Scripture: Luke 6:43-45
We have discussed quite a bit about our tongue and the speech it can utter. It is a small, but dangerous thing that can lead us closer to or further away from God. Sometimes we talk out of both sides of our mouth by praising God and sinning with the same tongue. We’ve talked about ways that we can go about the overwhelming task of taming our tongue. We can experience our emotions without letting them control us. We can be mindful of whether what we are about to say will honor God or not. Now we will address the problem of taming the tongue from one more angle.
When we set about minding our words, we often adopt a strategy of reaction. We try to catch things before we say them, after they have entered our mind. This is certainly a good starting place, but it fails to address the underlying problem. In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus tells us that we know trees by the fruit they bear (orange tree, lemon tree, and so forth). He goes on to say that a person cannot gather grapes from a bramble bush. The point being that the things we say and do come from what is in our hearts. “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
We can be proactive rather than reactive in taming the tongue by examining what we are filling our hearts with. Do we spend time meditating on bitterness and jealousy? Do we indulge and obsess over our vices? Do we adopt the attitudes and wisdom of the World? Or do we spend our time pondering the greatness and mercy of God our Father? Do we praise and pursue that which is good and noble? These questions touch on just a few of the ways in which we fill our hearts.
When we allow God to dwell in our hearts and fill them with holy things, it will affect what we say. Taming the tongue this way is less like trying to put a filter or a leash on it and more like changing the source from which it draws words. Going back to the analogy of a spring of water, it is like changing the source of the spring from salt to fresh water.
The tongue is not easily tamed and we often pay little heed to the Scripture’s urging to do so. However, we can rest assured that God will assist us, should we decide to undertake this task. As Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), He will guide and support us as we strive to draw closer to God.
Questions for Consideration:
1) Why do we typically think about dealing with sin in terms of forcing ourselves to act a certain way?
2) How does “knowing a tree by its fruits” affect how we decide what is or isn’t beneficial for us? How does it affect our assessment of our own spiritual lives?
3) How does knowing that Christ will help you to push back sin and draw closer to God make you feel? What might you do with this feeling?