In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote that Christ has laid a foundation in our lives. We are to be careful how we build on it. Verse 12 gave two categories. Gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw.
A record of wrongs is like wood, hay, and straw. It can instantly set a blazing fire through our tongues that burns others. Have you ever been burned in a relationship? “Reviving Burned Stones” is the title of one of my 2016 ebooks, and the title of chapter two in my paperback and ebook entitled “Victorious Garden.”
Before our tongue wags, a thought was formed. James 3:5-6 says that our tongue is a little member, a fire, and it is so strategically set that it can defile our whole body. Ugh! Would you drink water that was full of disease causing germs?
Let me take you back to Numbers 5:11-31. You can read the whole portion for yourself. When a wife is thought to be unfaithful, she is made to drink contaminated water. Verse 19 says of the priest, “…take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.”
Picture for a moment what this meant. The tabernacle floor was where the animals were killed. There would be blood on the floor and flies all over it. it would dry until the next sacrifice. Do you eat food after it has fallen on your floor, or flies have been all over it?
Ephesians 4:29 Amplified says, “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk (ever) come out of your mouth…” Foul, polluting, evil, unwholesome, and worthless words contaminate in two specific ways. First through records of wrongs inside our heart, and then spewed on the one we just blasted.
James 3:2 is our wisdom. Let me rewrite part of it for you. The criteria for our words comes from, “…a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.”
Every trial, adversity, and hardship trains our character to be more like Christ in our words and actions. Romans 5:3-4 Amplified says, “Moreover (let us also be full of joy now!) let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, know that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity)…”
As we feel the squeeze of our circumstances, we can be assured that the Lord is at work to form our character. At the moment when we think we cannot take it anymore, if we embrace it, our hidden flesh will surface. The Lord knows how much pressure it will take. He never goes over that.
I know this from personal experience. After I fell into the ravine my pain was intense and unrelenting. About every four months I would tell the Lord that I couldn’t take it anymore. That was my pattern for years, until the Holy Spirit taught me how to process it to acceptance, and embrace my pain because God was at work through it.
A wheel potter must center the clay before it can be worked into a usable vessel. So it is with our hearts. Our trials are divinely designed and orchestrated to expose what keeps us from reflecting the Lord to others.