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Listen while you read: "Jesus Is The Sweetest Name I Know"1 (Lyrics)
Years ago, a friend gave me a puppet. As it stands there beside my piano, it looks like a mouse talking to me with a protruding mouth. It has curly hair just like me, and it has a clergy robe on. It's a clergy puppet! The piercing eyes are looking up. Now as I glance at it, I wonder if that was how I came across to the designer. Did I sound like a puppet, saying nothing of the Holy Spirit, just preaching empty words to the congregation? Do we sound like that to a stranger or a family member when we talk about our faith?
Ephesians 4:29-31 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (NIV)
I haven't given much thought to this matter of grieving the Holy Spirit. Have you? When did I grieve the Holy Spirit? The whole idea sounds stressful to me. It saddens me even to think that it is possible. Without the support of the Holy Spirit, what are we accomplishing?
It is difficult today to share Christ's message of love and salvation. It seems to be resented and set aside as bunkum. Though we are often rejected, yet we are told by the Holy Spirit to "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)
When we share the gospel of Christ, we are sharing something of great value and much love. To earn the right to be heard, in everything else we say, we need to let all wrath, clamour, quarreling, and abusive speech be cleared out of our mouths. We need to be courteous, sympathetic, and tender-hearted, and we won't grieve the Holy Spirit. In other words, all that we say and do should be done with our friends' edification in the Christian gospel in mind. No more backbiting! No more profane talk! This is very important, as we are sealed in the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.
So you and I need to put away all hard feelings, as Paul says, and be kind to one another. How do we do that when people don't care about what we say? We need to pray, asking for the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith and help us to reach out with courage. Even when our friends and family members do not accept Christ's grace, we are to pray for them and love them.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we confess that we have thought too highly of what we do and fail to ask what Jesus would do through us. Our prayer, Lord, is that Your Spirit will show through us as we share Your love with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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