Statements that I would toss out carelessly from my mouth, bothered him immensely.
"I'm dying for a piece of chocolate!" "We/they are so lucky!" " I swear I saw...."
He would warn me to be careful of what I say as it indicates the condition of my heart. He had shared several scriptures with me. I remember thinking, that it was just a "figure of speech" pretty harmless, right? Never mind the fact that I would say two completely different things that would "contradict" each other. Or I would say one thing, but do another that contradicted my previous statement of declaration. The conviction of the Spirit and the Word forced me to do some serious self-examination. There is one thing I understand very clearly now, the lies we tell ourselves are worse than the lies we tell each other, for there can be no edification when we purposefully blind ourselves to what truly lies in our hearts.
There can be no edification if we refuse to recognize what God considers evil. The truth is evil does not necessarily come in the form of murder, rape, lies or even homosexuality. Evil presents itself in the innocent looking package of unfaithfulness, a departure in any way shape or form from the Holy God.(Hebrews 3:12) What greater indicator of faithfulness than what comes from the heart? Listen to the teaching of our Lord. Matthew 13:30-37
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. "Principle: You can tell a tree by the fruit it produces. A healthy cherry tree, will produces healthy cherries. A ill or dying cherry tree will produce, ill or dying cherries.
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. "
Principle: The same way a good or bad tree will produce either good or bad fruit, the things we say, evil or good comes from a good or evil heart.
"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. "
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
Principle: We will give an ACCOUNT OF EVERY IDLE (useless) WORD we say.
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Principle: Either we will be condemned by what we say, or justified.
It may seem at first glance that, the judgement pronounced by our LORD is harsh indeed. How many times have we spoken frivolously? Who, then, can be justified by their own words!?!
But the teaching by our LORD IS justified AND clear in this passage. Our speech, is evidence, a true indication of where we are as Believers, confessing (genuine) or professing (ingenuity) regardless if we are honest with ourselves. The Parable of the Sower which is taught in this same chapter of Matthew 13 teaches the consistency of this principle. You can read my posts on this parable.
The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower Addendum
Let's revisit how Paul explains Faith in the 11th Chapter of Hebrews, verse 1:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
The parable of the sower teaches us that the "soil" (heart) is where faith grows (evidence). As a believer, I find myself correcting other Believers when it comes to their declarations of "luck". Such talk should have no place in one who believes in the virgin birth of Lord, His deliberate Sacrifice, that we may be reconciled unto Him, and BELIEVE the promises of His Word.
It seems as if so many of us are missing the mark when it comes to our sins. We focus so much on the physical manifestations, be it in speech or in behaviors of sin. I don't necessarily need to hear other Believer's personal confession, as some of us feel some sort of an absolution of sins in confessing to each other, but I do care for the edification of another. If we are justified by faith and have peace with God as Paul says in Romans 5:1, then we have a clear concience and clean heart before Him. If we are plagued with doubts and insecurities and are prone to denials of it, then we have every responsibility to come before Him accountable, humbly, in honest, self -examination, with the access given to us by Jesus Christ, His Son, so that we may continue to live faithfully until His return.
I certainly am not saying I'm perfect and I'm definitely prone to sinful actions, including speech, but I know the heart (pun intended) of the matter lies within it. It is the "nature of the beast". We live in a fallen society, in fallen bodies prone to sin. How can I overcome what is natural?
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? -- 1 John 5:5
Instead of focusing on what I'm doing and saying, I turn my focus to the point of origin. Where is my faith? How is my attitude? Where is my patience on Him? These questions turn usually turns out two answers ...faith or unfaithfulness. For me, to overcome any other way is a form of self-righteousness.
Maybe some of you may feel that faith alone is not enough to overcome "sins", that we need to be physically diligent in overcoming these manifestations. I say to those of you who believe this, that your faith needs to be redefined. For Faith is a part of the whole picture which is love.
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" -- 1 Corinthians 13:13
When we love someone we take great pains not to offend them. We turn cartwheels to please them. We sacrifice our time, energy and effort to show them our love for them. In the same way, our faith is a result of our love for the Father. If He commands trust and faith as primary, then all other things should be secondary.
We love Him because He first loved us. Because we love Him, we trust Him. Because we trust Him, we believe that we are justified by our faith, and not our actions. Because we are justified by our Faith, we, then, examine our hearts, by conviction of the Holy Spirit as a means for being made right. No other process we offer the Father is pleasing or acceptable than adjusting the condition of our hearts. In doing so, it changes what originates from it.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." -- Hebrews 11:6
When we focus on our hearts as opposed our behaviors/speech for righteousness before God, we instill humility before Him, allowing the Holy Spirit to work for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," -- Ephesians 5:22
May your soil be enriched with the fertilizer of the Holy Spirit. ---Amen.
Faith is not a pill that you take once, but a process, or a race. This process does not end at all during this lifetime, but the upon the return of our Lord on High, Christ Jesus. Hold fast to the profession of your faith that you may be found worthy of Him!
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" - Hebrews 10:22-24