They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’d never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began
Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out
Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
These lyrics from the song “Words” by Hawk Nelson express perfectly the message on my heart today. I’m doing an online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries, using the book Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. What a needed message for today! Whether we are speaking aloud or using social media, our words are powerful. They can change lives, for better or for worse. If our words have this much power, we need to be careful before we speak. We need to bring our words under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:34b-37 speaks of the heart being the source of our words. “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (NIV). So one major key to bringing our words under God’s control is making sure that our hearts are pure. But just how do we do that? A good place to start is with prayer, asking God to give us a pure heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV).
A second key to having a pure heart is to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. That starts with making a daily time of Bible reading a habit, so that our minds and hearts are continually exposed to the truth. God’s Word purifies our hearts as we combine it with faith. Hebrews 4:2 speaks of some who had the good news proclaimed to them, but the message they heard was of no value to them. Why? Because they did not receive it in faith. So read and study the Word, unite it with faith, and then one more thing is needed. We must become doers of the Word. James 1:21-25 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (NIV)
And third, we must guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV). Think of your heart as a gated city, and of your eyes and ears as the gates. What we allow in through the eye-gate and the ear-gate is extremely important in bringing our minds, hearts, and words under God’s control. Are you watching movies or television shows that do not honor God? Are you reading books that don’t line up with the precepts of God’s Word? Are you listening to gossip? All of these will corrupt your heart. Choose carefully what you allow through the eye-gate and ear-gate. Eventually, what you allow into your heart will come out through your words.
Lord, my desire is that my words be filled with life and truth, that they point those who are listening to You. Create in me a pure heart, Lord. Help me to immerse my mind and heart in Your Word daily, to receive it in faith, and to be a doer of Your Word. And help me to guard my heart by choosing carefully what I allow in the eye-gate and ear-gate. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.