The Skillful Tongue – Part Three

Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt

Prov 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

If you have ever had a leak in your roof, one thing you’ve learned through the process is that water and gravity work together to find openings where that water can leak through. If there is a crack, water will find its way. This is also true with words. They just find a way to come out. There are words that should never be spoken and attitudes such as sarcasm that should buried for life. Wrong attitudes and wrong words take the form of complaining, whining, anger, yelling, gossip and backbiting and like a water leak, finds their way out. That is why James 3:8-11 instructs us with a profound truth, “… no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

The tongue, or the words that come from our mouth are simply the outward expression of what is in our heart. We all know that not everything in our heart is good. Jer 17:9 describes the heart without Jesus. It says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” This is more true before we became born again and gave our lives to Jesus. When we gave our lives to Him then the Holy Spirit took residence with us and began to purify our hearts. We need the Lord to purify our hearts but that is a life-long process and the words we speak are the proof of it. They too often expose the negatives that have not been purged that still embarrassingly remain in our hearts.

Did you know that most of the negative words in various forms we speak come from dissatisfied hearts produced by selfish desire? Its selfish desire, ambition, and jealousy over what others have coupled with fear or resentment of not being able to obtain what we want in life. Next time you fight or are mad at someone, just check and see if this isn’t true. James 3:13-16 helps us to understand the source of wrong motivation that leads to wrong thinking, sinful speaking, and evil behavior saying, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find strife in your relationships along with confusion and every imaginable evil that Satan can stir up through the open door of your wrong attitude and actions.”

Look at a teen that is trying to break out into his or her own selfish life. They often let themselves be influenced by people that don’t know God’s ways. They want to figure things out for themselves. They become self-focused and begin to debate and fight for their own way. They create almost bizarre rationales to win their debates. They stop taking counsel and often begin to indulge in wrong thinking, speaking, and behavior. This is why it is important for families to be in strong churches that impart godly influence and instruction not just for teens but at every age level.

Adults do that same thing. They engage in break room gossip. They are jealous of someone else’s good looks, or personal disciplines, or promotion. They become busybodies simply enjoying the gossip of others to make themselves feel better. Anyone that does not agree with them becomes their verbal target. They get in strife verbalizing most anything that bothers them. Church Bible reading, prayer, and time with God soon takes a back burner to rest, relaxation and entertainment. They are doing life their way. Parents don’t like it in their teenager but don’t see the same patterns in their own life. God’s touch, presence, and influence becomes lacking and words become unimportant, unguarded, and become a source of destruction.

Our hearts need the constant touch and presence of God in many forms. Church, Bible study, reading and meditation, prayer, and fellowship with others that love God. This gives place to the Holy Spirit continually putting our hearts, thoughts, attitudes, and our words in check. We become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s influence helping us purge wrong thoughts and attitudes, and we find greater strength to restrain the negative words we are tempted to speak. The Holy Spirit can then help us become imparters of words of grace that bring health and blessing to others instead of destruction and death.

As today’s Fresh Manna says, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” God does give us the free will to think, do, and speak as we want, but if we want God’s words producing blessing in and through our lives, then we need to fill our hearts and minds with Him and put ourselves in atmospheres where the presence of God can touch our heart. No man can tame the tongue. Only the Holy Spirit within us can! When we let Him, then Prov 17:27 will become true in our life. “A man of understanding uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.


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