Welcome to this week's ToGather.church. Our focus comes from our Verse of the Day, Proverbs 15:23 NLT:
Everyone enjoys a fitting reply;
it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
How are you at giving "a fitting reply"?
Are your responses to discussions, questions, and challenges crafted in the best interest of your hearers and presented in a way that honors God?
Are you intentionally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to help craft truthful and fitting responses?
Is your participation in discussions based on your careful listening or your need to be seen as necessary?
Ouch! We find ourselves lacking at different times when we ask ourselves these questions. So, let's worship today, praising God and asking for the help of the Spirit to respond to people as Jesus did.
Today's message video is based on our Verse of the Day. Phil centers his teaching on this important proverb about speaking an apt, timely, appropriate, fitting, and encouraging word as we respond to others.
Our full worship video invites us to honor God while challenging us to bless each other and obey what the Scriptures teach us about our words and how we treat others. We especially want God praised as Father, Son, and Spirit! Our worship will focus on speaking to each other with timely, appropriate, fitting words that bring a blessing to all who hear.
We often respond to each other without really listening to what the other person is saying. We do a poor job of listening to each other's words, so we frequently do not hear what the other person's heart is trying to convey. Sometimes we interrupt other people to dispute what they are saying without ever really hearing their message. Other times, we try to "one up" what they have said to bring attention to ourselves. Because we have never gotten to know the other people and the context of their lives, we dishonor them and never hear them. Our message today emphasizes for us that we must give a "fitting reply" to others and that we must listen for these three levels of their communication:
- Listening to someone's words thoroughly and respectfully.
- Listening underneath their words to hear their hearts.
- Listening to them, knowing and appreciating the context of their lives, the reality from which they speak their words.
In addition to recognizing the three levels of listening, we must embrace three principles behind growing our ability to use fitting words:
- Good listening is a skill we acquire through disciplined and active listening.
- A fitting reply is based on our love and care for others as we respond to them.
- Having the right words to say at the right time is a gift from the Holy Spirit if we will pause long enough to ask for the Spirit's help with what we say.
We seek to grow in these areas because we want to encourage others based on their needs, not our egos or assumptions!
Worshiping God with the right words from a heart seeking to honor and glorify him helps center us in what is essential. As we worship, we do it with other believers who recognize God as their Father who loves all of us and is also the eternal, all-powerful Creator of the universe who sent his Son to include us in his family. Our actions and behaviors toward each other begin with our understanding of the grace we have received from almighty God and his desire that we share that grace with each other. Let's worship God and bless each other in what we say, sing, think, and share as we worship!