Yesterday we considered the fact that we are going to be judged by our decision to accept Jesus Christ or to reject him. In this sense our eternity is in our hands. This is not exactly what I had intended to write but went with the Spirit. So this morning I want to go back to my starting premise yesterday, which is that we are going to have to answer for the words we speak. It was from this thought that the Spirit took me to the all important confession of Christ; we believe in our heart and we confess with our mouths. However, it doesn't end there, because even as Christians we are going to have to give an account to Jesus for the actions or lack of actions that we take and the words that we speak.
A few days ago we considered what Jesus said about the good and bad fruit:
Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. (Matthew 12:33-35)
For me this is a very powerful teaching and a reminder that I must allow the Spirit to do his work of producing good fruit in me. That fruit is not for my benefit but will be a blessing to everyone around me. This explanation or warning from Jesus is quickly followed by this warning:
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
Did you take note of that: to give an account for every careless word? Of course this would mean every careless word that we have not attempted to repair and that we have not sought forgiveness for, but still, they should not be spoken in the first place. How are we with our tongue these days? Of course the point Jesus is making here is that good words come out of a good heart and bad words come out of a bad heart but most of us have days when the old nature seems to overpower the new birth and a cloud forms over our hearts. We speak words that hurt, usually the people we love the most. Perhaps it helps knowing that we will be held accountable for every careless word spoken.
This is more important than perhaps we may consider it to be. The Spirit is working away in us but we have to be willing participants. As things come into us that do not align with the heart of the Father we must be willing to reject it. If we allow bad moods, jealousy, pride or even hatred to occupy our thoughts then it will effect our heart and eventually pour out of our mouth. It is far better to examine those things, realize they are not part of us and reject them. I mean totally refuse them. Just say, this does not belong to me, and push it out.
We can never forget the power of our words to build up or to tear down. The Scriptures warn us:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:9-12)
It obviously is a matter of the heart. We should take this as a warning then; if we are not able to control the words that come out of our mouth, there is something wrong with our heart relationship with Jesus. It takes an effort on our part to remain submitted to Jesus, to the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Worship goes a long way in keeping Jesus over us. If we are not worshiping then it is an easy thing for our flesh to rise up. James is very blunt on the matter of the person who cannot control his tongue:
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (Matthew 12:26)
The Word even warns us not to sin in our anger. If you think you can get away with it because it is just you and your wife talking or you and your friend then understand what Jesus warned:
Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Luke 12:1-3)
The words that you speak matter because they reveal the condition of your heart. Our words are meant to bless, encourage, lift up and at times to correct, but never to curse, tear down or destroy. Remember we will have to give an account for every careless word we utter. It is better to be part of the solution in this world than part of the problem. Let us be a source of inspiration, hope, encouragement and love for a world that is wallowing in its darkness. Speak the truth into people and set the cursing aside:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)