Words Of Wisdom.
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.” – Proverbs 15:2 NLT
Jesus once said, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person; it is not eating with unwashed hands that defiles a person” (Matthew 15:18-20 NLT). All this talk about wisdom in the book of Proverbs is really a heart issue when all is said and done. Verse 33 says, “Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom, humility precedes honor.” Fear of the Lord is a matter of the heart, not the head. It is not about just a cognitive understanding of or knowledge about God. Fear of the Lord manifests itself in a heart that is changed by what it sees, hears, and learns about God. It produces humility because the heart is shaken by the magnitude and majesty of God. Fear of the Lord produces love because the heart is amazed that this great God would stoop down to show interest in the insignificant and unrighteous. Coming to grips with the reality of God changes our heart and produces a change in our behavior and our words. In the passage above, Jesus teaches us that one of the greatest indicators of the level of our fear of the Lord and of our wisdom is what comes out of our mouth. The Proverbs spend a great deal of time dealing with the role our words play in both our relationship with God and with others. Proverbs 15 talks about a gentle answer, harsh words, gentle words, evil words, the tongue, the mouth, lips, a fitting reply, saying the right thing, pure words, good news, and thinking carefully before speaking. What comes out of the mouth is so revealing. It indicates what’s in the heart. It is a window into our soul. We can try and fake it, attempting to fool everyone into thinking we are filled with wisdom and righteousness, but unexpectedly, when the pressure is on or our guard is down, the wrong words can spew out before we can stop them. We can react in anger. We can curse unexpectedly. We can respond negatively. We can gossip, slander, shout, ridicule, and verbally respond in a variety of destructive ways. And when we do, it reveals the true condition of our hearts. It exposes that we are more foolish than we are wise.
We can try and blame our circumstances or the pressure of the moment for our words, but James makes it clear that the condition of our heart is responsible for the quality of our words. “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produces olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.” (James 3:11-12 NLT). Our words flow from an internal source. They are generated from within and they are simply a reflection of what is going on inside our heart. James goes on to say, “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good words with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13 NLT). He goes on and differentiates between godly wisdom and earthly wisdom. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18 NLT). Our words are a byproduct of our wisdom. Our wisdom is a reflection of our heart. Our heart is radically changed by a healthy fear of and humility before God. Watch what comes out of your mouth today. It will give you a good indication of just how wise you really are.
Father, I don’t put enough stock in my words. I can say things that are foolish and even harmful, then simply write it off and blame it on my circumstances. But help me to understand that my words come from inside me. They are not caused by what happens to me. Give me an ability to listen to myself today so that I might hear my words the way You hear them. Then help me fear You more. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men