Have you ever squeezed an orange only to have lemon juice come out? No? Me neither!
While that may be a silly analogy, the same applies to us. When the pressures of life squeeze us, what’s on the inside pours out in our words and actions. Proverbs 27:19 says, as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart (NIV).
What would our reflections be? Would they display grace and encouragement, nourishing those around us? Or, would the words of our mouth reflect the frustration, anger, and bitterness of hearts grown cold?
In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus put it like this, you won’t find grapes on briers or figs on thornbushes. The tree is recognized by the fruit it produces. Whatever fills the heart, bubbles up and flows through our mouth (paraphrasing).
The truth is, from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. To change our speech, the words we use, the tone we use, and the motivation of our words, we have to get to the heart of the issue. So download your Making Christ Lord Of My Lips Workbook (sign up for the newsletter) and let’s get started!
1.) TASTE YOUR WORDS
The words of our mouth are the fruit of our hearts. If you were to “eat” your words, would sweet, refreshing orange juice or bitter lemon juice flow? Would your stomach turn sour, or be satisfied? What is the health of your fruit?
- From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips, he is satisfied. Proverbs 18:20 (NIV)
2.) DETERMINE WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR SPEECH
Last week we talked about the different forms of poison our mouths can produce. Of the areas you struggle with, what is the underlying root? Is it anger? The expectation of perfection? Frustration? Pride and arrogance? Jealousy? Fear? Perversion? Acceptance? Hurt? Lack of gratitude? Need for attention? Determining the cause is key to “uprooting” the weed.
- Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:17-18 NKJV
- For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 NKJV
3. CONFESS, REPENT, AND REPEAT
In Psalm 32, David talks about his body wasting away as he kept silent about his sin. Confessing lifts the heaviness from our soul, opening the line of communication with God. The heart of the Father has always been to turn His children back to Him. Resist the enemy’s urge and, over time, the urge will flee.
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
- Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19 (NIV)
- Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV)
You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. – Margaret Thatcher
4.) COMMIT TO MAKING CHRIST LORD OF YOUR LIPS
Lord – master, captain, commander, King, leader, boss, director, instructor and judge. Whoever sits on the throne of one’s heart, determines the life lived. There is only room for one King on the throne. Either we give all access to our King, allowing Him to steer, direct, and lead or we retain the reigns and direct our own lives.
- For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
- Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
- But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
5.) STORE GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HEART
To keep our ways pure, we have to live according to His word, seeking Him with all our heart. Hiding His Word in our hearts keeps us heavenly focused and deters us from sin. Though the Making Christ Lord Of My Lips Workbook has scripture relating to our heart, words and renewing the mind, there are verses for every area we struggle in. Search the Bible for them, write them down, commit them to memory.
- I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 (NIV)
- I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. Psalm 119:7 (NIV)
6.) GUARD YOUR HEART
Our hearts are the source of life both spiritually and physically. If we don’t guard it with the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness, we leave our lives open to enemy invasion. Do you find yourself around others who draw those weaknesses out? Are there certain environments or entertainment inviting it into your life?
- Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:23-24 (NIV)
- Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)
- Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
- Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked. Proverbs 25:26 (NIV)
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Guard that time well.
If you missed last week’s discussion on the lifelong damage of the tongue, be sure to check it out!
Don’t forget to download Making Christ Lord of Your Lips Workbook. This 28-page workbook has a 31-Day reading plan, questions, guided prayers, as well as a scripture reading plan for each area discussed in Scripture.
Our family is doing the study together over the summer. I’d love to hear how you use it!
We’ve all been there. On the receiving end of reckless words. And while our mouths can declare with a sense of certainty, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” our hearts have a harder time believing it.
Tears well up. Hurts are deposited. Hearts grow cold.
Words. The most powerful tool we have for communication, and yet, according to Proverbs 18:21, they can be used to breathe life or inflict death.
We learn this “art” of words – the painful infliction of death by tongue – at a very young age.
We learn to show compassion or criticize. Teach or tear down. Extend grace or spew disgrace. Worship or whine. Defend or divide. Make peace or stir up problems. Gossip or give wise counsel. Bless or bruise.
In Matthew 12:36, Jesus made a sobering comment, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
The fact is our words carry a lot of weight. With warnings about the magnitude of the tongue sprinkled through scripture, we have to understand how important our words are to the Father AND how influential they are to our neighbor.
After all, God spoke creation into motion and made us in His image. Having made all creatures, God “brought them to Adam to see what he (Adam) would name them and that is what they were called” (Genesis 2:19). How about Pentecost? For the first time, people were filled with the Holy Spirit, represented as flaming tongues, and they proclaimed the Gospel in other languages.
God has given us authority in our words but with that comes great responsibility. His desire is for us to call forth life, proclaiming the Gospel.
James describes the extent of the tongue’s damage in James 3:2-12. As we dive into the six takeaways, ask the Father to open the eyes of your heart to any areas of concern. So download your Making Christ Lord Of My Lips Workbook (sign up for the newsletter) and let’s get started!
1.) We All Stumble
You’re not alone in this battle. We know from scripture, Jesus is the only one without fault. You and I have all fallen and said things we wish we could take back. But, to gain ground in this area, we have to be open to areas of improvement and acknowledge our need. Once we open our hearts to the truth of this need, we’re set free to move forward.
- We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James 3:2
2.) Deadly Poison Is At The Tip Of The Tongue
While I would never actually hand someone a cup of deadly poison to drink, there have been times I’ve given them a “cup” full of my poisonous words. What we say to or about others speaks volumes about us. Criticism, harsh, complaining, cussing, condescending, bragging, manipulation, gossip, lying, exaggerating, and negativity are all forms of deadly poison. We have to train ourselves to see them in such a way.
- All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8
3.) Our Words Shape Our Lives.
I love that James uses a ship as an example. The first ship ever made, the Ark, was designed by God to save lives, preserve future generations, and redirect the course of the world. We are created to do the same, friends! But the tiny “rudder” in our mouths, take us off course. It may start with one degree off but, left uncorrected; we will find ourselves headed in an entirely different direction than the Captain ordered. Our tongue controls who we become; where we go.
- When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. James 3:3-4
4.) Our Speech Has The Ability To Ruin Our Entire Life
It’s amazing how much destruction one word can cause. Friendships end, ministries evaporate, marriages dissolve, and families wither as a result of the tongue. The untamed tongue, with its roots in hell, is like a small spark in the dry grass of summer’s heat. It burns out of control, consuming everything in the path while leaving behind permanent devastation.
- Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6
5.) Doesn’t Mix With Godly Character
If you’ve ever made salad dressing, you know oil and water DO NOT MIX. Sure, you can vigorously shake it until it somewhat blends, but within minutes the two have parted ways; oil on top, water on the bottom. When we curse or condemn others, we are cursing their Creator; the One who made them in His image and likeness. The words float to the top, covering up the life-giving water below. Ungodly words will never mix with His living water.
- 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. James 3:9-12
6.) It Will Lead Us Further From God
Because empty, poisonous words to not mix with Godly character, the more we allow our “rudder” to take us off course, the further and further away from God we get. Our lives display less of Him and more and more of our divisive ways.
- Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:16
I don’t know about you, but I have enough to give an account for before adding a laundry list of empty words to it. Not to mention, I want my words to heal wounds, not cause them. How then do we tame the tongue? Join me next week as we get to the heart of the issue! Blessings!
- Do your words point others (family, friends, co-workers, strangers) to God or away from Him?
- Of the deadly poisons listed in point 2, in which area(s) do you struggle? Write it down and pray over it. We will revisit these next week.
- Do you see how words have shaped your life? What about the life of someone else?
- Have you seen the “rudder” of someone’s mouth cause irreparable damage?
- Commit to memorizing Proverbs 18:21.
“Some pain is good,” she explained as she ruffled my husband’s release papers.
Her words caught me off guard, ringing in my ear the entire ride home.
How could pain be good? The very topic of it feels uncomfortable, leaving an uneasy awareness that life is not always pleasant.
What our nurse didn’t expand on is that pain happens for one reason: to protect you. Simply put, it’s the body’s way of letting us know something is harmful. Pain also has a memory, relying on past experiences to determine the stimulus and pain levels.
Unless medication numbs the pain sensors, the body feels each new pain more strongly.
Unfortunately, pain isn’t limited to our physical body. The emotional pain caused by gut-wrenching names last well beyond the initial blow. With each new painful word, name, or accusation, comes a higher level of pain. A pain sinking deeper and deeper into the fibers of our DNA.
In an attempt to cover the throbbing wound, we begin numbing the sensors by self-medicating. Drugs, alcohol, materialism, perfectionism, success, good works, anger, etc., become our outlet. All the while, the only medication strong enough to completely remove the pain is His life-giving truth. A healing truth that declares you are …
Chosen & Cherished
From the beginning, I chose you. It was My grace that drew you to salvation, calling your name out of the darkness. I adore you so much that I sent my Son to pay your ransom, a price you could never pay. Cherished one, you are engraved on the palms of His hands. Always with Me, never forgotten.
- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. John 15:16
- But we ought always to thank God for you, brother loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16
Sweet friend, I will never steer you wrong. I laid down my life for you to enjoy an abundant life here on earth. Walk with me, talk with me, friend to friend. My counsel comes straight from our Father’s throne room. Our time together will leave you refreshed, encouraged, and full of joy.
- Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
- No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
- Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9
Although your citizenship is with Me in heaven, I have appointed you my highest-ranking diplomat on earth. I have entrusted you with an eternal mission to represent the interests of My Kingdom. Don’t let the things around you distract you from the importance of your job as My ambassador. You are a significant part of my work on earth.
- We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20
- But our citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:20
- Set your minds on things above not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
Redeemed & New
I alone have justified you. My Son lived a perfect life to redeem an imperfect world. His surrender paid for your striving. You are a brand-new child with a new life, full of possibilities. No longer do I see your past. So why do you gaze at it? Keep your eyes focused on Me as I transform your past problems into a palace of potential. I am making all things new!
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
- Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Romans 8:33-34
Sealed & Secure
When you trusted me with your life, an eternal deposit was made. A deposit, worth more than all the world’s riches. The eternity I placed in your heart as I formed you was set ablaze. Nothing in all creation can break My seal of approval on your life. You are safe, secure, and sealed with My unwavering love.
- He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:22
- Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 2 Corinthians 5:5
- When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
Names rely on past experiences to determine the pain level. Did any of these or the names from last week’s post trigger an uneasy memory or uncomfortable feeling?
If so, don’t skip or rush through it. Pain’s purpose is to show you where you’re hurt. While the emotional “body” is trying to protect you, numbing your pain sensors, our Great Physician is seeking to heal you. Allow Him to uncover the lie so His truth can cover it.
Choose to embrace the Father’s words, to let His truth hug you and set you free!
Don’t forget to sign up for these Scripture cards. I’ve also included blank ones so for you. Write you own new name or jot down the Bible verses and carry them with you as a reminder of who you were created to be.
As we finish up the series on More Than A Label, it seems fitting to talk about the power of our tongue. So, join me next week for the series on The Power of Our Words.
Blessings, Chosen One!