SWEET TEA - by Ken Griffith - Recently I was in a three day conversation on Facebook with some friends (some Southerners and some from up north) about sweet tea, the best recipe and the proper preparation of sweet tea. Some of the northern guys were taken with the idea of southern sweet tea. But it all starts with the tea bag and what is in it. Ultimately you never really know what is on the inside of a tea bag until it is in the hot water. The same can be said for us because when we get in some hot water (stress, trials) what is really on our inside will come out. The first thing out of us is usually our words. We can use words of anger or hatred. Sometimes we use words to blame others. And sometimes our words are vulgar and curses. Let’s talk for a moment about cursing. Someone may already be saying, "Give us a break. Everyone uses those words. Guys will be guys. You hear it all the time." Someone else will quickly point out that we hear these words on TV and in the world all the time. I am not going to point fingers or call anyone out ... all we will do is look at some scripture. Colossians 3:1-11 talks about our old selves, the change Christ makes in our lives, bad things in our lives that must be left behind and putting on the "new self." The list of things to be left behind includes anger, rage, malice, slander and "filthy language." The new you in Christ has no room for cursing. James chapter 3 talks about the tongue in great detail. The chapter tells us that the tongue is a small part of our body but it makes great boasts. The tongue is described as a small spark that can set a forest ablaze, as a restless evil full of deadly poison. Verse 6b shouts a warning to us about our tongue when it says, "It (our tongue) corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." In verse 10 we are told, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." Certainly sounds as though our words are considered to be important and there should be no room for cursing from the mouth of a believer in Christ. I am not here as some prude that doesn’t know of what he speaks. As a young man my language would run in contest with any sailor on shore leave. I am not proud of that. One day God called me on my language. I was sitting in the trees of a park near Black Mountain, North Carolina and it is just as real right now as it was then. I am not saying that I heard the voice of God speak from the clouds but He did speak to me in my spirit in a way that was just like He was seated next to me on that bench and He said, "If you are going to call yourself a Christian then live like it….or forget it." I was staggered. With the Lord’s help my foul mouth stopped that day. My best friend, one week later, rededicated his life to the Lord. I asked him what brought about that decision and he said, "You aren’t like you used to be. You don’t talk like you used to talk. Because of that I knew I needed to change." I didn’t preach to my friend. He just saw the change in how I talked and it was an amazing testimony about God’s strength to my friend that helped bring him closer to the Lord. Satan would love to use my old habit to be a bad influence on someone. But with Christ’s help I am still winning. You can too. If we claim Christ in our lives, whether we are at work, home, or in public we need to live Christ out before others with our actions, our habits, and our words. We need to live as an example for others in a world that is foul. We need to be salt and light for Christ in this world, among our family and friends. When we are stressed and tried our words should speak that we are children of the King of the universe. We should stand out from the crowd with our good words as we live as ambassadors representing Christ Himself. When our lives get into the hot water of life….only good should come out. It works for southern sweet tea and it should be the same for us. The stuff on the inside should be good and give those around us a thirst for the living water of Christ.