Today’s reading is from Rev. Stephen Whyte, a pastor for many years in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. This devotion appeared in a church newsletter in August, 1980. Stephen is the son of the late H. A. Maxwell Whyte, regarded in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles as a pioneer in deliverance ministry. Stephen took over his father’s church, then known as the United Apostolic Faith Church (later as Dayspring Christian Fellowship) but later moved to the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination. I had the privilege of attending UAFC for two years, and in copying this out, I was reminded of the very, very high place of scripture in Stephen’s teachings.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45 (NASB)
Our tongues will, sooner or later, reveal what is really in our hearts. And without Jesus, our hearts are “desperately wicked and deceitful above all else.” But even with Jesus in our lives, our tongues reveal that there is yet transformation needed in our beings. We should be challenged by the Lord who looks on the heart, and who cannot be hoodwinked, to get our lives in order that we might be truly conformed to the image of His Son.
Jesus never spoke an idle word; yet the Bible declares that we shall give account for such words we utter. The word idle means “unprofitable, hollow, useless,” or by implication, “injurious.” Succinctly, an idle word is a careless word, which because of its worthlessness, had better been left unspoken.
How many of us have not been deeply hurt, and except for the restoration power of Jesus, permanently scarred by such “idle words!” But worse than that, we too often have been the instrument by which such verbal injury has been inflicted. James declared that “the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity.” (James 3:2-12) As we utter such unprofitable words, we are revealing what is really in the depths of our soul. It often requires pressure and anger for these words to be expressed, but they have been hidden in our hearts all the while.
As a people who are being shaped by a loving Father, we must, under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, take action to purify our hearts in order that our tongues will be pure. Such action requires a setting of the will (a conscious decision), the possible need to seek prayer for release from Satanic bondage, and the disciplining of the mind under the anointing of the Spirit, in order that we lay aside the deeds of the flesh. (Eph 4:31; 1 Pet. 2:1; 3:10; Psa. 34:13)
All of us must continually come before the Lord and cleanse our hearts and minds in order that we “speak not evil of one another.” (James 4:11) As we do so, the rewards of such discipline will be great. Solomon declared that, “whoever keeps his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles. (Prov 21:23)
It is God’s desire that our tongues be a “fountain of life” (Prov 10:11) and that our speech be “seasoned with grace” (Col. 4:6) in order that we might “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. (Isa. 50:4) We probably cannot fully appreciate the positive effects which words of praise, encouragement, appreciation, comfort and compassion have on a person. But God is exhorting us to see that our very words can bring restoration and life into a situation where death is reigning. (Prov 16:24; 25:11; Eccl. 10:12)
Truly, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21) Let us be sure that with our mouths we are bearers of life and not death. (Col. 3:21 AMP) May our cry, with David be,
“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in the sight, O Lord.” (Psa. 19:14)
~Rev. Stephen Whyte