Words Matter

April 29, 2021

By Erin Bird

We’ve been in a series entitled From the Heart, looking at how the Scriptures view the “heart” of mankind. The past three weeks have covered the idea that your “heart” is the seat of your emotion, your thoughts, and your will.

Today, I want to make a slight shift. Over the next two weeks, I want to look at how your “heart” (emotions, mind, and will) affect your words and actions. Colossians 3:17 reminds us to do everything, whether “in word or deed,” for the glory of God. So let’s use this week to briefly consider how our words come from our heart and can be part of our worship of God. (We’ll tackle “actions” next week.)

Words Tied to Heart

In Romans 10:8-10, the Apostle Paul helps us see that the mouth and the heart are intricately connected.

"But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (Romans 10:8-10 ESV)

Remember, as you see Paul use the word “heart” here, he is talking about a person’s emotions, thoughts, and intentions. And he is saying it is with that “heart” a person places their faith in Christ. Think about it: The moment of salvation…

  •     isn’t just an intellectual understanding,
  •     nor is it only a fleeting emotional high,
  •     nor is just a “good idea” made in the spur of the moment.

It is all of that mixed together. The Holy Spirit convicts a person of their sin (John 16:7-8), helps them understand the Gospel (Titus 3:4-5) which leads to an emotional, thoughtful, intentional response.

Because the “heart” is so moved by the Spirit in that moment of salvation, a person can’t help but utter it with their mouth. Saying the words “I believe” doesn’t “save” a person from their sins - only Jesus can do that. But when the realization that Jesus has removed our sin through the cross, we can’t help but declare the truth (i.e. “confess with your mouth”) that Jesus is Lord.

Which means, the words that come from your mouth are actually coming from your heart. But let me ask you: what words are escaping your lips?

Word Well

I have known some people who have struggled with their “words.” They try to clean up their language, or not tell off-color jokes, or lighten up their insults, but they easily slip back into their verbal ruts. Yet James, the brother of Jesus, tells us, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

So if your words aren’t honoring to Christ, what do you do? I would suggest rather than try to simply change what you say, check your heart.

  • Are you struggling emotionally?
  • Have you been intentionally sinning?
  • Have you been lazy with your thoughts?

When your heart (emotions, mind, and will) is delighting in God through the Gospel, it’s easier to have words bubble up that encourage others and glorify God. And you'll find the course joking, salty language, and rude words become less and less. (Ephesians 5:4)

So when you find your words not building others up or glorifying God, ask Him to change your heart, knowing that as your heart changes, your words will follow.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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