A tool I sometimes use in teaching is to misquote a verse and see if people can catch me. Let’s try it here. Let me misquote a verse. See if you can catch the mistake:
Instead, hearing the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 (misquoted)
Here is the correct verse:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV2011)
Catch it? We are changed by speaking the truth. If we speak words of gratitude, we become more grateful. If we speak words of love, we become more loving. If we speak words of faith, we become more faith-filled. We are changed more by what we say than what we hear.
James said that your tongue—the words you speak—is like the rudder of your life. They can turn your life wherever they will. I think if James were writing today he would say that the words you speak are like the steering wheel of your life. When you speak words of gratitude, you become more grateful. Everything that is good and right with the world becomes bigger. Everything that is dark and ugly fades into the background.
We all have plenty of pain and pleasure in our lives. Odd thing about people—as a generalization, we are richer, healthier, safer and more likely to be depressed than we have ever been. This is not just my opinion; it is the opinion of smart people. Things are better:
Overall, we’re richer, healthier, safer than ever before. Globally, more children live long enough to reach primary school age and then have an affordable school nearby. Life expectancy and health indicators are higher; technology has helped us to develop more effective medicines and to adapt food production to changing climates. For example, since 2000, measles vaccines have prevented more than 14 million deaths. In fact, poverty has halved in the last 25 years alone.
And we are more likely to be depressed:
Bad news: Americans appear to be more depressed now than they have been in years, according to a new study.
Researchers examined data from 6.9 million teens and adults in the U.S., and found that contemporary Americans report more symptoms of depression that affect the body, such as trouble sleeping and concentrating, than people typically did in the 1980s.
“Previous studies found that more people have been treated for depression in recent years, but that could be due to more awareness and less stigma,” Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, said in a statement. “This study shows an increase in symptoms most people don’t even know are connected to depression, which suggests adolescents and adults really are suffering more.”
How can that be? We concentrate on the bad. It used to be that if any bad thing happened anywhere in your neighborhood, you would learn about it. Now, if anything bad happens anywhere in the world, you will see a video captured on someone’s smart phone. It is depressing.
One way to counter this effect is to talk about what is right with the world. Talk about how great our God is. Talk about how good it is to be a follower of Christ. Talk about how amazing it is that we have been forgiven, filled with the Spirit and given a calling. The more you talk about it, the more aware of it you are.
Tell someone what you are learning in this book. They will benefit as you give the highlights of what you read. You will benefit because as you tell it, you are more likely to remember it. Tell someone what God shows you in His Word. They benefit. You benefit. Everyone wins.