Spirit Words or Goodness

The Spirit Words or Goodness

I want to discuss an interaction I had at the gym. My question is this: is goodness the motivation of my words or do I follow the leading of the Spirit before I speak?

I believe our world would be so quiet if all the words that weren’t inspired by the Spirit were just removed from the air. This is a sobering thought indeed – indicting actually.

I remember a story Martha told about a speaker at a Christian writers conference. He said, “Please, if you’re not called to write, don’t! We can’t find the words God intended to be written because of all the words that He didn’t.”

Only from the Spirit

Only from the Spirit
If there was a silencing of all that was not the Spirit, how precious and meaningful would be every syllable we heard. His messages, both large and small, would have such weight because the din of chatter would cease to dull us. I know that this is impossible this side of heaven, but boy! Does it make me hungry for eternity.

So, how does this relate to an experience I had at the gym? There’s a gentleman I see almost every time I go. We aren’t friends, but we do exchange small talk. He’s a barber and has actually cut my hair a few times, so we have more than a cursory acquaintance. I spoke to him this morning and asked him about his knee. He has arrived at the gym sometimes with a brace, like that of a sports injury. His answers were very brief and a little curt. I then quickly maneuvered out of the conversation and left the locker room.

I wouldn’t have given it another thought if the Lord hadn’t put His finger on it. Why was this man’s response a little brusque? I could tell this totally wasn’t the right question. My question should have been, who was the source initiating that conversation? I can definitely say it wasn’t God. It was my goodness.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care about his knees right now. I don’t even care why he was curt. My entire interaction with him was based on pleasantries that I felt obligated to give. I’m in the middle of the major job of editing, and my mind and energies are directed towards that. I was only swimming at the gym so I didn’t develop bedsores from sitting for hours while editing (hehehe).

Does this mean I shouldn’t be kind? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. If my words were only born of the Spirit, how often would I actually talk? Sure, I’m going to be kind to the checkout lady at the grocery store. Yes, I will say hello to this gentleman again, but I probably won’t ask him about his knees. Of course I will give pleasantries to the bank teller, because I live in the south and that’s what we do. But how many words would actually be spoken if I only spoke those that the Spirit initiated? How many of our words are just wood, hay and stubble to be burned? If my words were only based on the leading of the Spirit, would people be like, “Shh, E.F. Hutton!” and listen intently?

Give me the Spirit or Shut UP!

Give me the Spirit or Shut UP!
I’m just thinking out loud here, because I want to be a vessel of the Spirit’s life and purpose more than social convention. What if the Spirit had me ask this man about “Sally,” his wife? What if she’s just been diagnosed with cancer and the Spirit could’ve had an opportunity to let life flow? Ultimately, words and intents that come from the Spirit will always bring Christ’s life. Yet everything born out of compulsion and obligation will always be death. Source is everything! Maybe this man’s response towards me was the check of the Spirit saying give me Jesus or shut up! Maybe he was more led of the Spirit than I was. We live in a dying world; we have to be Life. Our goodness will never save. Only God’s goodness produces Christ’s Life.

When Kindness is a Lie

When Kindness is a Lie not Spirit
OK, so this’ll bake the noodle. If I’m motivated by goodness and compulsion, and led by all the social conventions, and I ask how someone is doing, am I lying if I really don’t care? Am I being disingenuous by inquiring, or am I just being kind? Does KINDNESS get a pass? If my motivation is kindness, can I do it while stating a lie?

I’m not campaigning for a rude society. I happen to like the fact that people are courteous and kind. I have seen small touches of kindness change everything. I’m just asking about the source of this kindness in me. I’ve seen Martha change an entire deli in our local grocery store. They practically break their necks to get over to say hello. And when Martha isn’t with me, they are inquiring about her. Why? Because she has gone in there with Love and has changed the atmosphere. Not goodness, social convention, but the Love of Christ. Her words have been few but her impact huge!

May this be said of me, “Here is a man who speaks from the Spirit.”

But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what the LORD tells me to say.”
1 Kings 22:14 NLT

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    • tammy

      I, for one, have what is most likely an OVERLY ACTIVE conversational ability!

      Often while engaged in conversation I feel the Lords “check” and will hush, hoping to hear what it is He is trying to get across to me during my rambling.

      Many times my ubrupt hush is met with a confused gaze from my audience. My family (and some close friends) however, have experienced this enough that they know they might as well find themselves otherwise engaged because unless He gives me the “rest of the story” I know to shut-up!

      As I read your blog John, your words “I’m just thinking out loud here,…” gave me pause. I find that this is where most of my words come from. Either my “thinking” or “lack of” thinking comes pouring out of my mouth and not so much from the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 came to mind. Actually much has come to mind…your blog I believe will keep me challenged for some time to come – prayerfully, forever.

      Bless you!

      • LA

        Just repeating what Tammy said…seems like the Lord has us all on the same page.
        Thank you for this

    • Michelle

      Thank you!! I was just asking God for direction with words…

    • Irene


      Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.

      • tammy


    • Seth

      I so need to practice this at work. I find it so easy to get caught up in meaningless conversation at work later feel the regret and even grievance of the Spirit. Source is everything and speaking from Christ not only goes against the grain of self but also others (when not speaking as much) . I have tried that at work too and got teased for not talking that much.

      Just wondering how empty facebook would be if only what was there was of the Spirit

    • Paul

      OK John…after Jennifer’s post yesterday and this one today, together with the two that you recommended, I am completely undone! Amen to Irene’s reference to Psa. 19:14.

    • Frank

      You all just continue to bless me, words of understanding, all I can say is thank you. Blessings
      could someone help me remove my foot from my mouth

    • Pauline

      That we will give an account of every idle word scares me.
      Thank you, John.

    • Whoa!! Good stuff there, really good stuff.

      • Bless you Pamela! Thank you for the encouragement. It is really amazing to me too.

    • Sue

      OH John, these posts are convicting and encouraging at the same time. I join you and Micaiah and Martha, praying that ” I will say only what the LORD tells me to say.”
      This is my confidence in Martha’s teachings and prayers, she only says what the LORD gives her to say and only prays what HE gives her to pray.
      I will also confess that I have followed path of goodness and convention in my old life!!!!!
      Praise God I no longer live that life for Christ lives in me!!!! I give the Glory to the LORD and so grateful HE has used this ministry to get me here!!!

      • Thank you Sue, the path of His Life and words are so much more rewarding. Our goodness just never cuts the mustard, does it?! Love you.

    • Margo Lewis

      My words without His wisdom and Spirit are words without knowledge and are better left unsaid. (Job 38:2)

      • Absolutely correct! Wish it was easier to do. Blessing you Margo!

      • Wanda Couch

        I like that!

    • arleen robbins

      You know, it makes me understand what the monastic life was trying to accomplish…?-without the challenge of interaction I am more able to control temperament and response- I have thought myself a better follower than what I am during times of quiet living- But I there are times I am more involved with people -It’s within that day to day life that I get to see I do not say/ do what I really want to do as to reflect Him- and know much I need Him ……sigh…..

      • That is cool insight. I so want this my life to be His Life and words. Then it will be eternal rather than just my temporal death. But alas the difficulty of having to actually be in relationship with others where all your choices are tested. WOW! Bless you Arleen!

      • Wanda Couch

        I’ve been reading Thomas a Kempis and this very thought has arrested me. Thank you for sharing.

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