I am wondering if anyone else has had the taste of foot in their mouth lately or if it is just me. Sometimes it must feel like I can't avoid sticking my foot in my mouth as the mouth seems to engage faster than my brain can process what I am thinking. It must appear to others that we are that proverbial bull in that poor china shop but unfortunately the china is often people. There are days when we hit the rewind button that we are embarrassed to our core for what we said and the things we did. In the moment it seemed right but that's because we weren't paying attention to the warning bells from the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we act as if Jesus gave us our marching orders and then sent us off on our own to do the best we can do, but that isn't the truth at all. When Jesus told us to go he also promised that he would always be with us. He did not leave us as orphans, abandoned by their family but instead sent the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide. The instruction from the Word of God is to stay in step with the Spirit:
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
We are not meant to be a wild canon, shooting off wherever we want but instead a submissive servant, listening to the will of the Father as expressed to us by the Holy Spirit. It is as we walk in his will that we are able to operate in boldness and power, expecting the impossible and extraordinary. We have been told that he will fill our mouth with his words which will not come back void, instead of using our words that often cause hurt and misunderstanding. We speak his wisdom which is far grandeur than the murky thing we like to call wisdom.
What we need to keep in mind is that we must remain sensitive to the Spirit and don't assume. After God had destroyed Jericho through Joshua, Joshua assumed that he was to move on to the next battle. He had no idea that someone in Israel had sinned and it needed to be dealt with first. He sent part of the army to destroy the lesser city and they were soundly defeated. If he had consulted with God he would have been informed of the sin and no lives would have been lost. There are times God does not want us to do things and times he wants us to avoid confrontation so we need to listen. Even Jesus sometimes withdrew before confrontations happened. Remember that he was operating by the Spirit as a man, demonstrating that it is possible for us to do the same:
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. (John 4:1-3)
For whatever reason it was not the Father's will that there be a confrontation at this time. At other times Jesus took on the Pharisees and easily put them in their place but at this time the Spirit had Jesus move from the area.
There are times when we take on battles, confront people, and enter into arguments before God has finished laying down the ground work. There is a preparation of hearts he is busy with, which are often our own. He allows us or others to experience things that will effect the way his words will be received when it is time for them to be spoken. If we rush into things hearts will be less receptive and it can go terribly wrong. We must listen to the Spirit and obey, always in everything. Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.
I guess that is the key, to live by the Spirit, not to think we are rogue agents doing whatever we feel like doing or saying whatever our flesh feels like saying. If we live by the Spirit our first reaction will always be one of love. We will never speak harshly to inflict hurt out of a need for vengeance or to prove ourselves to be better. There may be times we are given words to speak in correction but they will always be from a perspective of helping that person. God's words are never intended to kill or destroy people because these words come from the source of love. Even if they are hard words to hear the motivation is still that of love and rescue. No bulls in a china shop here, only a people filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit, our teacher and guide. Keep in step today and see what glorious things Jesus has planned to do through your heart of love.