Set a Guard Over My Mouth"Open the door of your heart to Jesus so you can speak blessing from within."
“Go, you idiot!”
Thirty years ago, when these words had come from my own mouth, to be honest, I felt a surge of perverse gratification. But this time they came from behind me, from the tiny voice buckled in her car seat.
I remember that horrifying shock of realizing that my toddler was repeating what she’d heard me say. It continues to hit me each time I read Jesus’ teaching about what He expects from His followers regarding our speech. He says we won’t even enter the Kingdom of God if we call someone an idiot or a term of contempt (Matthew 5:17–22)!
The words that come forth from our mouths reveal our hearts. Our speech can be the primary evidence of holiness of heart.
Jesus explained, “It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart … It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come:
All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you” (Mark 7:15–23).
We must ask ourselves:
- How did they get in there?
- How can we become clean of them?
The truth is, to fill our beings with “god-less” material is to leave our lives empty of God. Streaming services and the Internet are not the best “food.” What’s entering our hearts when these are our primary diet?
“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (Proverbs 15:14). The life of God Himself is available to us through His Word, the bread of life. But we’re loathe to discipline our lives toward true food. We’re rather lazy, addicted, empty fools. This is manifested in our speech.
We crave in-formation. We avoid Christ-formation. We’re addicted to vapor, to decay, to hate, violent speech, banal entertainment, to emptiness.
Speaking viciously is perversely self-gratifying. It’s like a spiritual eating disorder — “a false full.”
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 NIV). I memorized this, begging God to “fix” my speech. But recently I realized the key to speech repair is the next two verses! I need to guard what goes into me — what I “feed on.” That is what will change my speech. “Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies” (Psalm 141:4 NIV).
“I will set no vile thing before my eyes.”Psalm 101:3 LSB
What comes out of our mouths is formed by what we allow to enter us. Will it be evil delicacies such as self-righteousness, self-promotion, self-pity and arrogance? Or, will we feed upon the voice of God? Paul tells us that God’s truth gives the Spirit access to our corrupted hearts and minds, renewing us with His nature! The result in our speech is that we won’t lie or slander, or let anger control us, or use foul, abusive or harsh language. Everything we say will be good and helpful and encouraging (Ephesians 4:20–32).
“My soul thirsts for you, my whole body longs for you … You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy” (Psalm 63:1, 5). Jesus can satisfy your emptiness by putting His life within you. His presence will cleanse your heart and fill you with His love, transforming what you say.
Open the door of your heart to Jesus so you can speak blessing from within.