My mouth will spill out what my heart holds. I am so convinced of this – and convicted!!
Sooner or later, my words reveal the condition of my heart. I can pretend- put on a mask. I can try to hold down what’s in my heart with a lid, but when the heat gets turned up, the contents will bubble up and overflow. “Out of my heart my mouth will speak.” (Matthew 12:34) And the overflow of our hearts is most likely to happen at home with those we cherish the most, when we let down our guard amidst the pressures of daily living.
James states that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…set on fire by hell.” And in Acts chapter two we read about tongues of fire that sat upon each person present, filling them with the Holy Spirit. I choose, moment by moment, which fire will ignite my tongue by which fuel I allow my heart to be filled with.
Will my heart be filled with wisdom that is from above or wisdom from below?
We can be saved by grace yet still in bondage to what we hold tightly to in our hearts. According to James 1:21, we are to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness so that we can humbly receive the implanted Word. A heart filled with His words will spill forth sweet, life giving water; words that are pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruit. (James 3:17) But what if one’s heart is filled instead with other things: envy, strife, anger, malice, unforgiveness, worry, self seeking thoughts? What is the overflow of such a heart? Harshness? Anger? Impatience? Malice? Discord?
A tree is known by its fruit. (Matt 12:33)
We can offer others both harm and healing with our words.
We can bless and we can curse with our words.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)
Our words, both written and spoken, reveal who we are. They have to power to teach, to encourage, to comfort, to control, to hurt. No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 12: 3l that we are accountable for every idle word we speak.
To control our tongue however requires more than watching what we say; it requires that we keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23) We need to empty our hearts of what defiles and make room for Jesus who fills us with wisdom from above.
The best gift we can give (and model for) our children, our spouses, our friends and our co-workers is a clean heart, one that is emptied of evil and self seeking ways and filled with good treasures. 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. Matthew 12:35
If this convicts you as it did me, take time this week to ponder the Proverbs below about the tongue. Memorize them and share them with your kids!
Other Proverbs About the Tongue
Proverbs 10:11: The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
Proverbs 10: 19-21: When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
Proverbs 11: 12-13: A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
Proverbs 12:14: From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
Proverbs 12: 18: Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12: 22: The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.
Proverbs 13:3: He who guards his hips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 15:1: A gentle answer turns way wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:4: The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:28: The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Proverbs 16: 23: A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Proverbs 17:26: A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Proverbs 18:2: A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
Proverbs 18:7: A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare of his soul.
Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 25:11: A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.