But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8 KJV)
Many times we forget the power of the words we speak. Words have the ability to strengthen and encourage or to pick others apart, possibly damaging their faith.
It is a blessing to work-out at our local high school, and a privilege to be in the gym alongside the school's football and basketball players. One day as I was doing bench presses, I overheard two large, sweaty footballers making fun of a smaller boy, who I later learned was the place kicker for the team. Apparently, the two older boys had seen the weaker fellow praying over his lunch.
Most everyone was there to lift weights, and naturally the little kicker could not press the amount of weight the older linemen could. Speaking to the small boy, the others, in baby talk voices laughingly said, Aww, him needs baby weights, maybe you should pray for Jesus to come and help you lift that.
Noticing the place kicker was about the same size I was at his age I let all three of the fellows know about it. You see, I had been lifting twice the amount the big boys were pressing on a bench next to mine, and to them, I'm an old man. (There were also men there who can lift twice as much as I am able.) I then explained how I pray about everything imaginable. Just as I thank God for my food, I also ask Him to bless my workouts. He has blessed both, even my efforts to take care of the body He has given me.
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 KJV)
I shared several scriptures with the athletes, showing how physical exercise profits us only a little bit in comparison to exercising godliness, which brings rewards in this life as well as throughout eternity. Also explained was the difference between spiritual maturity and spiritual infancy. Those boys were left thinking of who the real babies were that day. It made my heart smile; to be able to encourage the smaller team member in his faith, and also in his own physical possibilities.
The following week at the gym, all of the same fellows were present. Praise to God burst from my heart as I saw the two former verbal bullies helping their team kicker as he lifted weights. They were encouraging him!
Help us Lord to seek the greater blessings of godliness. May we put you first in all that we say and do. And help us to build up one another and not tear down, to speak words of encouragement, not of hurt. Let us be a part of Christ's construction crew, and not the devil's demolition squad. In Jesus' name, amen.
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