Even the Prickly

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2,4-7

 Put to death what is earthly in you: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:5,8,9-12,14,17

Most evergreens look prickly, but looks can be deceiving. I think the phrase “rubs me the wrong” way came from pine needles, because if you touch them the ‘wrong’ way, they stick and hurt, but if you rub them the other way, they are soft to the touch. Even the most prickly people can be softened by God’s careful hand when their tendencies are yielded to Him. There are advantages to having great drive, ambition, well-informed opinions and a strong personality — leadership qualities all. But when these are used in a boisterous, rude, capricious, or self-serving way, they are prickly to those around them, and any effectiveness falls flat. When submitted to God’s gracious kneading, and lordship, filtered through concern for others and expressed with love, the same qualities are received softly and gratefully by those being led, and can be used by Him for much good, positive influence, and the advancement of His plans.

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:23-24

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” 2 Samuel 22:36; Psalm 18:35

Lord, guard me from planning or executing anything from selfish ambition or conceit, driven by my accelerator rather than Yours. Replace touchiness and prickliness with others-focused kindness and love. May I genuinely consider others as more important than I, and do everything for their sake, and Yours. Make me strong, and gentle. Philippians 2:3-4

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