Message Recap – 3/11/11 – Tongue Tied: How Your Life is Linked to Your Words: Part 2

Friday, March 18, 2011

If you missed part one, be sure to check out the recap here: Part 1

The theme verse for this series is found in 1 Timothy 6:11-12:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Being a Christian is a battle. Being someone who lives a moral life, a life for Jesus Christ, is hard. Society doesn't help... in fact, they push against you all the time. And this isn't something new. It's been that way since the beginning of Christianity. Faith is a fight. Our faith needs constant attention and constant stoking, just like a fire does. Those of you who have a woodstove in your house or have ever started a campfire know that if you don't tend the fire, it goes out. The same is true of faith.

If you try to just slide by without doing anything, you will find that your faith has died because you have not fanned it into flame.

Some battles in this fight of faith are harder than others. Many great people have had their lives limited due to an inability to fight certain battles (which we are covering over the next three series). One critical battle is the battle over what you say.

This is a battle that you never grow out of. It's not like learning to share your Barbies or learning how to use a fork - something that you don't have to worry about past age 5. No, it's always a battle. It's always something you have to be careful about.

You have to fight this battle strategically and win it repeatedly.

James 3:2-6 says:

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

Also check out Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

So, is the tongue itself the real problem? You know the verse where Jesus says, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off."? He didn't mean that you literally have to go through life limbless and tongueless. The core problem would still be there, and we'd have a hard time eating, talking, walking, etc. Jesus was saying that you need to take sin seriously. Our tongue is not the root cause of the problem, just spouting off on its own without our control.

Take a look at Luke 6:43-45: A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Sin is a heart issue; what you say comes from your heart. Your heart is overflowing, and the overflow comes out your mouth. Those words that slip out when you're angry are coming from your heart. If anger is coming out of your mouth, guess what your heart is full of? You can't hide what's in your heart for very long, because eventually it comes out your mouth in the form of words.

To fix the problem of your tongue and your words you can't just cut out your tongue. To solve the problem you have to go to the source – your heart.

What is coming out of you? Negativity, anger, curses, insults? That's what is in your heart.

Sometimes, like a backed up septic tank, you have to empty your heart out in order to figure out what is causing the problem. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone. The reason Jesus came and died for you was to empty all that junk out of your heart for you. We need forgiveness! We need the cleansing power of the Cross, of Jesus! You have to clean out the junk and refill your heart with something better.

What's in your heart often didn't come from you but from someone or something else. This is why we need to be careful what is going into us, about what we listen to, what we watch, what we read, and who we hang out with. All of those things are contributing to the content of your heart. Your heart is filled with what is put into you. You may need to change what you are putting into you in order to change what is coming out of you.

Keep the garbage out (some garbage is unavoidable, but do your best to keep as much out as you can). Put the Word of God in – read the Bible, listen to it on CD or podcast and spend time in prayer and worship.

When you are filled with the Word of God, what comes out of you is wisdom, peace, grace, joy, forgiveness. When you are putting good things in, good things come out.

What's coming out of you is what's in you! If you're fighting the battle of your tongue, be careful about what is going into you and make an effort to put less garbage and more of God in every day.

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