Wednesday, July 8th

Wednesday, July 8th

Sometimes it (the tongue) praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:9-10

There isn't anyone who can't relate to today's verse. Both blessing and cursing coming out of our mouth happens all too often for us, doesn't it? We can be singing God's praises at 9:15 on Sunday morning and then cursing the driver ahead of us on the way home. As Christians we are worshipers of God. These words from our verse, "made in the image of God," will help us understand what it means to be a worshiper of God. We were made in God's image so that we might bear his image. Think of God as the sun and yourself as the moon. The moon has no ability to shine apart from the sun. The moon shines only because it reflects the light of the sun. God is the Creator and we are his creatures. He made us for the purpose of reflecting his image. When we bear his image we glorify him and when we glorify him we fulfill the purpose of our existence. So, being a worshiper of God is all about being ones who bear God's image.

Picture the earth coming between the sun and the moon. We call this a lunar eclipse. This is what has happened to all mankind. We are all sinful, wayward, and rebellious creatures who have fallen away from God and like the eclipsed moon, we cannot reflect God's image. But still, all people were created in God's image and have the potential to be restored to the purpose for which they were created by receiving the forgiveness of sins provided through Jesus Christ. When we are redeemed by Christ our sin is removed and God takes up residence within in us through his Spirit. We bear God's image as he shines out from our lives to the world around us. We are like the moon with the earth out of the way shining brightly as it reflects the light of the sun.

Back to the dilemma of both blessing and cursing coming out of our mouth. Our passage from Monday included these words, "Whatever is in your heart determines what you say." When we combine this with what we have been saying so far today, we are left with two very important thoughts. The first thought concerns God: since God resides in our hearts, he is wonderfully available to us and can become the center of our focus. The more we focus on him, the more our hearts are filled with him. The less we focus on him, the more our hearts are filled with other things. So, if our hearts are filled with God alone, the words we say in praise of God will be genuine and the words we say to others will bless them. If our hearts are a mix of God and other things, the words we say in praise to God will be less than genuine and the words we say to others will all to often be ones that curse instead of bless.

The second thought concerns others: since everyone is made in the image of God, we are never justified in mistreating them with our words. Remember, the people in your life deserve the blessing of you being an image bearer that helps them in their response to God and not you being to them one who hinders their being able to respond well to God. The people around you are either fellow travelers on the journey of becoming ones who fully bear God 's image or they are ones who have the potential to be restored to being a bearer of God's image through redemption in Christ. The people around us need all the encouragement they can get. The final words of our verse in regard to both blessing and cursing coming out of our mouth are, "this is not right!" How wonderful it is to know that we are not stuck in this dilemma and that God, who can make it right, is as close as our hearts.

Lord, show me how to focus on you more than ever before. Draw me into sweet communion with you. Help me experience the fullness of your presence. Grant that my heart is so filled with you that there is nothing there to come out of me but that which truly praises you and truly blesses others. Amen!

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