Heart and Mouth

James 3:1-5a NASB

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

Make No Provision

We who teach the Word of God need to be so careful to be walking in obedience to our Lord, and to not making any provision for the flesh. We need to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. Daily we must put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and daily we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh by saying “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts.

Then we must walk by the Spirit, following Jesus Christ with our lives, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Jesus’ return.

If we do not take our Lord and his Word seriously, and we, instead, play with sin by not putting on the armor of God, and by not forsaking our idols, and by not taking up our cross daily and following our Lord, we open ourselves up wide for a fall. And, we do a disservice to those who listen to the words that we speak. For, we can’t walk in the flesh and in the Spirit at the same time. We can’t serve God and the flesh at the same time, either.

Know this, also, that flesh gives birth to flesh. If we are not serious about our walks of faith, that we walk in all purity, holiness, and integrity, it will come out through the words which we speak, especially when we don’t have our guard up. If we are taking impurity into our eyes and minds as a regular part of our “diet,” or if we are those who are caught up in gossip, etc., those fleshly thoughts and attitudes will seep out through our words when we don’t want them to.

For, the scriptures teach that it is out of our hearts that our mouths speak. So, if we want control over what we say, then we need to make certain that we have clean hearts. We need to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives. And, then in his strength and power at work within us, we need to get rid of all bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, critical spirits, hatred, lust, lewdness, and all impurity, etc. For, if we don’t, and we play with fire, we are likely to get burned. And, then we could lose our testimony for Jesus Christ and for his gospel.

James 3:5b-12 NASB

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

From Our Hearts

Once we say it, we can’t take it back. It is out there. And, if we are not careful to guard our hearts and to walk in the Spirit, so that we don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh, out of our hearts our mouths will speak, most certainly. And, what we say can be very hurtful to others.

Even if we walk closely with our Lord, and our minds are bathed in the Word of God, and we are putting on the armor of God daily, we still live in flesh bodies, and we can still be tempted to sin. And, even if we guard our minds and our hearts against the evils of the world around us, it doesn’t take much and we can get sucked back into wrong thinking and attitudes if we are not judicious about protecting ourselves against all negative outside influences.

For, truly, the poison first comes from what is within our hearts and minds and then it seeps out through our lips. So, we need to make certain that what we are allowing into our minds is wholesome and pure. For, as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” So, we need to not make as our close friends those who are angry people, those who make a practice of gossip or who are immoral in their thinking and in their speech. For, bad company can corrupt good character.

Guns and knives are just instruments which evil people use to murder others. Tongues, as well, are just the instruments we use to injure others either because we are careless about what we are receiving into our own minds and hearts, or because of the evil which we keep within our hearts which we will not relent and thus we do not submit ourselves to God.

James 3:13-18 NASB

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Godly Wisdom

What we are will be what we will produce. This does not mean that godly people never sin. They can and they do. This is also not to say that godly people are perfect in mind and heart. For, our salvation is a process of sanctification and of us being made holy and of us putting sin to death and putting on Christ and his armor. We are all in process until the day we die, or until Jesus comes to take us home to be with him for eternity.

But, “in process” is never to be used as an excuse for continued and willful sin against God. The godly person, when convicted, will most likely repent immediately of his or her wrong thinking or negative attitude, and will then make it his or her practice to guard against such continued wrong thinking. He or she will be cognitive of that erroneous attitude to put it to death every time it tries to reenter the thinking, and to put on what is pure and right.

And, the godly person will ask the Lord to search his or her heart to see if there is any unforgiveness, or bitterness of spirit that needs to be dealt with at the cross. And, he or she will be diligent to get rid of all that hinders his or her walk of faith so that he or she can walk in purity of devotion to Christ, and so that the overflow of the heart will be what is of God, not from what is of the flesh.

So, back to what I began to say here. What we are in our heart of hearts, i.e. in our characters, will be what we produce. So, we need to search our hearts, pray for God to reveal to us what is there, and then get rid of what is evil and cling to what is good. The closer we walk with our Lord in obedience to him, and that we make it our practice to die daily to sin and to put on the armor of God, the more that what comes out of our mouths will be what is beneficial for building others up in their faith, and not for bringing them harm.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Hymn lyrics by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

*copyright status is public domain

Sunday, September 16, 2018 – Lord Jesus, I pray you will help us all to take this to heart, and that we will search our own hearts in prayer, and that we will get rid of anything there which is displeasing to you so that we can walk with you in purity of devotion and bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

 

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