Honestly when I began the study we’ve been discussing this week, I was seeking an answer because of words I was hearing from another. The Holy Spirit led me to this passage to give me eyes to see what the Lord sees in ME, not someone else. “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:43-45).
Yesterday we talked about looking at our own hearts in light of our words, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:45b) This verse continues the discussion about recognizing in ourselves what type of tree we are (see A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit), so we will understand what fruit we will produce (see What Fruit Do You Bear?).
The fruit of our hearts are found in our words, not our works. As I mentioned yesterday, works done with selfish intentions reveals a proud heart instead of love for our fellow man. The point of Luke 6:43-45 is not to look at the behavior and words of others, it is to rightly apply what Jesus teaches to ourselves. Jesus gives us a mirror to look at our own hearts, through our words. If what we see is our own sinful nature instead of Christ, He encourages us to take the plank out of our own eyes (Matt. 7:3-5). He has shown me a lot of things for which I need to repent, and has encouraged me to share this with you.
We are to use Scripture to look at ourselves and our situations, and to encourage others. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) While the Holy Spirit may share a Word with us to share with others, we shouldn’t use His Word to judge others. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:2) We are instead encouraged to meditate on God’s Word for our own edification (James 1:22).
Jesus already knows what’s in our hearts, but we are encouraged to see for ourselves what our words reveal about our heart’s condition. That is the essence of Luke 6:45.
- A Prideful Heart: Do we try to turn conversations back to ourselves? If someone tells a story that reminds me of a story, do I just “need” to tell my story? A person with a proud heart turns the conversation back to themselves. Do I notice myself doing this? When (not if) I do, I need to ask myself if the kingdom of God will be better served if instead I listen more attentively to another? Would the Lord give me an opportunity while showing interest and love to another to speak life to them? “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Prov. 18:13)
- A Heart Filled With Gossip or Slander: Does our conversation turn to negatively talking about other people, about rulers and those in authority? That reveals a heart filled with gossip and slander – maybe even hate. Instead of speaking ill of others, maybe that’s the time we should pray for them, to ask the Lord for His hand to be upon them, to open their hearts to His truth; and for His hand to be upon us to soften our hearts as we trust in Him and what He plans to do. And in prayer, ask Him how He wants to use us in the situation for His glory, and submit to His will. “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” (James 4:11)
- An Uncontented Heart: Do I hear myself complaining about my problems and struggles? Do I talk about how others have nicer houses, and newer cars, and brand name clothes? Such words reveal a heart that lacks contentment. When I notice this in my speech, it’s the time to thank the Lord for all that He has provided and given me stewardship over; to ask Him to convict me of what He wants me to do with all that He has freely given me. The more we thank Him, the more contented we are. After all, our Sovereign Lord–the giver of all good things–knows best what we need. True contentment isn’t something that we find in things, people or circumstances, it can only be discovered in Christ. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
- A Heart Fixed on Earthly Things: What topics of conversation do I tend to have? Do I only talk about earthly things such as jobs, recreational activities, etc. without ever turning to spiritual matters? These words reveal a heart fixed only on earthly things and on myself. In small ways we can bring up our joy in the Lord in conversation, such as “this is a beautiful day the Lord has made, and I shall rejoice and be glad in it”. We are here to glorify Him, and not ourselves. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2)
- A Heart Filled With Anger and Resentment: Is my talk seasoned with grace and encouragement or do I make biting remarks? Sometimes, this is not so much the words themselves, but the tone of those words. Belittling words reveal a heart full of anger and resentment. Truly, what right do I have to feel anger and resentment, when “my God will meet all [my] needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). When resentment creeps into my speech, I need to get down on my knees and repent of my selfishness, and thank God for all that He has done for me, a sinner!
- A Heart Filled With Greed: Do I ask what I can do for others, seek to encourage them, and give someone else a hand up? Or do I talk about things or adventures that I want to do for myself? If I am focused on me, my needs, my wants, that reveals a heart full of greed. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain [greed], but eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2).
The Lord gave us His Word so that we can know Him, seek Him, and see where we need to repent. We are to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” before we turn to our own earthly needs. And we must be careful what we put in our hearts. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) To get a glimpse of our hearts, all we need to do is to listen to our words.
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
- You Are What You Say