When something is ordinary, it is commonplace, customary, every day, habitual, and routine. When something is unordinary, it is rare, unusual, and uncommon.
I believe if we are to increasingly reflect how the Scriptures call us to live, these actions must become ordinary among believers in Christ. Last week I listed four in a blog post (part 1), and here are four more. Actions that deal specifically with our mouths, words, and relationships.
Rejecting the temptation to speak and receive slander and gossip
Proverbs 26:20: Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down.
Proverbs 18:8: The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Gossip is far too commonplace and ordinary in small towns, let alone in the local church. God’s Word has much to say regarding gossip and slander, and none of it is in an affirming tone. Gossip destroys unity and brings division. It hinders our Gospel witness, not only to one another in the Body of Christ, but to the lost world around us.
A gossip is one who reveals secrets, and speaks of the faults/failings of others (often with an underlying mission to build themselves up and make themselves look better). A slanderer is one who defames the character of another through lies and whispers. Gossip and slander are the antithesis of what it means to love one another.
We often re-frame gossip in these phrases: ‘Please pray for…’, ‘I am concerned about…’, ‘Have you heard the news about…’, ‘Let me tell you about the issue, I’m having with…’ In the end, it is gossip and sinful. And we need to both reject speaking it, AND receiving it. Don’t give the fire any more fuel, because fires destroy. Don’t swallow the morsels of gossip, because they are poison to your soul and to relationships.
Before we talk to someone or post something on social media, we must be asking ourselves these questions: Am I sharing because these people are part of the problem and/or solution? If not, don’t share. Am I sharing because I want to gain people to ‘my side’? If so, don’t share. Am I sharing to make myself look good another person, poorly? If so, don’t share. Does my sharing have a Gospel motivated purpose and point behind it? If not, don’t share.
Encouraging each other with our words
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Hebrews 10:24: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works
You’ve never met anyone who said, “I just think you’re encouraging me too much. Could you stop?” You’ve also never probably said to someone, “Could you please stop encouraging me?” Why have we not met someone like that or uttered those words? Because we all need encouraged. To encourage means to ‘give courage.’ When you encourage someone, you’re, in a sense, pouring courage into their heart and life.
Why do we need courage? Because we’re prone to fear, discouragement, and apathy. We’re prone to self-centered living. And so the Lord has designed us to live interdependently with one another, and in doing so, pour courage into one another. So that we will reject fearful living. So that instead, we’ll be people of courage, faith, hope and love.
It needs to be ordinary for us to stop and encourage each other with our spoken and written words. We need to be lavish in how we pour courage into others. We need to be generous with our words that build up and spur on. Pouring courage into others needs to become habitual and customary in our lives.
Expressing our thanks for someone, both to them and in prayer
Philippians 1:3: I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you…
Ephesians 1:16: I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.
Much like encouragement, you’ve probably never said to someone, “I reject your thanks.” That would be silly. We gladly receive thanks when someone shares it with us.
Far too often, we assume and think in our heads, ‘Oh, they know I’m thankful for them.’ Or ‘I told them last week, or last month, or last year I was thankful for them, I’m sure they still know.’ Those are really poor assumptions to make. We are a forgetful people (see the Israelites in the Old Testament), who need reminded.
Let’s be a people who express our thanks for the small and big things. Let’s be a thankful people who do not take others for granted and who want to insure that others know we are thankful for them. Let’s be a prayerful people who bring specific names to the Lord, in thanksgiving.
Who are you thankful for today? Who do you thank God for today? Tell the Lord in prayer. Tell that person or people to their face, in a note, or in a text or phone call.
Sharing the Good News
Colossians 4:3-4: At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains, so that I may make it known as I should.
Paul is praying not only that God would open a door for the Good News to be shared, but he is praying that its message would be clear as Paul shares. Paul is expecting and anticipating that he will tell and share of the Good News.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News that is intended to be communicated and passed on with words. We see that throughout the New Testament. The Lord calling His disciples to be witnesses, ambassadors, and heralds of His Good News.
Yes, our way of life should be a testimony to the Gospel and the Lord’s work in our lives (Matthew 5:16). But what you don’t see the disciples of Jesus doing in the book of Acts, is just living their lives and people magically finding out that Jesus has come to seek and save the lost. That Jesus offers eternal life through faith alone and by grace alone. Instead, the disciples are sharing the Good News. It is a going outward and spreading through words and the beautiful feet of those who bring it (Romans 10:14-15).
So yes, please show of your faith through your words, attitudes, and way of life. And yet also, tell of Jesus and His Good News. May the sharing of the Good News grow increasingly commonplace in our lives. By His power and grace.