“Would you bring the devotional?”
As I prepared, I was somewhat nervous, knowing that I would be in the midst of some “missionary greats” of the world. As that day in Prague approached, I had spent as much time in prayer as I had dealing with the passage.
I decided to use the Truths that the Father had spoken about our tongues and their tendency to ignite with Gehenna’s flame.
After the devotional, many references were made about our tongue as fire. As a group, we were cautious of our words. Sometimes in jest and sometimes seriously, the theme sparked many of our discussions.
And I watched my tongue most carefully. After all, I wanted to be able to have spoken with authority.
My family was coming, the house was a wreck, my throat was scratchy and I had jet lag.
And to top it off,
Mark was beginning to really irritate me.
Now remember, just weeks earlier, I had delivered a stirring devotional about a tongue with the fire of hell.
As I shifted my own tongue within my mouth, it sizzled just a bit and I could almost smell the smoke.
“I’d better keep my mouth shut.”
Yeah, that was the plan….
Instead – I incinerated him with a sudden outburst.
“Elijah was a man with a nature (Greek: “feelings or affections”) like ours…” James 5:17
Really? Did he have a problem with his tongue?
He was a spiritual giant, right?
Ummmm….maybe not –
Remember when the prophets of Baal couldn’t get any fire from heaven? Elijah was on hand with a flaming wit and a smoking sarcasm:
“Call a little louder – he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” (1 Kings 18:27 The Message)
I don’t know about you, but that pretty much describes me:
Yet, this is the very kind of man that is considered righteous enough for prayers that work.
Kinda gives me hope. What about you?
Despite the turmoil around us, You stress unity. It was Your desire that we become one just as You are one with the Spirit and the Son (John 17:11, 21). Indeed, Father, this was the commandment that Your Son gave the disciples just before going to the cross. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,” He said (John 13:34, John 15:12).
Love. Unity. Faith. That is all You ask. By unity through love, we are to pour out our love to You through loving others (John 14:15). Not by busily acting nice. But by believing in Your love for us and loving others. Not by doing a bunch of religious duties. But by trusting Your love for us and allowing that to unite us. Unity is the litmus test for our love and faith.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” Your Son said (John 14:16). Yes, if we are to use this body that You’ve given us to be united in love, we are going to need assistance! You have already sent the Helper, Father. Thank You! He grants truth, life and Your constant abiding Presence (John 14:17,19). With Him, our great Love-Helper within us, we have the availability to abide in Love. And when we abide in Love, it’s obvious that we are able to keep Your commands – the command to Love and Believe (John 15:10).
Unity isn’t when the church decides to agree with our minds, is it, Father? No, we are united because we all have Your Holy Spirit. We can lift up our voices to You with one accord because the Source of who we are is all the same — You (Acts 4:24)! When we have fellowship with Your Spirit, the natural result will be a union of spirit (Philippians 2:1-2). How simple to be of the same mind, intent on one purpose.
But, Father, I know my own tendency. My natural inclination immediately wants to supersede Your spiritual thoughts and words by being selfish and conceited. I have my own opinion regarding our government, our country, and our churches. Grant me humility of mind (Philippians 2:3). May Your attitude not just be buried somewhere deep within me, but actually flowing into my thoughts, emotions, and actions (Philippians 2:5).
Encapsulate all that is built up in our churches against knowing You (2 Corinthians 10:5). Dissolve this with Your love. Unite our own desires with Yours, so that both what we do and what we want delights You (Philippians 2:13). May union with You erupt into unity with others. Even so, Lord Jesus, come!