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From Heart to Mouth

In my last post I talked about controlling the tongue, by putting the Word of God in our hearts. This was because it’s from the overflow of what we store in our heart that the mouth speaks. James goes on to give us more detail about this.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
James 3:3-4

It doesn’t take much to steer a horse or a ship. Bits and rudders are relatively small in comparison to the whole animal or ship. Yet, if we have control of that small piece, we can set the direction we want to go.

I’ve heard people take this verse and say that this is why we need to speak out what we want to receive from life. They say that your speaking will set the direction you’re heading. But that’s not the whole truth.

If you read the two chapters of James leading up to this, you’ll find that this is more about planting the right things in your heart. In order to be in continual control of your tongue, you need to be continually planting the right things in your heart.

The fact is that it’s possible to recite Scripture without letting it change your heart. That’s the same as only grabbing the rudder of a ship and controlling it for five minutes a day. You’ll never get to your destination like that. You must take continual control.

We need to heed the warning of Proverbs.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

This verse literally says that your heart contains the source of your life. Everything you receive comes through your heart first. It’s what you plant in your heart that eventually dictates what your life becomes.

When the Word of God flows from your heart to your mouth, your life starts heading in that direction. If not, then nothing you do can stop the natural progression that James warns us about in the next verses.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:5-8

This is the outcome of a heart without the Word being planted. Our mouth is a part of our flesh. Trying to control it for ten minutes a day is not enough. Without the constant supply of the Word to our hearts, there’s no control to where our lives are heading.

It’s clear from Scripture that the progression of a spiritual life is – Word of God, heart, mouth, and then life. If that’s not how we work it, then it’s like we’re on the ocean without holding the rudder. Take control of your life. Plant the Word of God into your heart.

Question: How have you seen the Word bring forth fruit in your Life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Mature Talk

In my last post I started looking at how the book of James dealt with the speaking of our faith. Our words and actions need to line up with what we believe. Our words make visible the faith – or doubt – that’s in our heart.

But did you know that our words also indicate our level of spiritual maturity? Too often we like to think of ourselves as being more mature than we actually are. It’s our words that truly show how far along we are.

I believe that most of us want to experience the walk of maturity and the blessings that come with it. Here’s the problem. We know what it should look like. But many are trying to do it without growing up.

We’re always on the lookout for some new teaching or “move of God” that will give us our breakthrough. We want the Six Steps to Prosperity or the Ten Confessions that bring Healing. We’re trying to get the freedom and resources of maturity while desperately hanging on to our childhood.

This is never going to happen. It’s only when we attain to the goal of spiritual adulthood that we’ll see these things accomplished in us.

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
James 3:2

There’s more to the mature walk than simply getting our needs met. This word perfect literally means mature and complete. When you reach this level in your Christian experience sin is the exception rather than the rule. It’s not about trying harder. It’s the Holy Spirit working in you to perfect you.

So much of our energy is spent on trying to “be good.” Many preachers are wasting their time using guilt and scare tactics to try and get their people to live a righteous life. That’s not the scriptural way to get there.

The reason James talks about this in relation to our speaking, is because this is one of the most obvious ways that we show our immaturity. You might look good on the outside, but as soon as you open your mouth, everybody knows where you’re at.

Jesus gives us the reason for this.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45

The fact is that whatever is in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. It’s not something that you can control simply by deciding “not to say anything.” Most of us have found out the impossibility of sticking to that statement.

Your mouth is merely a channel from your heart to the outside world. You can try plugging it up, but eventually the pressure will build until the contents flood out. Then we wish we could take it back. We tell people that we didn’t mean it. But the fact remains that if it wasn’t already in your heart, it wouldn’t have come out of your mouth.

That’s why we can’t concentrate on simply using self-control. The answer is to have a change of heart. If I can plant God’s Word in my heart, then I know the output of my mouth will be pure.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalms 119:11

This includes the sinful things that come out of our mouths. If I can keep my heart pure, then my mouth will follow.

Question: How has your mouth showed the good things in your heart?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Look at Me when I’m Speaking to You

BeamI live in the Boston area. Maybe you’ve heard what our weather’s been like lately. Last week we had two feet of snow and now they’re calling for another foot this week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for spring. I love to go out into the woods to hike and pray. It’s a great way to meet with the Lord.

Did you know that this was a large part of Jesus’ ministry?

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44

Very frequently Jesus went off alone into the wilderness. Usually He would go to pray and to meditate on the Word while seeking the Father’s will for the days ahead. Many times He wouldn’t even tell anyone where He was going. This caused the people and especially His disciples to become annoyed on more than one occasion.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude with the Lord. When you’re alone in God’s presence, you can see the way ahead more clearly. This is because there are less distractions around you.

I’ve been driving in the car with friends and talked with them the whole way to where we were going. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that those conversations aren’t very deep. I can talk and keep my eyes on the road if I don’t have to think very hard.

Intimate conversation, on the other hand, is very different. If what I’m saying is important, then I want you to make eye contact with me. I want to know that you’re giving me your full attention.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We can pray and praise the Lord no matter what we’re doing throughout the day. That’s fine and it keeps our minds focused on Him.

But there comes a time when we need to enter a more intimate time with Christ – worship. This requires an undistracted heart. I’ve found that the outdoors provides just such an experience. It allows me to “make eye contact” with the Lord.

From the example of Christ, we see that walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method many Christians use.

“I’ll try going forward; if the door closes I’ll try another direction.”

When you spend quality time with the Lord seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowd. Then they couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

If you’ve never tried it, spend some time with the Holy Spirit in the outdoors. Of course, you may have to wait until the weather breaks. Unless you’re like me and can’t wait. (I have a good pair of snowshoes!)

Find a nice solitary place that you can come undistracted into the Lord’s presence. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: Where do you go to seek God with no distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Prayer, Times in the Wilderness, Worship

 

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Jehovah Jireh – The Mountain

TrailThis is the final post about how Abraham positioned himself to receive God’s supernatural provision.  At this point we find him with the knife raised, about to sacrifice his only son.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.  “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11-12

Abraham was able to come through this time of testing victoriously.  But there was something that always puzzled me.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God.”  I thought God knew everything, so why would He say that?

The Hebrew word for know is Yada, which means to know by seeing.  What God said was that now Abraham’s faith could be seen.  His fear of God was now obvious to everyone.

That’s the reason for trials and testing.  We may have faith quietly tucked away in our hearts.  Without works, it’s not yet a living faith.  It must be proved genuine.

It’s the trying of our faith that causes it to be seen by those around us.  That’s why Scripture tells us over and over again that without trials we’ll never become mature in Christ.

It was when his faith was tested, and proved genuine, that Abraham’s eyes were opened to the provision of God that was before him.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.  [Jehovah Jireh]  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovah Jireh – the God Who provides.  There are many who think this name is a promise of unbridled wealth.  They think that it’s all about their physical comfort.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is a place of supernatural provision in Christ.

As I said in the first post of this series, it’s a spiritual mountain that must be climbed.  To get to that place in God, it will require the same thing from us that it did of Abraham.

It will take a life of immediate obedience to God, perseverance, speaking our faith, and a decision to give up everything for the cause of Christ.  That’s the real mountain that Abraham had to climb.  The physical mountain was easy in comparison.

As with all things in Christ, God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.  The problem is that we need to position ourselves to receive the provision of God.

That’s the point.  Why do we want God’s blessing?  To accomplish His will or ours?

If you want Christ to be exalted in you, then you’re in a position to receive.

I ask everyone who reads this post to pray and believe God for those who respond to the following question…

Question: What is God calling you to do that you need His supernatural provision for?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision, Prayer

 

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