Choose the Fruit
During this month of April, I hope that you have enjoyed reading some of the principles from my new book, “Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue”, as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you!
I pray that as you read this final excerpt from my book that you will examine your speech habits and decide to begin again today! Decide that you will change the words that come out of your mouth from frustrating to forgiving … from impatient to gracious … and from accusatory to encouraging!
Now listen to me … none of us is immune from mouth disease so this week’s blog is going to hold great challenge for you! But I believe in you … You can do it!
It is time for you to stick out your tongue and say, “Ahh!”
Have you done that dreaded but extremely vital self-examination lately? Now—look in the mirror as you do it.
Do you have it?
Do you have “mouth disease”? Are you infected with an “oral bacteria” of the very worst kind? Have the germs of the culture attached themselves to your vocal chords? Is your tongue rife with verbal viruses?
What is it with women and their words? What is it with anyone and their words?
We are definitely defined by the stuff that proceeds out of our voice boxes.
The organ that lies between our pearly whites has the capacity to control our very lives.
The vile eruptions that come tumbling unbridled out of that lovely orifice called the mouth are often what color our relationships and the atmosphere of our homes.
Our words have the propensity to direct us, to define us—and to drive us.
It is as if we are compelled by a force of nature to continually talk, and we often refuse to stop talking until we have the very last word in every conversation and in every argument.
The anchor verse that will change the way we talk is found in Proverbs, the book of wisdom that is changing our thought processes, giving boundaries to our emotions, and now will impact the way we speak.
Perhaps you have previously read it and wondered what application it had for your life:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
The stark reality is that, someday—in the not-too-distant future—you are going to be forced to eat the fruit of what you have chosen to say.
When dealing with the tongue, your options are twofold: you can speak life or you can speak death. There is no middle ground between those two choices.
There is no gray area when it comes to the words that you speak.
That’s it. Just life or death. Which will you choose?
When you understand that you have the power to speak life or death every moment of your existence, it will underscore the fact that controlling your own tongue will be one of the most vital endeavors of your life.
First, you must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; next, you must guard your heart faithfully; finally, you must put a bridle on your tongue.
If you don’t first think something or feel something, then, in all probability, you will never say it.
Any idea or opinion begins in the mind, travels to the heart, and finally comes out of the mouth.
Perhaps there is no other life matter that we should take more seriously than the matter of the tongue.
The ability to discipline your tongue is more important than the number on your bathroom scale, more essential than your education, and more profitable to you than climbing the corporate ladder.
Consistent discipline in the attempt to manage your mouth will create more beauty than will a home that is attractively decorated, and provide more true wealth than will a full retirement fund.
According to the always-applicable truth of the Bible, your tongue has the power to control the type of life that you will enjoy in all of your tomorrows.
Will your life be a fruitful one?
If you can maintain godly government over your tongue, your life will be one of joy and peace; you will cultivate a home atmosphere that is warm and inviting, and you will maintain friendships that flourish.
Conversely, if you refuse to regulate the discharge that comes out of the cavity that lies beneath your nose, your life will be dry and brittle. Nothing beautiful will grow in your life, and you will be known for “halitosis” of the very worst kind!
When Craig and I had our first child, Matthew, every time the pacifier came out of his mouth, we threw it away and plucked a new one out of the sterilized packaging. No dirt was going to touch the lips of our precious, darling boy!
When we had Christopher, just two years later, we could no longer afford the volume of new pacifiers that our previous behavior required, so we placed his discarded pacifiers into boiling water on the stove. Every evening, whether a pacifier had been thrown to the ground or not, it received the boiling treatment under my watchful eyes.
Then, when we had our third son, Jordan, I would merely run his dirty pacifiers under running water at the kitchen sink. I wasn’t picky about the temperature of the water; hot or cold water would do. I justified that it was clean enough after a dousing of fresh water from my kitchen spigot.
When our fourth child, Joy, would throw a beloved pacifier out of her mouth, I would simply put it in my own mouth to clean it off. Just a quick lick, and it was as good as new to go back into her little rosebud mouth.
And finally, with baby number five, Joni Rebecca, I didn’t even bother to replace, to boil, to rinse, or to lick. I would just pick the pacifier up off the ground and put it efficiently back into her mouth.
We can laugh at the way we have parented over the years and how diligently or how casually we have protected our children from germs, but the truth is that none of us would knowingly expose our children to a fatal disease.
There is not a compassionate or concerned person who would willingly bring bacteria or viruses into breathing distance of their loved ones.
Yet, if it is true that our tongues hold the capacity to pour serious and life-altering matter on those whom we love, it is vital that we examine the words that we speak and the tone of voice they are spoken in.
The Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and He is reminding you that words have power for good and power for evil.
Words can bring life, and words can destroy. Words can revive, and words can kill.
You choose... which will it be in your life?