Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which was written by James the half brother of Jesus. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through eighteen of the third chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you find it ok’ing directly on the heels of language that speaks directly to the tongue and it’s incredible presence within our bodies. When you read the third chapter of the epistle which James wrote unto those which were scattered abroad you will find him having something to say concerning the tongue, and how although it is a small member within our bodies, it boasts great things and poses a great danger and threat to us. What’s more, is that not only does the tongue pose so great a danger to us ourselves, but if it is left unchecked and unguarded, it can pose a great threat and danger to those around us. Regardless of whether or not we want to believe it, the tongue is perhaps the smallest member within our bodies, and yet even though it is such a small member, it makes a great impact within the world around us. As James wrote to those which weren’t scattered abroad he uses the examples of horses and ships, and how we can guide both in any direction we want them to go by using a small instrument to maneuver them. We put bits in horses mouth, and we have rudders to guide the ships where we want them to go, and James uses these examples to write and speak about how our tongue guides and maneuvers our entire body just as bits and rudders. Hanes wastes no time writing concerning the tongue, and presents his readers with an incredible dialogue concerning the dangers that surround the tongue—not only dangers and threats to ourselves, but also the dangers and threats they pose to those around us.
As I read the words which James wrote in the third chapter of the epistle I am completely and utterly intrigued and captivated by the words and language he uses to speak concerning the tongue and its presence within our lives. James actually declares that our tongue can be used to either show forth and proclaim praises unto the living God, and can be used to bless the Lord; or, the tongue can be used to spew forth and utter cursing in the earth. Names would go on to write how the tongue is directly connected to a reservoir which is deep within the depths of our heart. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who declared that it is from and out of the abundance of our heart the mouth speaks. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss or lose sight of the awesome and tremendous reality that when we utter words from our mouth, and when our tongue is permitted to move within our lives, it is a direct manifestation of that which is found within our hearts. I have previously written concerning diagnosing the condition of our hearts, and while I believe that God alone can search and know the heart, it is possible for us to examine and diagnose our hearts each and every day. The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things, and then asks who can know it. The interesting fact and reality is that while we cannot and may not be able to know our hearts the way only God can, we can nonetheless diagnose it to get a glimpse and idea into the condition of it. If the prophet Jeremiah declared that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, and if Jeremiah essentially spoke of a sick heart, the question we must ask ourselves is how sick is our hearts. Did you know that it is possible to examine your heart and gain an understanding of just how sick your heart really is?
I fully recognize and realize that there are those among us who wouldn’t want to discuss the reality that their hearts can be sick, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t have to agree with this reality for it to be true. There is absolutely no need for us to agree with whether or not the heart is sick, for in scripture we come face to face with the tremendous reality that the heart is not only deceitful, but also desperately wicked. It was Solomon himself who instructed us to guard our hearts, for out of it flow the issues of our lives. Solomon knew and understood the true nature and condition of our hearts, and he knew and understood that it was from the heart that all the issues of life flowed. It was Jesus the Christ who emphatically and boldly declared that it was not that which entered into the mouth that defines a man, but rather that which comes out of the mouth that defines a man. More specifically, Jesus declares that what comes out of our mouth is a direct picture and manifestation of that which is found within our hearts. Did you know that each and every time you speak it is a direct manifestation of that which is found within your heart? Notice in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew our Lord Jesus declares and proclaimed that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list, or one that is entirely conclusive of everything that can flow forth from the heart of a man. Scripture places a great deal of emphasis on the condition of the heart—particularly and especially as it pertains to the heart and its connection to the words which proceed forth from our mouth. The disciples were misguided in thinking that what entered into their mouths was actually what defiled them, but our. Lord emphatically declares and proclaims unto them that it is not what enters into their mouth that defiles them, for once something has entered into our mouth and consumed, it is then digested, and passed from the body. Jesus knew and understood that it is not what enters into our mouth—as it pertains to food and drink—that defiles us before the living God, but rather, that which leaves and proceeds forth from our mouth. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand this incredibly important reality, for to fail to do so would be to sorely miss the point the Lord was seeking to make. Far too often we get caught up in that which enters the body as that which has the ability to defile it, and yet our Lord declares that it is that which proceeds forth from our mouths which truly and actually defiles us. Regardless of how many times we seek to deny or disprove this reality, it is absolutely impossible to do so.
DOES YOUR HEART NEED A MAKEOVER? DO YOUR WORDS NEED A MAKEOVER? There used to be a show on television called Extreme Makeover, and there was a secondary show which bore the title Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The entire premise of both shows is to take something that was falling apart, or something that wasn’t conducive as living conditions for a specific member of a family, tearing it down, and rebuilding something entirely different in its place. The show Extreme Makeover is a show that was centered upon taking someone—perhaps and more frequently someone who we would perceive as being ordinary and normal—and completely transforming them. I can’t help but be reminded of all the popular talk shows when I was going through high school, and the various episodes contained therein which were centered upon the reality of makeovers—centered upon the reality of taking someone who others perceived as needing a makeover, and giving them a complete overhaul. These shows not only touched physical appearance in terms of hair cuts and facial hair, but it also touched how the individual dressed. More often than not the makeover completely and totally transformed the individual from the top to the bottom, and the final revealing of the individual who underwent the transformation is typically received with cheers and applauds, as well as “ohhhs” and “ahhhs.” There is something about transformation and makeovers that appeal to and entice us within this generation, and we enjoy watching and witnessing stories of transformation within the lives of others. We enjoy watching others around us undergo a tremendous transformation—one that essentially turns them into a completely different person. More often than not we aren’t allowed to see the process of transformation—only the end result of the makeover and transformation. More often than not we are only able to see the finished product, and aren’t allowed behind the scenes into all the work which needs to take place in order to completely and totally transform the life of the one who was to experience it. Sure we are able to see the final and finished product, but we aren’t allowed to go behind the scenes to see all the work that goes in to completely overhauling and making over that particular individual. This is actually quite interesting, for although we would like to see the process of transformation that is found within our own lives—more often than not we are only able to see the finished product. Oh, there are glimpses of the finished product within and through our lives, but the Father never tips His hand in the wonderful work and process of transformation.
I asked the question whether or not your heart needed a makeover, and I would present that question unto you who are reading these words once more. If you are honest with yourself, and if you are honest with the living God, is your heart in need of a makeover? Is your heart in need of renovation? Is your heart in need of a complete overhaul and transformation? You might be sitting here reading these words and wondering how you could know if you heart would in fact need a makeover and transformation, and there might be some who would even dare think that their hearts have no need of a makeover and transformation. Would it surprise you to hear [or in this case to read] that I can tell simply by communicating with you whether or not your heart needs a makeover? Would it surprise you to learn and discover that I could determine if your heart needs a makeover—simply by speaking and talking with you? Would it alarm you if I told you I needed only spend time with you in your natural environment and in your regular atmosphere, and I can tell you with absolutely certainty whether or not your heart is in need of a makeover? I know that as it pertains to myself, I can tell whether or not my heart is in desperate need of a makeover, and whether or not my heart is in desperate need of transformation. If I want to truly understand the nature and the condition of my heart, I need only listen to and hear the words which proceed forth from my lips, and I will be able to understand—and understand rather quickly—the true nature and condition of my heart. Do you want to know when I see the true nature and condition of my heart? I see the true nature and condition of my heart when I am driving in my car and someone cuts me off, or someone drives slower than the prescribed speed limit, or when someone fails to use their turn signal, or any of the other numerous things that could take place on the road. I can see the true nature and condition of my heart when I feel I am being backed into a corner, and when I feel someone is coming in hot toward me. I can see and I can tell the true nature and condition of my heart when interruptions occur within my day—interruptions that directly influence and impact the natural and regular flow of any given day. I can see the true nature and condition of my heart by how I respond to various circumstances which take place all around me on a daily and consistent basis. With that being said, we would be incredibly naïve to think and believe for one moment that such a reality would not and could not occur within the house of the Lord. We would be incredibly naïve to think that just because we are in the house of the Lord such occurrences could and would not take place? In fact, I am convinced that such events and such occurrences could take place in the house of the Lord just as much, and perhaps even more so than in the world.
I keep coming back to this concept of our hearts needing a makeover, and the basis and foundation for this concept is that which proceeds forth from our lips. If you want to truly understand and recognize whether or not your heart needs a makeover, you n Ed only listen to the words which proceed forth from you lips. What’s more, is that you need only listen to the words which proceed forth from your lips in various circumstances—circumstances and events which are triggering points and activating events within your life. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are very specific occurrences, circumstances and situations that have historically been triggering points and activating events within my life. I know that there are certain things that are said to me, and certain responses made toward me that can and will trigger a response—not only from my heart, but also from my mouth. Would it surprise you if I said that it is your heart which is first triggered, and not your mouth, nor the words which proceed forth from it? Far too many times we think and believe that it is our mouth and the words which proceed forth from our lips that is triggered first by those things which are said and done around us, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. We are misguided and deceived into thinking and believing that our mouths, our lips and our tongue are that which is first triggered within our lives, for such thoughts are not rooted in reality. Although I have only been on the earth for three and a half decades, I have been around long enough to know and understand that our hearts—above all else, and before anything else—which is triggered by the events and situations which take place before and around us on a daily and consistent basis. Regardless of how many times I would like to deny the truth that it is not my heart that is first triggered, the truth remains that it is our heart which is first directly impacted by that which takes place before and all around us. We dare not be convinced of any other truth, for such is not rooted in reality, and is instead rooted in that which is misguided in its scope and magnitude. It would be very easy to think and believe that it is our mouth which is first triggered by that which takes place before and around us, and yet the truth of the matter is that by believing such a false reality concerning our mouth, it allows us to completely ignore the true nature and condition of our heart. Far too often, and far too many times we want to simply deal with the words which proceed from our lips, and we want to focus on our mouth and tongues without at all dealing with the true nature and condition of our hearts.
ARE YOU AFRAID TO CONFRONT YOUR HEART? ARE YOU AFRAID TO BE CONFRONTED WITH THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART? I am utterly and completely convinced that David knew and understood the desperate condition of the heart, for when he was repenting before the true and living God concerning his indiscretion and transgression with Bathsheba, he acknowledged and spoke concerning his heart. David knew and understood that not only did the words of his mouth flow forth from his heart within him, but David also knew that his actions were a direct manifestation of that which flowed forth from his lips. David recognized and understood that if he was truly going to experience genuine and authentic repentance, and if he was going to experience forgiveness before the Lord, he needed to deal with and acknowledge the true condition and nature of his heart. David knew and recognized that it was against the Lord, and against him only that he sinned, and David knew that his heart was in desperate need of transformation and renovation. Consider if you will the words which David wrote in the fifty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms—this psalm of repentance before the Lord:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judges. Behold, I was shaken in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desires truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:1-17).
I presented the question asking you whether or not you are willing to confront and deal with your heart, and I would like to present unto you the tremendous reality that in order for you to understand the nature and condition of your heart, you need first examine the words which proceed forth from you lips and from your mouth. There is perhaps no truer manifestation of the true nature and condition of your heart than that which proceeds forth from your mouths. This is particularly and especially true when you consider the fact that not only are you able to diagnose the condition of your heart, but those around you who spend enough time with you can also diagnose the condition of your heart. We tend to think that we can diagnose our heart solely by looking at that which is found within an individual, and yet I am convinced that such a concept is not at all found in reality or in the truth. The true nature and condition of our hearts is found in the words which we speak in various circumstances—particularly and especially circumstances which trigger and activate certain emotions and thoughts within our heart. I would present and submit unto you that no word ever proceeds forth from your lips and from your mouth without first being rooted and having its foundation within your heart. What’s more, is that while it is true that we are emotional beings, how much of our speech is rooted in emotion? What I mean by this is how often do we speak as a direct result of our emotions, and the thoughts which proceed from our hearts, and the very depths of our being? I continue to be convinced of the tremendous reality that what proceeds forth from our lips is merely a direct manifestation of how what has been spoken, or what has been committed around us directly impacts and influences our heart which is found within the depths of our being. If we are honest with ourselves, as well as with the Lord, we must admit that words which are spoken before and around us, as well as actions which are committed against and/or around us first pass through our heart, and touch the realm of emotions and thoughts. I can’t help but wonder how often and how many times we allow ourselves to respond solely and totally out of emotions and thoughts, and as a direct result of this, the words which we speak are rooted and grounded in emotions and thoughts rather than Scripture, and rather than truth. I am utterly and completely convinced that when we speak in various circumstances—we either speak from a place of emotion and certain thought patterns, or we respond from a place that is rooted in the word of God. How much of what you speak, and how much of what you say is rooted in the word of God versus and rather than in emotion and various thought process and thought patterns?
There is a tremendous part within me that can’t help but be directly confronted with and by the fact that I myself am an emotional being, and more often than not I speak from and respond from a place of emotion—emotions and thoughts which are triggered by activating events and activating words which are spoken before and around me. I wrote concerning our heart needing a makeover, and I can’t help but be utterly and completely convinced that when we speak of our heart desperately needing a makeover and transformation, we must also speak to and speak of the reality of our emotions and our thought processes and patterns needing a makeover. I know that I myself desperately need a complete overhaul and transformation when it comes to speaking from a place of emotion rather than a place of truth. RESPONDING FROM EMOTION RATHER THAN TRUTH! Please note that what I mean by responding from a place of emotion rather than a place of truth is that we respond from a place of emotion rather than that which is found within the word of God. There have been countless times when I have responded to activating events and triggering points out of and from a place of emotion rather than from a place that is rooted and grounded in the word of God. With that being said, I am confronted with the tremendous reality that my emotions and my thoughts are in desperate need of a complete renovation and overhaul. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a great need within my life for my emotions and my thought patterns and thought process to be utterly and completely transformed. The words which proceed forth from my lips and from my mouth not only reveal the emotions which are present within my being, but they also reveal the true nature and condition of my heart. I know that I myself have been and am still guilty of responding with and from a place of emotion rather than from a place that is found within the word of God, and as a result, I have allowed my words to cause me to sin and transgress—not only against others, but also against the living God. I can’t help but be brought face to face with the overwhelming reality that my heart is in desperate need of a makeover, and this includes my emotions and the emotional responses/outbursts that I allow myself to experience. I would be incredibly naïve to think and believe that my emotions have been completely sanctified and transformed by the word and Spirit of the living God. I would be incredibly naïve to think for one moment that my emotions are sound, and that there is absolutely no need for any type of transformation whatsoever. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke concerning the complete overhaul and transformation of the heart. Consider if you will the words which both prophets spoke—not only concerning the New Covenant, but also concerning the renovation of the heart:
“Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do that. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by” (Ezekiel 346:25-34).
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they breake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people and they shall teach no more every man his neighbours, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: For they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
If you journey back a little further into the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel you will find the prophet speaks something concerning the nature and condition of our heart, and actually provides specific instruction concerning the heart. Beginning with the thirtieth verse of the eighteenth verse of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the following words: “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so. Iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Jeremiah 18:30-32). This reality and concept of a new heart is found once more even earlier in the prophetic book of Ezekiel, and is specifically found in the eleventh chapter of the book. Beginning with the sixteenth verse of the eleventh chapter we find the following words which were spoken by the prophet Ezekiel according to the word of the Lord:
“Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statures, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 11:16-21).
Three times within the prophetic book of Ezekiel the prophet speaks of obtaining a new heart—of the Lord taking and removing the old, stony heart, and replacing it with a new heart of flesh. I can’t help but be incredibly gripped and captivated by what we find in these passages, for when we seek to understand the words which come out of our mouth, and when we seek to understand the completely renovation of those words, we must understand the reality and concept of the transformation of our heart. We dare not be too quick to dismiss the reality and concept that we might very well need a complete and utter transformation of our heart in order for our words to be directly impacted and affected. Far too often we treat the symptoms while completely neglecting, rejecting and ignoring the true root of the issue—namely, the condition of our heart. I am firmly convinced that one of the greatest ways to truly understand the condition of your heart is to stop and listen to the words which you allow to proceed forth from your lips. They say the eyes are the window to and mirror of the soul, and if that is true, I would dare say that the mouth is the window to the heart. I would state that our tongue and the words which proceed forth from our lips is the mirror of our heart, and that which paints the truest picture of what our heart is actually like. The question is whether or not we are willing to admit that not only do our words need a makeover and transformation, but so also do our hearts. The question is whether or not we are wiling to stop and listen to how we speak and what we say in order for us to truly understand the condition and nature of our hearts. I would be completely and utterly remiss if I didn’t stop and listen to the words which proceed from my lips on a regular basis. As I am sitting here right now I can’t help but wonder what would happen and how we would respond if we had to keep a journal of every word which proceeded forth from our mouths on a daily basis. What if each and every word you spoke on a daily basis were recorded and then presented unto you at the end of each of day? What if at the end of each day you had to sit and listen to each and every one of your conversations? What if at the end of each and every day you had to sit and listen to your responses to the various circumstances and events which occurred within and throughout the course of the day? How would you respond if such a practice was manifested within your life on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis?
THE LOG OF WORDS! LOGGING YOUR WORDS! THE JOURNAL OF WORDS! I must admit that I personally have never kept an active and running log of the words which have proceeded forth from my lips, but I would be lying if I said that such a thought was not compelling and captivating. What would happen if within and throughout each day I had to keep a detailed log of each and every one of my words? What would happen if within and throughout each day I had to a running ledger of the words which I spoke unto others? I can’t help but be reminded of the words which our Lord spoke—words which are recorded for us in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew. Consider if you will the words which are recorded in this chapter beginning with the thirty-first verse of the chapter: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good thigns: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:310-37). Please don’t miss the tremendous importance and significance of what is found in this passage of Scripture, for not only did Jesus emphatically declare that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, but Jesus also describes two different types of people—those who from the good treasure that is found within their heart bring forth good things, and those who from the evil treasure of their heart bring forth evil things. Jesus would also go on to emphatically and boldly declare that we can and shall give an account of every idle word which proceeds forth from our lips, for it is by our words we shall either be justified, or condemned. Oh, let us not forget or lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture, for to do so would be to completely and utterly miss the point of that which is being spoken. James writes and speaks concerning our tongue, and how it is set on fire but hell itself, but I would present unto you the idea of a heart that is set on fire—not only by heaven itself, but a heart that is set on fire by the very Spirit and word of God. If we want to see a transformation of our words and a transformation of that which proceeds forth from our lips and mouth, it must first need be that we experience a transformation of our heart. There is a great need for our emotions to be completely and utterly transformed, and that we would not respond out of emotions, but would instead respond out of a place of truth—truth that is found within the divine word of God.