Read: Matthew 12
“How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 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. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (Matthew 12:34 & 36)
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 you speak, it’s 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. It is your heart that needs to be transformed. 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 from 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, former Chaplain of the United States Senate 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 disciplined thinking. James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” 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 your whole life. And the best way to control your thinking is by consistently and prayerfully 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)
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce
What If God Took Over?
Memorize Psalm 141:3,
“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.”
Pray this prayer morning, noon and night for the next seven days: “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, but only things that will please you!”