Words are potent.
They inspire us to love. “Greater love has no one than this . . .” ~Jesus
They intoxicate us with passion. “I dare you to let me be your one and only . . .” ~Adele
They challenge us to selfless sacrifice. “Ask not what your country can do for you . . .” ~JFK
Yet words without action are of no value. To be awakened or provoked is not enough unless we are motivated to do something. Perhaps the most pathetic demonstration of hypocrisy is to say we feel moved while we are sitting and doing absolutely nothing.
Many times someone has said to me, “I loved your talk today!” or “I really enjoyed your book!” or “Great blog!” and I wonder, Did my words matter? Did anything I said or wrote result in any measurable and lasting changes in that person’s life?
If I were to think about it too long, I’d probably get discouraged, but then I remember that most change is incremental, not instantaneous. There’s a good reason why the Bible contains 66 books—we need to read truth (or hear it) again and again.
It’s like staining a deck: the more applications, the deeper the color. The more we read or hear something, the deeper the impact.
Is it human nature to be thick-skinned? Scientists undoubtedly will discover someday a “dimwitted and stubborn” gene (yes, I have it). This tendency requires repeated exposure to inspiring and challenging words to rouse us to growth and change.
What this means for you and me:
We should be careful to choose wisely when it comes to who we listen to and what we read. If words matter, and they do, then negative, foolish, or harmful words damage our souls. (For example, do you honestly feel better after watching most of the current political debates? I fear they are doing nothing to “make America great again”.)
We should invest time every day in listening to and reading that which facilitates healthy spiritual development and accelerates positive personal growth. I want to be better. It’s why I read the Word every day. It’s why I listen to gifted teachers. It’s why I read books that make me think and provoke me to change.
In a time of hollow political sound bites, worthless Twitter tweets, and way too much idiocy on the idiot-box, be sure to take in something every day that is worthy of your time.
PS: I don’t do this enough, but thank you for reading my blogs. I am honored that you find my posts worthy of your time, and I hope that at least a few of my words fall into the category of practical wisdom in your life.
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