Devotion - July 2

Psalms 6-10, Proverbs 2, Ephesians 4:25-32

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Bruce Larson used to say that we need 5 “Atta Boys” for every 1 “You jerk”. Marriage researchers at the Gottman Institute (University of Washington) confirmed the same 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions in healthy relationships. And long before any of these observations, the Apostle Paul admonished the believers in Ephesus to only speak words that build up ‘according to their needs’ - which strikes me as a key characteristic. It is what the other needs to hear to be built up — not what I need them to hear!

Today, who will you build up with words? What do they need to hear for their benefit?
I’ve learned from the Psalms that a similar ratio of words applies to praise and thanksgiving to God alongside other types of speech formulated by my heart and mouth. Play this game with yourself: with every word of complaint or frustration or negative self talk or anxiety, speak five sentences of praise or thanks to God. The Holy Spirit will build you up in the process, and maybe a game will become a habit that overflows in praise to others as well.
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