Open Mouth, Reveal Heart
We use our mouths in all kinds of contradictory ways: we can shout in anger in one moment and whisper peace in another, we can curse people one hour and sing the Lord’s praises the next, we can speak Truth out of one side and speak lies out of the other, we complain to our spouse and preach contentedness to our neighbors. As James said, “And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring” (James 3:10-12). So what is wrong with our mouths?
Mary Kay Osborne was experiencing fatigue and severe pain in her teeth and jaw. She went to the dentist and ended up getting a few teeth extracted to relieve the symptoms. But it turns out she wasn’t having a tooth or jaw or mouth problem at all—this “orofacial pain” was a cardiac warning sign. She didn’t need a dentist, she needed a cardiologist because she didn’t have a mouth problem, she had a heart problem.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:33-37)
“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45b)
You see, we don’t have a mouth issue, we have a heart issue. What we say reflects what is in our hearts. If Jesus is Lord of your heart, then what you say should reflect Him. Jesus changing our hearts should change the way we speak. We will be identified as followers of Christ by how we love others and this should be reflected in our speech. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus wrote that we should get rid of all harsh words, slander, obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes because these are not for us. We are set apart as holy to the Lord and what we say should reflect this Truth. We don’t complain or gossip or speak ill of others or use coarse language or tell crude jokes. If we have Living Water inside of us, then pure water should come out, and when it does it will be helpful and beneficial to the thirsty. But if saltwater comes out, that does no good to quench thirst and it will not reflect Jesus Christ, the Living Water.
Surrendering your life to Jesus includes surrendering your tongue. As C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity: “Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’”
So let that old, natural self be destroyed. Let Jesus have every aspect of your life because when He changes your heart, your speech will reflect this. It may be a battle with your sinful nature to slip back into your old ways of speaking, but lean on the Spirit, cultivate the Fruit, and let the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be pleasing to the Lord.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.