Advice, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Kindness, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Testimony

DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OPPONENTS

TITUS 2:8

“sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Have you ever had an opponent? I mean, someone who was just against you? The Greek phrase for “opponent” reads “he who is of the contrary.” Ever known a contrary person? It seems everything you do or say they are against. You just can’t seem to get along. Well, we are going to face those people, and Paul tells us how to deal with them.

It’s pretty simple really. We just speak truth, sound “speech which is beyond reproach.” If we do that, they have “nothing bad to say about us.” They may try, but it’s not true. In fact, then word “nothing” there means not even one. My brother-in-law used to say that means zero with the lid kicked off. I like that.

APPLICATION

Boy, oh boy, this is an application to make. Our children are going to have people, friends even, who talk about them. Kids love to talk and tease and criticize. The sooner we prepare our children how to handle those comments, the better off they will be. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That may be a cute phrase, but words can hurt if you don’t know how to handle them.

Here are some tips to handle these opponents:

  1. Know the truth about you – Teach your kids who they are in Christ. No words from others can change that.
  2. Know that your opponents are actually Christ’s opponent – He will fight for you. If you stand for Christ, He promises to defend you.
  3. Know those opponents need Jesus – Just like you before Christ, they are operating out of the flesh and need a Savior.
  4. Know that truth will prevail – Trust that “the truth will make you free.

There you have it. A few tips for dealing with those contrary folks. It won’t be easy, but they can keep you focused. Perhaps you have a tendency to be contrary. If that is you, listen to the truth of His Word. Let it transform your thinking. There is no victory in opposing Christ. You just can’t win. Submit to Him today and experience of true freedom and rest.

Guard my tongue, O Lord, and let me speak only sound words. Allow the truth spoken through me draw all opponents to You. Protect me as You have promised.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Reputation, Testimony

REPUTATION

TITUS 1:12

“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’”

What a reputation! And this was said by one of their own. How would you like to be known as a liar? I’ve known people who would lie about the dumbest stuff. I didn’t know what to believe. I prefer to tell the truth. It’s much easier to keep straight.

And then he says they are evil beasts and lazy gluttons. The Greek word for “evil beasts” means brute. It’s someone who is always aggressive and mean towards others. “Lazy gluttons” means just want you think. All they think about is satisfying their own belly, their own desires, but they don’t want to do anything about it. What a terrible reputation.

APPLICATION

My dad always told me that our reputation was important. The Willis name was known as an honorable name. My dad’s name meant something in our hometown. So, he pressed my brother and I, especially, to keep that same reputation. Well, family names are important, but keeping the name of Jesus above reproach is even more important.

You need to teach your children when they come to Christ, that they now represent Jesus wherever they go. What they do and say reflects on Him. As a Christian we have a higher calling. We are not perfect, but we need to live in such a way that others are drawn to Christ and not repelled by our lifestyle. Of course, you have to model this for your children. They will learn best by observing.

Are you living that way? If someone were to describe you, especially a non-believer, what would they say? Are you more like a Cretan or a Christian? I pray today you take a moment to look at your outward display of your faith. Make sure everyone you come into contact with knows where your allegiance is – with Christ. May He be glorified in all you do this day.

I am not perfect, Lord, but You are. Help me submit my will and actions to Your divine plan for my life today. I want others to see only You when they see me.

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