This past Sunday Pastor Brandon spoke on James 3, and I have to say it was my favorite message in this series so far. Speaking life is something that I have really been dwelling on recently. When I look back at me as a young kid I can’t help but laugh. I was not a big kid by any means, and so my main weapon, in the battle that was school yard conflicts, was my words. I would list myself somewhere between witty and convincing. That isn’t to make myself seem vastly intelligent, because if you watched me attempt to write this blog you would see the humility that comes from me attempting to spell words. It’s just to say that I could generally respond to insults quickly or convince a child of larger stature to respond for me. I was always a person that found it amusing to get the arguer to eventually be arguing for my side, and then I would say “you are right”.
While getting my Philosophy degree these traits served me well. A philosophy teacher facilitates the use of logical debate techniques and encourages their use. But I had to ask myself what message these actions gave off? I knew of course that most of my debating with people and my witty responses were simply for some odd sense of personal amusement. I wasn’t aiming to frustrate anyone or confuse then, in fact most of it was done laughing amongst friends, but in the end of the day I really had to contemplate what this attitude was saying about my heart. What did this way of thinking say about my heart for people? I realized that I needed to people to feel like I loved them and had their back more than I needed them to feel like I was witty or sharp. I didn’t act the way I acted with the conscious attitude of appearing a certain way, but I had to personally analyze my actions and now make a conscious effort to change the way I treated people. The truth was that I really loved people, but after years of honing my craft it was just second nature. It was about this time that I was reading Luke 6:45 where Jesus says:
“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 the heart the mouth speaks.”
That really hit me personally. “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” What a powerful statement. The things I say and the way I speak to people is a reflection of my heart. That means if I want to change my attitude to an attitude of speaking life then I need to be filling my heart with things that speak life. For me, I need to avoid hearing songs or movies with excessive swearing. If you don’t think that those things affect your heart and the way you talk then you need to get some friends who will be honest with you and inform you, like my wife did, that your perception of how you talk is different from reality. In James 3 he says that your tongue is more difficult to train than a wild animal. The way we can even hope to silence our tongue is to submit our hearts to God. In order to submit our hearts to God we need to stop filling them with filth and stupid things. There is a line of reason there. If I want to speak life then my only hope is to start at my heart because that is where my words come from. If I ever hope to have my heart be filled with life then I need to give it fully to God.
I have to come to the conclusion and realization that my tongue is like a wild animal. People might be amused by it for a while, but in the end that isn’t what they need to be around. Everyday my friends and my family face situations that tear at their heart, and the last thing they need is a wild animal tearing at them when they should be loved on. I am not saying don’t be smart and don’t debate. I am saying debate and be wise for our Lord Jesus Christ and love those that He has first loved.