Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If
pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Galatians 1:10 NLT
I found myself in a situation this week that left me scratching my head. And it is not the first time it has happened. It seems that I can easily get backed into a corner and I struggle with the right words to get out.
You know how it goes – the random comment made, the criticism, the questioning, and I feel trapped. I do know that I struggle with the ability to think on my feet or to mask my emotions on my face. What you see is what you get. And usually what flies out of my mouth has not gone through the filter of Philippians 4:8 –
Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
I am quick to speak and not listen – which is the exact opposite of what James writes in James 1:19. And, my friends, this gets me into an host of problems. Part of me wants to tape my mouth shut so then I won’t speak. Save me a lot of heartache. And confession time too.
I was bemoaning this character flaw to a friend of mine this week. I cannot trust myself to speak any more. I am rather done.
But, that is not the correct approach.
God wants me to testify to the gospel and to tell others of Him.
I guess the question boils down to who am I trying to please? Myself, man, or God? From the bottom of my heart I will say it is God. But my actions tend to speak louder than words. Or, actually, my words tend to speak louder than what is in the inner recesses of my heart.
A WOMAN IN NEED
I am preparing to teach on Mark 7:24-30 about the Syrophoenician woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter of the evil spirits that plagued her. Jesus had a very interesting exchange with her. He told her that He came to Israel first, not to the Gentile nations – she was not a Jewess. But her comeback is delicious –
“That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat
the scraps from the children’s plates.” Mark 7:28 NLT
Jesus commends her faith for these words and her thought process. She was able to express her desire for healing from the One and only true healer – Jesus. Yes, she was a Gentile, and yes, she was a woman. But, she was bold and her only hope for healing was Jesus and she knew it.
She did not have to go far to seek Him as He came to her home town. Usually Jesus stayed in the Galilean region for this part of His ministry. I can’t say for certain that Jesus went north to the region of Tyre just for her, but I do know that is in keeping of His character – He leaves the 99 to go after the one.
Back to my mutton. This woman was able to speak from her heart and in the moment. She was not there to please anyone but God – when we seek Him we please Him. She was bold. She was confidant. And she did not let anything or anyone dissuade her from seeking out Jesus.
Because I stumble over my own two feet – not hard with all the straps, tape and the fact that they are hiking boots, even when I wear a dress; I realize I need help. Hence my conversation and my subsequent cry out to the Lord.
Here’s His answer to me:
But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O LORD, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I am not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12 NLT
Can it get any clearer? I don’t think so. What Moses pleaded to the LORD was exactly what I said to Him. Pretty much verbatim. And, the LORD’s response to him was exactly His response to me.
Interesting note: God had just told Moses who He was – I AM, and, this same name is used here a chapter later. Do you think God was making a point to Moses? To me?
Yes, I get it.
He is here. He is Sovereign. He gives me the words to say. They are His Words, and what He wants to say. I can be quick to listen and slow to speak – I should, in fact slow down. Let silence be in a conversation.
MOSES, MOSES, MOSES
I told the LORD that I would not copy Moses after he heard these words. He did not want to continue being the mouthpiece for God. He looked at fear and did not run away. He pleaded with God to send someone else. God did – his brother Aaron. I knew enough to not to go there. Moses missed out on a lot (and he experienced so much as it was, can you imagine how much more he could have known and experienced???) because he was fearful and not trusting.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your
own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT
Will you join me in trusting God to do what He says He will do? Will you seek to please Him and Him only? Will you allow Him to be I AM in your life? Will you speak His truth in the conversations He places before you?
I AM, You are definitely the great I AM. You are mighty and powerful. You are awesome and wonderful. You go before and behind. You are over all and in all. I am a willing vessel to speak truth. Yes, I struggle with words, but because You are with me, I will say what You want to say. And that is more than good enough. AMEN