I remember multiple times when I wanted to impress someone, only to blunder horribly with something I said.
When the conversation was over, I smacked my forehead and said, “I can’t believe I said that!”
Jesus graphically illustrated the source of my problem with these words.
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
“The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks” (Luke 6.41-45).
More Work To Be Done
Bad words can be critical, judgmental, nagging, complaining, gossiping, boasting, comparing, and more. They don’t just “slip out,” but are a reflection of the state of our inside condition.
One of my friends uses the F-word in nearly every sentence. He said to me that a counselor told him that the F-word reflects aggression.
I thought to myself that the counselor was absolutely correct. This man is one of the most aggressive of all of my friends.
Some people can only talk about themselves. Others can’t converse with others without complaining and offering criticism on a seemingly endless array of topics.
Some can’t avoid gossip, even when it is phrased as a prayer request.
If our personal stories aren’t bad enough, the state of public discourse has reached lows that I never thought I would see.
Consider applying Jesus’ words to a nation. Our national speech reflects the evil that resides at the core of our country.
According to Jesus, we can’t excuse negative public speech as “only words.” Our words reveal the nature of our inside condition.
How Can I Change
I have been ashamed of my words on many occasions. I’d like to be able to say, “I’m better than that,” but the truth is I am not.
My words – our words – reveal our need for the transforming power that Jesus came to give us.
In today’s YouTube video Rudy Ross talked about four elements that were in the Temple. They present an image of gifts from God to transform our lives.
— The Sacrifice – No one came before the Lord without first offering a sacrifice to cleanse them from guilt.
We don’t sacrifice today, because God’s ultimate sacrifice, Jesus, was crucified for the forgiveness of sins.
John the Baptist was right when he said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1.29).
— The Bread of the Presence – There were 12 loaves of bread in the inner sanctuary of the Temple.
The bread of the presence pictures the personal relationship we can and should have with God.
Let’s not miss this offer from Jesus: “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14.23).
Should we not make room in our hearts for an intimate connection with the Lord? As God dwells more and more in our hearts, he will transform our lives and speech.
— The Altar of Incense – A personal relationship with God is best experienced in prayer.
In Revelation we read, “Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne” (Revelation 8.3).
The old saying is correct, “Prayer changes things. It changes the person who prays.”
The more the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, the more we will reflect the character and nature of God. Our words and behavior will change.
— The Menorah – Menorah is Hebrew for “lamp,” and it illuminates the area where the priests met with God.
Once we have entered into a personal relationship with the Lord through his sacrifice and prayer, the door is open for his guidance.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8.12).
As we walk in Jesus’ light, he will remove the darkness from our inner self. This is a process that requires daily conversation with the Lord.
Rudy Ross made the connection between these three items in the Temple while in prayer one day. I have learned from Rudy and you can too. Please take time to listen to our video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.