My tongue was like a hot knife through butter.
My husband was the butter.
You know this did not go well.
During our days of courtship, our budding relationship was characterized by constant quarrels. We were quite young – I was a teenager – and I regularly exhibited the immaturity to prove it.
I had to argue.
A fast-paced verbal duel energized me. When my rapid-fire tongue sliced through my opponent’s counter-arguments, I felt powerful, intelligent, decisive, and quick-witted. I fought and wrestled to petition for truth and expose falsehood.
I notched my imaginary belt with tally marks to keep track of my wins. Little did I know that I may have been winning a few battles, but I was losing the war.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
My tongue was powerful, and I enjoyed the fruit of short-term wins, but I was blind to the fruit of building resentment. I was unconcerned that I was sowing to the flesh, contrary to the instruction found in God’s Word.
God recommends a gentle answer (Proverbs 15:1). He asks us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Our speech should build others up and benefit them (Ephesians 4:29). This does not mean that we will never argue, but Jesus is our example. He did not speak out unless God gave Him the words (John 12:49).
We can express anger, and it is important to have a fervent zeal for righteousness, just like Jesus driving the money changers from the temple (John 2:13-17). But when we are angry, we should not sin (Ephesians 4:26).
I would not dare to classify my youthful need to win an argument as righteousness. God’s Word clearly differentiates between my self-centered, power-seeking verbal bullying and a Christ-like passion to stand up for good.
However, God did not stop me from arguing. He will not stop us from sinning. He created us with a free will. We can choose to obey or disobey.
And disobey I did.
And suffer the consequences I did.
Adam and Eve’s experience in the Garden of Eden reveals that there are consequences for our actions. Paradise can be lost. God does not force us to obey. If we choose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we will reap death. If we eat from the tree of life, we will reap life (Genesis 2:16-17).
In Ephesians chapter 2, verse 5, we see that God rescues us from death by making us alive in Christ. We are saved by His grace. He created us as a masterpiece, a poem, a song that praises His majesty (verse 10).
What a thrilling promise. What hope.
The Master Creator takes great care to fashion each one of us in His image. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 14). He designs us with careful thought and imagination (Psalm 40:5). He stands back and marvels at each glorious man and woman and calls us blessed (Genesis 1:27-18).
Every human being has been designed in the image of the Creator, gifted with creative expression in some form or fashion. A few people discover this impartation at a young age. Others spend years in doubt, suspecting that they were not in line when God was handing out these gifts.
But God does not overlook anyone. We are each the apple of His eye. If you are uncertain what your creative gifting is, we encourage you to go on a treasure hunt by asking God to reveal how He designed you. When at last your God-given creative expression is unleashed, it becomes a source of joy and energy in your life. It also becomes a light shining forth to reveal God’s brilliance to others.
Does Satan like this?
He will do everything in his power to thwart that discovery. Not to alarm you, but there is a cosmic battle for your creative gift. It is a battle that God has already won, but you have to partner with Him to see the victory.
You have to choose to become the masterpiece. He will not force His love, joy, and peace on you.
Satan is eager to twist or taint your gifting. Remember my hot tongue that sliced and diced people down to size? Why was that such a battle for me?
Because word-play is part of my creative gifting! God designed me to love words. He created me to enjoy wrestling with truth and falsehood and not give up until I hear His voice.
My immature expression of this creative gifting was a disaster in some ways and a success in others. I used words as power play with people, but I was also eloquent and thrived in academics and intellectual curiosity. However, until I yielded my gift to the leading of Holy Spirit, and stopped the brash fleshly exercise of my God-design, it was a liability in my intimate relationships.
Did the Lord give up on me, disgusted at my fumbling attempts to harness the power of words? Does He give up on you? No. Not once. He takes the long view. He is dedicated to our complete redemption.
He gradually repairs the broken expression of our creative gifting and transforms it into a new life. God calls us to partner with Him in the restoration of our broken gifts. He invites you to cultivate your gifting by yielding to His transforming power. When you make the courageous choice to lay down the broken expression of your creative gifting, you are then positioned to become a masterpiece that reveals His glory.
The choice is yours.
It begins with a simple prayer: “Father, I thank you for creating me in your image. I trust that you designed me with creative gifts. Please help me partner with You to grow these gifts. Help me yield them to Holy Spirit so that they can bring life to me and to others.”
Yes, and amen. We look forward to witnessing your season of flourishing.