language of the heart
Read Proverbs 4:23-24 and 6:12-19 to discover the close tie between our heart and our words.
How have you been surprised by the words that came out of your mouth? What do those words indicate about the condition of your heart? What should you do next?
I’m more impressed by works than by words, which I often gloss over as nothing more than hot air. I’ve said, “Talk is cheap!” and “Don’t talk the talk if you won’t walk the walk.” According to the apostle James we’re right to value works over mere words. He reminds us that it does no good to tell a poor brother, “Stay warm and eat well” if we “don’t give that person any food or clothing” (James 2:16).
But my prejudice against words left me unprepared for the words of Jesus. He told His disciples that you can tell a tree by its fruit, for just as fig trees grow figs and grape vines sprout grapes, so “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.” I assumed Jesus was speaking about works—did my actions show that I was a good or an evil tree? But Jesus’ next sentence indicated that the fruit He had in mind was my words, for “what you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45).
Words form the bridge from our heart to our works. What we do (works) arises from what we think (words), which is prompted by who we are (heart). If you want to know what’s going on deep inside, pay attention to your words. Do your words contain a hard edge of anger or cynicism? Are they inflated with pride or deflated with pessimism? Is your style so sarcastic that even friends can’t tell whether you’re joking or not? Do you delight in dirty words, the hushed tones of gossip or the shady words of “rumor”?
Study your words to diagnose your heart. Ask God to heal your hurts before your words—then your works will not hurt others.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 8:21-59
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