“Well, that’s so stupid!”
Oh my goodness, did I just say that out loud? How could I be so inconsiderate?
The words seemed to slip out of my mouth before I had time to grab them and push them back into my thoughts.
How many of you can relate to not thinking before you speak? I have done this more often than I would like to admit. Not thinking before I talk frequently results in me saying things I regret later. And sometimes, it’s not what I say, but how I say it that gets me in trouble. My tone and my words can tell two different stories, and the story my tone tells doesn’t always sound like Christ.
As a believer, I saw this as a problem in my life, and I set out to fix it. I did what most people would do, and I declared war on my words. I was determined to win this war by saying only “good” things and having a tone that was as gentle as a lamb. But when I would get annoyed with something or someone, my lips would still find a way for me to sin with my words.
What was happening? I set out to change my behavior, but in the heat of a moment, daggers in the form of words, would be released from my tongue to cut anyone in my vicinity.
In frustration, I went before the Lord in prayer. “Father, fix me! Please help me to change my tone. Lord, help me to be gentle with my words. Jesus, why haven’t you changed me yet?”
After much prayer, the Lord began to show me that my mouth was directly connected to my heart.
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.“
I didn’t have a word problem; I had a heart problem.
The words that were coming out of my mouth were just a representation of the content of my heart. We often think that this is not the case, but it is. Many people, including myself, will say things and then turn around to say how we don’t really mean it. According to scripture, this is not the truth. If it came out of your mouth, then it was in your heart in one degree or another.
Matthew 12:34 also helps to paint this picture by saying, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Imagine you have a cup in your hand that you fill up with water. Instead of stopping when the water reaches the top, you allow the water to overflow onto the floor. This is an excellent picture of how our hearts and our mouths are connected. The cup represents our heart, and the water overflowing onto the floor are all the words we speak. Essentially, everything that comes out of our mouths comes from the abundance that is in our hearts.
Once I started to understand this, my prayer then shifted. I began to ask the Lord to show me what my heart was full of so I could know what caused my words to be so sharp. I stopped participating in behavior modification and went to the root of the problem; my heart.
Battle Plan to Win the War
When I realized that my heart was the problem, I needed a battle plan that would utilize spiritual weapons to win this war on my words. The Lord gave me a plan that consisted of three components: prayer, storing, and abiding.
To see the fruit of our lips changed, we have to first pray for our hearts to be good ground. We can’t change our hearts, but the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to do it. We need our hearts to be good ground so the second component to our battle plan can be effective.
Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart.” We need to store up good things within our hearts for good things to come out of our mouths. The “good” we need to store in our hearts is the word of God. God’s word can act as a seed, and when planted on good ground, will produce a harvest of good fruit. Our hearts need to be good ground because bad soil won’t produce lasting fruit. So, we pray for our hearts to be good ground and then store good within them.
The process of storing involves us reading and studying God’s word. You can place scripture in places of your home that you go to often. You could put them on your bathroom mirror, or your refrigerator. You can place them on your kitchen cabinet above your sink and while you wash dishes you can meditate on the verse that is before you. No matter where we place the verses, we are sure to see good fruit produced from our lips when we store up the word in us.
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
When we try to produce fruit by our own merits, we participate in behavior modification. Doing this doesn’t produce lasting fruit in our lives. To produce lasting fruit we have to abide in the true vine, which is Jesus. Our job is to abide, and the Lord’s job is to produce fruit in us that the Father may be glorified.
(For further study on how to abide in Christ, click here to be taken to one of my previous blog post.)
Remember to PSA: Pray, Store, and Abide when you set out to configure your strategy to win the war on your words.
What’s At Stake
Proverbs 18:20-21 says, “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.“
Our hearts are attached to our tongue, and your tongue has the power of life and death in it. It’s not enough for us to prune the rotten fruit from our trees, we need to pull up the bad roots from our hearts as well. If life and death are in the power of our tongues, too much is at stake. As believers, we need the fruit of our lips to produce life. We eat from our own words, and so do those around us. Are we serving ourselves and others fruit laced with death in it, or are we giving life-infused fruit? I don’t know about you, but I desire life-giving words to flow from my lips. So I will allow the word of God to be like a seed that I plant within my heart. When it springs forth, it produces a tree that yields good fruit in the process.
If you are like me and have declared war on your words, let’s win this war by remembering PSA. Pray to God that your heart may be good ground. Store the word of God in your heart, which is one of the most powerful weapons we have in our arsenal. And lastly, abide in Jesus and believe that he will produce a harvest of good from your lips. As good things are stored in your heart, you will begin to speak what you are full of.
“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.” Luke 6:45 (NIV)
- I only gave three components to our battle plan for the war on words. What other components can you incorporate in your life that will lead to greater victory?
- Have you been able to identify what is within your heart that causes you to missuse your words? If so, what can you do to uproot it?