• Today's Daily Devotion
Heavenly Performance Evaluation
BEING FROM an urban, Northern upbringing, when I first started working for a Southern fire department, I had to make a few adjustments. The men loved to tell stories and ...

Lieutenant (Retired) Lou Dattolo, Tallahassee, FL, Fire Department


Honestly evaluating ourselves

BEING FROM an urban, Northern upbringing, when I first started working for a Southern fire department, I had to make a few adjustments. The men loved to tell stories and joke around. I hadn’t shared many of their life experiences, such as hunting, fishing, and farming and wasn’t much of a story teller. To top it off, as a Christian, I was naturally set apart from much of the “foolishness.”

Over the years, I noticed a gradual change in myself. Though on-the-job profanity was not that big an issue on my shifts, my participation in what Ephesians 5:4 refers to as foolish talking and jesting increased to where I could pretty much hold my own. All along, though, I was aware this change was not necessarily for the better.

“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:4 KJV)

We all know there’s an ever-present danger in firefighting—from the emergency response to unpredictable conditions, to the confrontation with the fire “dragon” on its home turf. Add to that seeing people of all ages at their most helpless times (or immediately after their death), and we can get down physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. If the public knew what we go through, they’d understand why the fire station is a sanctuary. The camaraderie of fellow firefighters plays a major role in recuperating from the difficult aspects of the job. Without that shared sense of humor and levity, depression would get an even stronger hold than it already does.

But what about that fine line that’s crossed from time to time when that which is healthy and accepted of the Lord becomes that which is injurious and unacceptable to him or, at the very least, “not convenient“ or helpful in walking in the narrow way? In Matthew 12:36 the Lord Jesus reminds us we will have to give an account of “every idle word” (KJV) one day. This is part of our “Heavenly Performance Evaluation.” That’s a staggering and sobering truth.

Let’s honestly evaluate ourselves in light of God’s Word. Let’s “give thanks” as we make adjustments that need to be made through prayer and submission to the work of God and the Holy Spirit as we are being conformed to the image of Christ.


Lord, help me be to be aware of all the words I speak. Help me to know the difference between good humor and harmful foolish talking. Help me not speak profanity or ever utter your name in vain. Help me to be a person of clean, uplifting, and positive speech. May all I say be pleasing to your ears.

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