The Spirit and the Words
Years after Catherine the Great became empress of Russia, she recalled her early religious training as a young girl in Germany. Her tutor had taught her plenty of verses on the love of God and our justification by grace through faith. But he drilled them into her with such harshness that she always had difficulty separating in her mind the message from the means of instruction. She had learned the gospel, but it didn’t come across as very good news. And it certainly didn’t seem to follow her throughout her life.
Catherine is one of millions who could share similar experiences. Somehow we got the impression that the truth of God’s love and grace can be conveyed in a spirit that doesn’t reflect him. It can’t. It isn’t the words themselves that have power; it’s the spirit behind the words. Or, to put it another way, messengers of the gospel need to actually reflect it.
When you express your faith, does the spirit behind your words reflect who God is? Then lives will be changed. If not, then the words may not have a positive effect. Even more important than what you say is how you say it. When the “what” and the “how” work together, the message becomes a powerful influencer of hearts.
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