We’re to build each other up, toward Jesus
29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
As I read this passage I remembered a conversation I had with a friend. She said that all of our conversations should be about moving people along a line, closer to Jesus – non-Christians and Christians alike. Everyone is at different points on the line. Our goal should be about nudging anyone we talk to along the line to Jesus.
I guess that is a similar idea to that of building each other up toward Jesus, which is in the first verse of this passage, where it says we’re only to say ‘what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen’.
I think I remember Paul talking about our speech a fair few times in his letters. That’s reflective of the fact that our words matter. They have so much power. We can’t take them back. They can tear down and cause significant damage. Or they can build up and give great encouragement.
And as always with Paul, he’s quick to put in why we should do something. He brings to mind how we were sealed with the Holy Spirit, for the day of redemption, and how unwholesome talk grieves the Spirit. When he asks us to forgive each other, he reminds us that in Christ, God forgives us. Our grace-filled talk and kindness and compassion, our building each other up, flows from constantly remembering that God has forgiven us in Christ.
Head: Have a look at the different emotions and behaviours that Paul outlines in verse 31. Consider what each of them means and how bitterness might so often lead to all the other sins listed.
Heart: How can the fact that you were ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, give you comfort and assurance?
Hands: Consider how you can build others up in Christ in your conversations with them today.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have sealed me in the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, and that you have forgiven me in Christ. May those truths sink into my heart and transform my mind, so that bitterness and anger melt away, and only wholesome talk leaves my mouth. And thank you that you continue to forgive me for the times where I grieve your Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
A song to listen to: Love Changes Everything