with being (well, feeling) overlooked? Or am I like these suffering individuals, crying for attention?

My flesh is ugly. I am thankful that Christ exchanged His life for mine and that I am no longer compelled to live in the flesh, captive to its desire for self-glorification. Until I am fully sanctified, I will observe and, in one sense, war against my flesh. But ultimately, it’s as dead as I choose to believe it is. When I wander away, I start to see creepy, ugly, ghostlike images of who I was in the flesh. Yuck. I want to see, and live as, the new Jessica: the Jessica in Christ. And when I interact with other people, I want Him to do the talking.

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2 Responses

  1. I love it, Jessica! Believing who I am in Christ is an important key to living a victorious Christian life! I AM new. I AM complete in Him. This message is one of my passions! Thanks for communicating it so well.

  2. Me too. Thanks!

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