Keys to the Kingdom
By Carolyn Tucker
My first horse was named Judy but she didn’t stick around very long after she fell from my good graces when she bit me in the belly. She used her teeth in a harmful way. My next horse was an 11-year-old sorrel gelding named Lucky. He hung around for a long time because he was disciplined and gentle. After a few years, his teeth started doing goofy things and he had to have them floated. Recently, I found myself in the dentist’s chair because a tiny piece of tooth chipped away and I had to have it repaired with some phony enamel stuff. As I scooted out of the chair and stood up, I put my upper and lower teeth together and exclaimed, “It’s too high, it’s too high!” I’m sure that wasn’t the proper description of my teeth catastrophe, but the dentist interpreted it correctly. He directed me to get back in the chair and he grabbed his Dremel and floated my tooth. I walked out with happy chompers because my bite was made right.
One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to gently nudge believers in the right direction when there’s a tiny piece of something wrong in our heart. When we tell our heavenly Father, “I really want to be like Jesus,” then the third person of the Godhead goes to work to help make that sincere prayer happen. “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world” (1 John 4:16,17 NLT).
I am reading a daily devotional book that I previously read in 2018. The title for August 10 was “A Living Example of Love,” with the beginning scripture of Romans 5:5 NIRV: “And hope will never let us down. God has poured His love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given to us.” I found one underlined sentence in the devotional that pierced my heart with conviction. There was nothing to do but weep and ask for God’s forgiveness. I made a fresh and stronger commitment to live a life of love.
The Holy Spirit’s flashlight revealed that I had failed to talk in love. My words should always be seasoned with grace and mercy if I want to be a living example of love. There are times when my teeth do not come together to form words of love. The Bible says we are to put a guard on our mouth. “Lord, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say” (Psalm 141:3 NCV). Christians are to talk in love, allowing the tenderness of Jesus to flow through us to others. As long as believers have an intense desire to come up higher in the love department, God is pleased. Our heavenly Father is patient and kind toward us and He expects us to be patient with ourselves and with others.
“Think before you speak” is a phrase we’ve all heard and it comes straight from the Bible. “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you“ (Ephesians 4:29 GNT). The Holy Spirit can smooth off the rough edges of your words if you’ll surrender to Him, listen, and obey when He whispers, “Don‘t say that.“
The Key: If you don’t control your mouth, you probably need to have your teeth floated by the Holy Spirit.