Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
There have been years I’ve done the New Year’s Resolution thing, and years I’ve made general goals. Last year I claimed my word for the year. It’s all good stuff. I have little opinions on whether any one method is better than another. To each his own.
But I do like to embrace anything that will help me drown the Old Adam. The more creative the better, because that Old Adam, he just seems to have a really hard time going down.
Old Adam = A phrase we use biblically and theologically to define the presence of the sinful nature that is present in our personhood, also known as the old self.
We all have some perpetual sins. Sins that sit and stay awhile, and create crotchety old men inside of young women. The Old Adam has his knuckles clenched around these sins, holding strong, screaming, “But I don’t want to change! It’s so hard. So…much…work…I like my sin. It’s cozy to some extent. It’s familiar.”
I remember Sharla Fritz talking in her book Divine Design about this concept, likening our Old Adam sins to cozy sweaters that are really quite itchy and uncomfortable when we stop and think about them, but we put up with them anyway, constantly convincing ourselves that they are comfy.
Words are like this for me – language – I use so much of it, and sometimes, in all honesty, it’s not pretty. It’s not cozy. Sometimes my words leave a wake of sorrow in their path – accusations, frustration and anger, ill-conceived mediation in the wrong time and wrong place. Words. They can do so much good, but wow, can they burn.
This year, I want new words. While searching vaguely around the Internet last fall, I found an image that stated this simple concept…
Make Each Word a Gift
Words are powerful. The Bible tells us in the Wisdom Literature that they have the power of life and death. They can build up or tear down. They can destroy or give grace upon grace.
Many of my words are good. They share God’s love and mercy with those around me. But enough of my words scream Old Adam enough to poke me in the conscience and make me want to turn around, to face the other direction, and by the power of the Spirit to walk the hard path of change.
I want to make each word a gift.
So, while I was getting ready for a presentation and discussion on life as a pastor’s wife through Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, I decided to make myself a visual. Then I decided that it was something meant to be shared. So, I made a bookmark…one side has gift wrap and the other side has duct tape (albeit pretty duct tape). Sometimes, my tongue needs a reminder to just keep it zipped (duct tape). More often, I just need to invite myself to make each word a gift (gift wrap).
Here are the instructions for the fun bookmarks, in case you feel the hankering for a visual also. This would be a great and easy project for a women’s retreat, youth devotion, a classroom, wherever.
Making words a gift bookmark DIY:
First, cut strips of wrapping paper and duct tape the same length. I cut each piece to be 9.5” x 2”.
Next, stick them back to back.
Last, punch a hole a quarter inch from the top of the wrapping paper/gift wrap combo and attach a gift tag in order to make it more visual.
attach pretty ribbon through the gift tag hole
write with sharpie anywhere on the bookmark “Make each word a gift!” or an encouraging Bible verse regarding words and language
share this blog post as a devotion with your bookmark to give to someone or use with your group
Here are some examples:
If you use this DIY idea, give us a shout out in the comments. I’d love to see how yours turned out and how you used it.
Blessings on this New Year with new words!
(I found the concept of Make Each Word a Gift from Pocketfuel, a useful web resource with devotions, visual faith graphics, and more.