Thermometer

Published on Aug 10th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Thermometer

Thermometer

Every time I go to the doctors they take my blood pressure, weight, and temperature. All of these are indicators of what is going on in my body. If my temperature is up then they will be alerted that something is wrong in my body. The doctor does not simply tell me to take a cold bath in order to bring my temperature down. He searches for the cause of my temperature being elevated and then deals with the cause. A higher temperature is simply a symptom of a problem. I have been thinking lately about some of the indicators that God gives us that are designed to warn us of heart problems we are experiencing. For instance, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Luke 6:45. An indicator of what is controlling our heart is what comes out of our mouth. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” How angry is our speech? How much of our speech is being used to tear down? How much is used to minister grace? James is pretty clear about how our speech must match our hearts. “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” James 3:9-12. We all are pretty good at saying or singing the right things at church and when we are around our brothers and sisters in Christ but what comes rushing from our hearts when we are by ourselves or in the middle of the stresses of the week?

Let’s be honest. This side of heaven we are all going to continue to struggle with fleshly hearts. Like Paul we will do what we don’t want to do and not do what we do want to do. But Paul continued on with that teaching and taught us that as we are filled with the Spirit we will find that we will do what we want to do and not do what we don’t want to do. When I notice that my mouth is quick to speak that which is not pleasing to God it becomes an indicator to me that I need to stop and ask the Spirit to control my heart. I need to choose my words and actions and not simply be reacting to what is happening around me.

One of my nephews moved to Tennessee a few years ago. I have not seen him since he moved. We just had a family reunion in North Carolina and we went fishing together. He walked into the bait shop talking one way and came out talking another. Around us, his southern accent, that he picked up living in Tennessee, was almost nonexistent. When he came out of the bait shop his accent was so heavy it was almost hard to understand him. It is in our nature to chameleon into our environment. Paul says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6. Don’t be a chameleon. Choose to be gracious and choose words that proclaim the glory of God so that you are used to preserve his glory in that place. Salt, when placed in a wound, may sting a little. Your words of grace and glory may sting a little but they will be used to bring God glory. I am afraid that too often our words are just plain salty. Our speech then reveals a heart that would rather fit in than bring glory to God.

I have noticed lately an acceptance among believers of the use of crude language. We used to call them curse words. My dad used to get on my case about using euphemisms. Words that were designed to take the place of curse words but carried the same heart attitude. I do notice that when I find myself using those euphemisms again that my heart is cold toward the Lord. They come from my fleshly heart. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus and I am beholding his glory my language is different. “Hell and damnation”, or “heck and dang” for me, are spoken with a sense of reverence of their eternal weight.

Words that minister grace, words that are seasoned with salt, these flow from a heart that is controlled by the Spirit of God. Crude talking, angry words, words that hurt, all flow from our fleshly hearts. Take your temperature today. How warm is your heart toward the things of God?

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