Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
I want to start with a verse that shook me to the core of my very being, I did not realize the long term effects that my words would have on my life. I will share it with you and then we will tear it apart a little. Please take some time and read this chapter of Matthew for yourself, as I have only taken a portion of it for this teaching.
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
35A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Wow, these few verses send chills running down my spine. In essence it is telling us that every idle word that we speak here on this earth, during our life times, we will have to give an account for.
When I first read that I was admittedly terrified, and the reason is quite obvious, I know the things that I have spoken and I know that my motives when speaking them have not always been very good.
So how on earth could I ever stop using my words as weapons of mass destruction?
In the few verses before verse 36 it gives us some clues on how to tame what comes out of our mouths.
In verse 33 it says; 33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”
Throughout Jesus’ teachings he refers to Christians as people who will bear much fruit, he spoke to his disciples about them bearing fruit. But what is this fruit that is spoken about here?
Galatians 5:22-23 is a good place to start, it tells us that the fruit that is produced through the Holy Spirit living within us is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
John 15 tells us that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and if we stay connected to him we will bear much fruit, and like any vine that produces an abundant crop it needs to be pruned and watered and cared for. That is what God does for us, he prunes, cares for and waters (teaches and grows) us.
In this particular verse it is telling us directly that we are to either make the tree (us) good and produce a good harvest from it, (Galatians 5:22-23), or we grow a tree (us) that is bad and produce rotten fruit that brings death and destruction into our lives.
What kind of fruit are you producing at the moment, with your actions and attitudes?
Verse 34 says; “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Now granted, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees at the time of this conversation, and they once again doubted the words that he had spoken. So he calls them a Brood of vipers! He asks them this rhetorical question, “How can you, being evil, speak good things?”
He does not want them to answer him, but is stating a very important fact that we cannot overlook as truth seekers. He called them evil and then stated that because they were evil; they could not possibly speak any good thing. There was no way for any truth or goodness to come out of their mouths.
Then Jesus goes on to say that “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What does that mean to us? Well let’s think about it for a moment, if we look at the word abundance, it means to overflow. Think of a pot of soup that is boiling on the stove, when it reaches a certain temperature, it starts to bubble over the top of the pot, and before long it has gone over the boundaries of the pot and has overflowed onto the stove, causing a huge mess.
The same principle applies here; whatever is inside of our hearts will inevitably flow right out of our mouths, no doubt about it, just like that boiling pot of soup. Like the pot of soup it can either cause a lot of damage to those around us, or if the things that are flowing out of us are good, then it will nourish the people around us instead. Therefore in the book of proverbs it deals extensively with the issue of guarding both your heart and your lips. (We will attack that next)
“He who guards his Lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”
You can see here in proverbs, written (by King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live) a long time before Jesus came to earth that it is a good thing to guard our lips as it literally guards our lives
Verse 35 says: “A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
Remember, that if we are filling our hearts with good things that come from God, that good will come out of our mouths, and the opposite is true as well. If we are filling our hearts with wrong thinking, sinful behavior and anything that is in contrast to God, then that is truly what will come out of our mouths.
We as Christians have to learn to first of all guard our hearts, so that what comes out of our mouths is good and edifying for those around us. If we don’t put this principle into practice in our daily lives it will bring about untold sorrow and destruction.
In the next article we will be dealing with the principles that we need to put into place in our lives so that guarding our heart against the evil things in this world becomes like second nature to us.
Now finally onto the last 2 verses,
Verse 36: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
Yes my friend, you read that correctly, Jesus himself said that for every idle word that men speak we will have to give an account of it on the day of judgment.
It was this particular verse that got my attention when it came to how I use my words. I thought of how terrible it would be to have all the things that I have ever spoken to be put forth before Jesus one day, and how that would make me feel. I immediately felt the feelings of embarrassment at the words that I knew I had spoken.
I repented of the wickedness that I had built up in my heart and asked the lord to help me to build his truth as the measuring stick for everything in my life. If it did not measure up to the truth of God’s word, the bible, then I do not want anything to do with it. Essentially I was asking God to help me to guard my heart and my lips from sinning against him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is faithful to fulfill that request.
Verse 37: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
This verse says it very clearly for us to understand, we will; my brothers and sister either be justified(made in right standing with God) by our words that we speak or we will be condemned, because we have allowed wickedness to take root in our hearts.
In this section, I want you to take a few moments and examine your heart.
- Ask the Lord to show you areas in your heart where you have allowed your heart to become hard to his teachings?
- Ask him to show you how you use your words. Are they being used to build people up or are they being used to tear people down?
- Do you tend to excuse your behavior as, “Well I am a tell it how it is kind of a person”
- Do you find yourself feeling a sense of satisfaction when you have given someone a piece of your mind?
- If you have children, how do you speak to them? Do you treat them with respect by the words that you speak to them? Or do you criticize and condemn their every action?
- Do you find that sometimes you might be thinking of saying these hurtful words to people, but you don’t? You might feel a sense of accomplishment that you did not say anything, but you are still harboring those thoughts in your heart.
If you have found that you have answered yes to any of these questions, friend please realize that you are not alone, we as human beings all struggle with these things, but there is hope, hope to be able to walk in freedom from the terrible hardening of our hearts towards Christ.
Take a few minutes with me now and let us pray together that God would forgive us for hardening our hearts and that He would teach us to guard our hearts from this day forward.
Dear heavenly father, we come before you today and ask that you would forgive us for hardening our hearts towards you. Forgive us for the lies that we have believed that has put us into bondage. Father we desire to be a people whose hearts are whole heartedly devoted to you, and to do that we know that we have to learn to guard our hearts and our lips.
Please help us, through the power of your Holy Spirit. Teach us to run to you when we have messed up and make us more aware every day of what is coming out of our mouths. In Jesus name we pray.
Filed under: Power of the Tongue