CORAL GABLES, Fla., April 28, 2013 — My dog Mater loves to eat. The problem, however, is that he is not a respecter of foods. If it can be ingested (notice I didn’t say digested), he eats it. He loves table scraps, dog food of any brand, oranges off our ground, trash from our trashcan, and of course, poop from any species.
Mater ate so much goose poop last summer at the lake that his tongue was green. It got so bad that my husband, Tim, made up a song to the tune of “Boot Scootin Boogie.” It was called, “Goose poop eatin’ puppy.”
And to think — with that same tongue, Mater lavishes love on his master. Yuck! Oh, it should not be so!
This morning during our walk, Mater stopped in the middle of the road and began to choke. It was obvious he had bit off more than he could chew. In the darkness of the early morning, I watched as Mater struggled to regurgitate what he had ingested — a bag.
With big brown eyes Mater looked up at me as I spoke these words of truth to him in love. “Mater! Your mouth is going to get you in trouble!” I had already during the past week pulled butter wrappers from his throat. And on more than one occasion, I had smelled the evidence of his mouth’s adventures, if you know what I mean.
For years Mater has had digestive problems. In fact, he almost died last year because of a twisted colon. With a diet like his, it’s no wonder.
As I spoke those words I couldn’t help but think of the truth behind this statement, not just for dogs, but for people: How many times in our life has our mouth gotten us in trouble? Or should I ask how many times during a single day does our mouth spew out dead, stinky, rotten words that cause us to choke and in the end leave a stench for all to smell?
From the beginning of time, the mouth has been a source of evil causing people to stumble in their daily walk with God. In the Garden of Eden, the Serpent used words to twist God’s truth and tempt Adam and Eve to sin. Adam and Eve used their mouth to cast blame on one another, Satan, and God. Words evolved into lies, gossip, slander, criticism, and even murder.
James 3:7-10 (NLT) says, “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no on can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
As I looked at Mater and thought of all the times he had kissed me with that dirty, nasty, poop covered and trash laden tongue, I couldn’t help but think of the many times I’ve kissed my Master, God, lavishing Him with praise and love, with my own polluted mouth. How repulsed He must be. It shames me to even think about it.
James points out the problem. As Christians, we proclaim to know Christ. We rise up in church and sing songs of praise to Him. We pray and shout “Amen” and “Praise the Lord!” Yet, the moment we step away from the church building, we curse those made in the very image of God. Who is James referring to? People, God’s precious creation and the object of His love.
How disgusting it must be to God when believers march out of the church building with smiles on their faces and Bibles pressed against their chest, only to climb in their car and spew out judgment and criticism over the lives of their brothers and sisters in Christ: their pastors, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, and those they share a pew with on a weekly basis. The stench continues as Christians go home and curse their family and friends both publicly on social media and privately behind closed doors. Christians then go to work and gossip about co-workers, judging their work, beliefs, marriages, finances, and their decisions. As James says, “Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
How does this happen? Simply put, a polluted mouth is the result of a polluted heart; for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). If a believer’s words are filled with gossip, judgment, slander, and other destructive words, it is a result of a heart filled with envy, bitterness, and hate.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad” (Matthew 12:33 NLT). Words are the fruit that identifies the condition of a person’s heart.
Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You brood of snakes! 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 evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:33-35).
From this verse we see that the treasury of the heart determines the fruit of a believer’s life. If we fill our hearts and minds with the Word of God, meditate on its truth, and put into practice what it says, then good things will come forth. To the contrary, if we fill the treasury of our heart with bitterness, envy, hurt, un-forgiveness, judgment, and criticism, then bad fruit will fall from the trees of our lives, fruit the world will see, taste, and smell.
In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 7:16 that we will be able to identify true followers of Christ by their fruit. Our spiritual condition is revealed to the world by our actions and our words.
If you’ve never done it before, I encourage you to search God’s Word on the topic of the mouth and words. It’s as simple as web-searching this phrase, “verses on the mouth and words.” You will be amazed what you find.
Our words determine the course of our life. They justify or condemn us. They open up the floodgates of God’s blessings and promises in our lives, or, they build walls of division and bring death. Our words bring joy to our Father God or break His heart. They bring wisdom and knowledge into our lives, or, they lead us down a path of foolishness and folly. They build our Christian testimony or destroy it.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT). Even Mater has seen the truth in this verse!
Will you join me in this prayer?
Dear Lord, Please put a guard over my mouth. Forgive me for the times I’ve spoken death over my brothers and sisters in Christ, my finances, my health, my ministry, my co-workers, and my family. Forgive me for the times I’ve run to you with a tongue green with envy, jealousy, bitterness, criticism, and hate. Renew my heart with your truth. Help me to line up my words with your words, my thoughts with your thoughts, and my heart with your heart.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. Search my heart and mind and show me if there is any offensive way in me so that I can walk in the way everlasting, and lead others down that same path. Amen.
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