Michael Beck

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)

We can be stunned by what comes out of another’s mouth. “Wow,” we say, “Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?” There are times though when we’re equally surprised by what comes out of our own mouth, and ask ourselves: “Where is that coming from?”

The heart is a storehouse of either good or bad things. “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.” (Matt. 12:35) Jesus was not surprised at what was coming out of the mouths of the Pharisees. “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34) While they thought that what they put in their mouths could defile them, He told them that it was the very opposite: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)

Defilement indicates an entrance into the unclean, the demonic. We are to give no place to the devil. Bitterness defiles as surely as pornography. When anger, bitterness, and hatred is not put away, a breach in our spirit is created through which devils gain a foothold over our thoughts and emotions. When envy, resentment, and strife are allowed in and fester they eventually find an outlet. Joseph found out where he stood with his brothers by the way they spoke to him: “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:4)

Solomon understood a breach in the spirit was underlying an unwholesome tongue. Do we realize the same? If we can’t speak peaceably with another are we willing for our heart to be examined? Will we let our heart be cleansed and the breach be closed through repentance? Or will the wicked one continue to use our mouth as a defiling sword? “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” (Prov. 12:18)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, but the tongue is tied to the heart. Your tongue cannot escape your heart, any more than an apple tree can escape making apples. We wouldn’t have to watch our words so much if we would tend better to our heart. Make the fountain sweet and what comes out of it will surely be sweet. Make the tree good and the fruit will surely be good. “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.” (Matt. 12:33)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.