I love to cook; however, I still have the occasional mishaps like when items boil over. When something boils over on the stove, it makes such a mess. It is horrible to clean up, and often there is still some remnant of evidence left behind of the disaster even after trying to clean up.
Today’s passage speaks of this life motto to live by, and it’s great. Guard your ways. Speak only what is right. Muzzle your mouth. Remain silent. This is all important. The Bible tells us that our words have power—life and death in fact. So, we need to be mindful of our words. And yet, we often try to hold our tongue and our thoughts fester, and we begin the spew things out of our mouth. We boil over. It is as if we become dragons and we then breathe fire over everything. Such destruction.
This boiling over lifestyle is not fruitful nor glorifying. The Psalmist here is asking for God to remind him of life’s limits, of the short time span we have here in this life. In focusing on the brevity of life, we are reminded that life here is temporary and all that we are struggling with is for a brief moment. As well, our focus is then an eternal focus. We are reminded to live this life motto out, and to seek God to help us each day so that we do not boil over. We ask Him to help us fix our thoughts. We ask Him to help us with our patience. Time is brief, and what we want to boil over is love—overflowing, overwhelming love.
“Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by: I will guard my ways for all my days. I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak. Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy, I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around me. I will remain silent and will not grumble or speak out of my disappointment. But the longer I’m silent the more my pain grows worse! My heart burned with a fire within me, and my thoughts eventually boiled over until they finally came rolling out of my mouth. ‘Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is. Help me to know how limited is my life and that I’m only here but for a moment more.’” – Psalm 39:1-4 [TPT]
A tortoise stands up to allow lizards and birds to get the insects that are in the hard-to-reach areas. One would think that a tortoise would not want to surround himself with lizards and birds, that they are very different from the slow-paced life of the tortoise. While this action of the tortoise benefits the tortoise, who likely gets irritated and annoyed by the insects, it also benefits the lizards and birds, who get a nice meal. What a great way for these creatures to live together in harmony!
In life, we are supposed to live in harmony with each other too. This can seem like a hard task as we sometimes do not understand certain people or enjoy their company. We question why someone comes along our path. We see some people near us as a nuisance. There are people we do not see as helpful. Some people are draining. Let’s be honest. It’s true. You will not like everyone. You will not get along with everyone. You may not want to lift yourself up for a lizard to help you out, because you cannot get past the annoyance of the lizard.
When you face these challenges, understand that the other person is created in the image of God. Just like you, the person is a broken image-bearer. It may be for your good that you have encountered the person. Remember, God uses all things to accomplish His great purpose. God is continuing to grow you into who you were meant to be in life. Today, choose to rise up like the tortoise and elevate those around you. As you look out for the best interest of others, as you invest in others and do whatever you can do to speak life to them, God will use what you pour out for His glory and He will continue to mold you into His image and teach you how to love others as He loves.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:16 [ESV]
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 [ESV]
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NASB]
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 [ESV]
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 [NIV]