In my last post I started looking at how the book of James dealt with the speaking of our faith. Our words and actions need to line up with what we believe. Our words make visible the faith – or doubt – that’s in our heart.
But did you know that our words also indicate our level of spiritual maturity? Too often we like to think of ourselves as being more mature than we actually are. It’s our words that truly show how far along we are.
I believe that most of us want to experience the walk of maturity and the blessings that come with it. Here’s the problem. We know what it should look like. But many are trying to do it without growing up.
We’re always on the lookout for some new teaching or “move of God” that will give us our breakthrough. We want the Six Steps to Prosperity or the Ten Confessions that bring Healing. We’re trying to get the freedom and resources of maturity while desperately hanging on to our childhood.
This is never going to happen. It’s only when we attain to the goal of spiritual adulthood that we’ll see these things accomplished in us.
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
There’s more to the mature walk than simply getting our needs met. This word perfect literally means mature and complete. When you reach this level in your Christian experience sin is the exception rather than the rule. It’s not about trying harder. It’s the Holy Spirit working in you to perfect you.
So much of our energy is spent on trying to “be good.” Many preachers are wasting their time using guilt and scare tactics to try and get their people to live a righteous life. That’s not the scriptural way to get there.
The reason James talks about this in relation to our speaking, is because this is one of the most obvious ways that we show our immaturity. You might look good on the outside, but as soon as you open your mouth, everybody knows where you’re at.
Jesus gives us the reason for this.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
The fact is that whatever is in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. It’s not something that you can control simply by deciding “not to say anything.” Most of us have found out the impossibility of sticking to that statement.
Your mouth is merely a channel from your heart to the outside world. You can try plugging it up, but eventually the pressure will build until the contents flood out. Then we wish we could take it back. We tell people that we didn’t mean it. But the fact remains that if it wasn’t already in your heart, it wouldn’t have come out of your mouth.
That’s why we can’t concentrate on simply using self-control. The answer is to have a change of heart. If I can plant God’s Word in my heart, then I know the output of my mouth will be pure.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
This includes the sinful things that come out of our mouths. If I can keep my heart pure, then my mouth will follow.
Question: How has your mouth showed the good things in your heart?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017