“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks …
I say to you that for every idle word men may speak,
they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
(Matthew 12:34 & 36)
Thoughts… Just think of your heart as the reservoir and your tongue as the dipstick. If you want to figure out what is in the tank, or how much is there, just listen to what you say and you’ll get a pretty accurate picture of the true you.
The Bible uses the term “heart” to describe the inner person. The word “mind” could easily be substituted for “heart”, but it is more than that. The heart is not only your thinking part, it is your attitudes, desires, dreams, ambitions, personality—the invisible stuff that gives life to your skin and bones and makes you uniquely you. The heart is the inner capacity to know, love and respond to God.
The tongue, or what you say, simply reveals what already exists in your heart. Your words are critically important, and as Jesus said, you will be held to account for them, even the off-the-cuff ones, yet it is not so much the words, but what is what is behind them that is truly important.
That is why you can’t simply discipline your tongue—though that is not a bad idea. You have got to transform your heart. If you don’t, your speech will ultimately betray what is on the inside.
A person with a harsh tongue has an angry heart; a negative tongue comes from a fearful heart; an overactive tongue springs from an insecure heart; a boasting tongue is from a prideful heart; a filthy tongue comes an impure heart; a person who is critical all the time has a bitter heart. On the other hand, a person who is always encouraging has a joyful heart. One who speaks gently has a loving heart. Someone who speaks truthfully has an honest heart.
So what’s the solution to managing your mouth? I like what Lloyd Ogilvie says, “you’ve got to heart your tongue.”
That means, to begin with, you’ve got to get a new heart. Mouth control begins with a heart transplant. Ezekiel 18:31 says, “Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit!”
Painting the outside of the pump doesn’t make any difference if there is poison in the well. I can change the outside, turn over a new leaf, but what I really need is a new life or a fresh start. I need supernatural surgery from the Great Physician
How do I get one? David prayed in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Maybe you ought to pray that prayer right now, because God is in the heart transplant business. Ezekiel 36:26 says of God, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Then once God gives you a new heart, ask him for help every day. You need supernatural power to control your tongue. You can’t do it alone. Your life is a living proof of that. That’s why we’ve got to daily ask God to help us. In Psalm 141:3, the psalmist prays, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
That’s a great verse to memorize and pray every morning: “God, muzzle my mouth. Don’t let me be critical or judgmental or harsh today. Don’t let me say things that I’ll regret.” If you ask God for help, he will.
Finally, master your mouth by disciplining of thinking. James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” One quick and two slows. In other words, engage your mind before you put your mouth in gear.
Control your thinking and you’ll control your speaking. Control your speaking and you’ll control you whole life. And the best way to control your thinking is by filling your mind with the Word of God.
What goes into your mind, gets into your heart, and what gets into your heart, comes out of your mouth. So don’t just watch your mouth—for sure, do that—but “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Prayer… Father, as the psalmist prayed, so I ask of you, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me. May the reservoir of my life be pure and the words of my mouth reveal only the Spirit of God who fills my heart.