Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV)
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Communication. What are do we talk about? How do we use our words? I happen to use a lot of words in a single day just ask my husband. When I am not talking and expressing myself, it is then he becomes worried that something is wrong. In general, people know how I feel about something without soliciting a response. The Lord has done a tremendous work in my mouth. That’s right in my mouth. The Message that we have been given to share with the world seems obvious until given to people to carry out. We have this treasure in jars of clay. (2 Corinthians 4:7) The Great Commission would be more effective if we considered the condition of our “jar” rather than trying to flavor the Word given to us.
I was once told that the word “but” nullifies everything that comes before it. I’m sorry…but. Think about it. It’s true. We do it all the time. Excuses are born of buts. We have this wonderful message of God’s Great Love. It is news worth sharing with everyone we come in contact. Why do we insist on sharing other things? Meaningless things? Pointless things? Harmful words? Careless expressions? Forget about killing the messenger. The messenger has lost the Word given to deliver.
Christians are dissatisfied and hungry for fulfillment. What could a person in such a state have to offer or testify about their God to the watching, waiting and dying world? The chasm grows wider as the need to share one’s opinion or prove they are right overrides the love, kindness and compassion that is the love letter signed by Jesus’ Blood on the Cross and entrusted in our hearts to deliver. The tongue indeed holds the power of life and death. I was taught from a very young age that they can do infinitely more damage than a weapon and should not be used unintentionally. In other words, if you do not mean it do not say it. So how do we fix the problem?
Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only hat is helpful for building others up according to THEIR needs, that it may been THOSE who listen. My goal for 2016 in a nutshell. I would love to say that every single world I speak is kind, loving and encouraging. I would be lying if I did. As my walk with Christ intensifies, and I long for a deeper relationship with my Savior and Lord I find that the refining fire is headed toward my mouth. God wants ALL my communication to be worthy of His Spirit that nothing I say will grieve His Spirit in me. It will be a full-time job. I am to get rid of ALL bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander. All of it. Even the smallest most miniscule amount must be severely and harshly dealt with. Every form of malice. I am to be kind and compassionate to every other human being I come in contact with. I must forgive anyone and everyone that I harbor ill feelings towards like Christ forgave me which means grace comes with it. Lord, how will I do this?
Matthew 15:10-11 (NIV)
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them.”
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them” is referring to religiosity and customs. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. This freedom allows us to live and express our worship as we choose. However, it comes with this reminder. “What comes out of our mouth that is what defiles them.” Religion is not a sin unless it interferes with our relationship to Jesus Christ. The only thing in our life that is sinful is that which contradicts or interferes with our relationship to the Lord. Otherwise, go for it. The problem is that sometimes religion takes over righteousness which moves us from humility to personal exaltation which convinces us that somehow do not need grace anymore. In that state, we begin to judge others from a human point of view rather than a godly perspective. Case in point – homeless guy sitting on the side of the road with a sign that reads “Why lie I need a beer?” What do you do? Religion says I will not feed his addiction. Jesus says, “Let’s buy him a burger and bring it back.” The struggle to love others in spite of their sin is hard. I get that. It is difficult to give someone who isn’t working or doing their “fair share” your hard earned dollar BUT that is exactly what Jesus would do. What does that have to do with communication? How does it impact our message? Well, if we ever allow ourselves to get to the place where we feel more worthy of God’s Grace and Love than someone else, we have a heart problem that needs His Healing all over again.
Luke 6:45 (NIV)
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
From the abundance the heart our mouth speaks. Our mouth relays the condition of our heart unwillingly. As the words come tumbling out, it makes it clear to others what our motive is and intentions concerning them. What goes in is what comes out. It is simple science. If you feed worldly communication and only take in what the world has to offer, it is going to contaminate your jar so whatever is stored there is ruined. Jesus told the Pharisees, “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26) When we come to Christ, there is an immediate work in us that will often change how we communicate. We stop using certain words. We try to soften certain expressions. You know, we pick up new lingo. Just as we grow in our relationship with Christ, so should our vocabulary change and develop bearing fruit. “The mouth of the righteous should bear fruit of wisdom…” (Proverbs 10:31) Which means? “Bless your heart” is a real and not a statement to validate malice spoken previously. “I will pray for you” are real words of agreement not just a way to facilitate gossip. The enemy does not give up on us just because we surrender our life to Jesus. No, if anything this gets him all fired up and directs his attention on us. He will use every scheme he has to trick us into using our communication as a curse rather than the blessing it could be to us and others.
Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
It is important that our mouth and heart agree. If we declare with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart, it is salvation to our soul. Our heart believes. My mouth should profess my faith in every attitude and action on a daily basis. Cursing does not flow from a righteous mouth. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. (Proverbs 10:11) What I say about my life reflects the belief in my heart. Grumbling and complaining implies dissatisfaction with God who is my provider. Bickering and fighting exemplifies a lack of peace in my heart. Worrying and stressing over everything means that my heart is faithless and full of fear. Doubt is foretold in pessimism expresses a small lifeless god with no power. If we do not know how to effectively communicate love to others, it is an expression of a heart that has not yet encountered the limitless and unfailing Love of God. Our mouth is a prime indicator of our hearts condition. If the words we hear coming out of our mouth are not reflective of the work inside our heart – we must change what we are saying to the Glory of God.
James 3:9-12 (NIV)
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
We are told early on that if we have nothing nice to say that we should say nothing at all. This is okay for children and spiritually immature. However, one encounter with Jesus Christ changes everything as we answer the call to “follow Him.” Acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and Lord fills our mouth with a message worth sharing. He overflows us with grace, mercy and love not just for our own satisfaction but to share with everyone who we come in contact with. Even in the privacy of our home in quiet conversation with hushed voices with our closest companion or maybe our spouse using words not of love and affirmation but malice and ill will can cause damage in the heavenly realm. We are given the authority of binding and loosing in the Name of Jesus. The fire started by my tongue is so that others will want to know the God I serve and His Son who saved me. The message is all about love. I am the messenger. Lord, make my heart and mouth agree. Cleanse me of anything not worthy to be communicated along with Your Great Love!
Psalm 19:14 (NIV)
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.