July 3, 2019
"A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart." Luke 6:45 (NLT)
You can still hear them today: words spoken by a teacher, parent or coach. Someone who should have spoken good, kind and encouraging words, but didn't.
For me, those words were "too loud."
My report cards carried some combination of "talks too much" and "needs to be quiet." In fact, my fifth grade teacher moved my desk to within arm's reach of his own to try to get this accomplished. How embarrassing!
In junior high, I chose a Christian school. However, since my behavior didn't change, neither did the reports. I was put on probation for insubordination ... yes, for talking! If I didn't change, I was getting kicked out! If only they had a vision for what I would do for a living one day - become a speaker - how could they have encouraged me?
Watching those "other" girls, the ones who seemed to be naturally gentle, quiet and self-controlled, I longed to be like them. If only I were different. Those thoughts lingered, as I believed I couldn't change. It was just the way I was wired.
Maybe you have had thoughts created by words spoken to you, spoken over you. Powerful words from those who could have developed your potential. They could have used their words to draw good out.
But that's not what happened.
I wondered as I read Abigail's story, how she overcame negative words.
First Samuel 25:3 introduces us to a very wealthy couple: "The man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings" (HCSB).
We might think that rich plus ravishing should equal the real deal. But we can doubt that this was true, because if Nabal "was crude and mean in all his dealings" (as the NLT version describes him), most likely that would have included Abigail.
In this chapter, David and his troop of 600 are in the desert. He heard wealthy Nabal lived nearby, so he sends 10 men to request food. Without being asked, David's men had been protecting Nabal's flocks, and they were hungry. Nabal rudely responds - essentially saying, "No."
Upon hearing this reply, David headed toward Nabal's estate to teach him a lesson. When Abigail hears trouble is brewing, she gathers some gifts and gets moving. "When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. She fell at his feet and said, ‘I accept all blame in this matter, my lord ...'" (1 Samuel 25:23-24a, NLT).
Are you as stunned as I am? This woman, who would have felt the brunt of Nabal's pride and insecurity, takes the blame when she deserves none of it. Out of her mouth flows humility and wisdom, saving her entire family.
Abigail responded like a woman who knew who she was: a woman with God-esteem, not a woman who was afraid to speak her mind after years of marriage to her "crude and mean"husband. (Please note that her response never excuses verbal or physical abuse from someone.)
Why did Abigail display unshakable confidence when facing this harrowing situation?
Luke 6:45 reveals the secret:
"A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."
In your heart.
If we look at the words which flowed from Abigail's mouth, we can see how she stored up a treasury of good in her heart, for good is what flowed. Whatever words Nabal may have spoken to her, she did not let her heart hang on to those words.
Abigail teaches us this truth: God's confidence flows from our mouth when we fill our heart and mind with God's truth.
Our God has the final say on who we are. His words are what we will treasure in our heart.
Holy Spirit, empower me to treasure Your words about who I am over all others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (NIV)
Is there a young girl in your life who needs to soak her heart in who Jesus says she is? Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You by Lynn Cowell will teach her what words she needs to listen to. Click here to purchase.
How do you stay hopeful in the space between right now and the day God answers your prayers? Join us in the First 5 app starting July 22 as we study the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude in Already, but Not Yet. Don't forget your Experience Guide to deepen your study! Click here to get your guide.
Join Lynn on her website for a discussion on the power of our words, as well as an opportunity to win a copy of Brave Beauty and an I am Loved necklace.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How have others' words impacted your life? Take a moment to contact someone who's used their words for good in your life and thank them.
Join the conversation! We'd love to hear your story of how someone's powerful words impacted you.
© 2019 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.