Matthew 12:33-37 (NKJV) 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
(First let me say that today is my wife’s birthday. If you know Pastor Elaine Kiefer, send her a note, a text or give her a call. She had been an example to many in the body of Christ and a better wife an mother has not yet lived. She personifies this verse. Proverbs 31:29 (NKJV) 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”)
This week we have been studying the principle established by the Lord in creation. God created by speaking faith filled words that originated in the realm of the spirit. God gave this authority to man when he said “Have dominion over creation.” Jesus displayed the truth of this principle in his ministry. Yesterday we looked at the cursing of the fig tree and the calming of the storm. In the latter, the disciples make a statement that perfectly describes this principle. “Even the storm obeys him.”
There were many more times that Jesus used words to change the physical reality. Maybe the most powerful of all was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus was at the tomb of Lazarus and ready to raise him up, he did not go down and lay hands on him. He did not do some ritual. He did not burn incense or sprinkle the body with herbs. John tells us what he did.
John 11:43 (NKJV) 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
When it came time to change the physical reality of death, Jesus spoke words. Even death had to obey the voice of creation from the mouth of the Son of Man.
Today let us look at what Jesus taught concerning words. In the scripture above Jesus reveals a number of things. First, he tells us that the words we speak are indicative of where we are in the spirit. Proverbs 23:6-7 says that the motivation of a person is determined by what he thinks in his heart. In verse 34 above, Jesus tells us that out of that heart abundance a man will speak.
We may want to apply this to others to see where their heart is but I think we must also apply it to ourselves. Listen to your own words. We can sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking we are in a spiritual place that we are not. Our words well not lie. However, to what words should we listen. Jesus tells us. We will be judged by the “idle words” we speak.
What are idle words? When a car is idling, it is running but it is not going anywhere. It has the potential to do what it was designed to do, but it is not producing anything. It is idle. When we allow our words to be unproductive they are idle. They have potential but they are doing nothing to bring life. I believe we should be aware that our words are precious and endeavor to use them to build up others and the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:4-6 (NKJV) 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
If you go back to the 1st verse of this chapter, you find that this is a list of some very bad things. Paul includes how we use our words in the list. Do not use your words to damage or destroy. Use your words to build up and to give God thanks. You can never go wrong if you make these verses your guide.
That said, there is another meaning to idle words. One of the definitions for this word in Greek is lazy. Although this could go to the idea of being unproductive, I believe it can also mean unguarded. The words that we will really be judged for are those that we speak when we are idle. When we are not trying to say the right thing or when we are not trying to make the right impression we use unguarded or lazy words.
We speak one way in church but another outside of church. When we are speaking to the pastor or a brother we will use guarded words. We do not want to say the wrong thing. The words that we need to listen to are the ones we say when our mind is in idle. They will tell us where we really are in the spirit.
When I first got saved I was 14 years old. I did not grow up in the church. I was an athlete and spent time in locker rooms. The language there was quite “colorful.” When I was with my Christian friends I did not use that language. However, when I was with my locker room friends, my mouth was as bad or worse than any of theirs.
When I was 17 two things happened. I made a decision to serve God in the ministry and I got filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues. Up to that time it was a challenge to make sure the wrong thing did not come out of my mouth around my future wife who led me to the Lord. It was natural to use the locker room language. That was where my heart really was. I was saved but I was not yet fully given my life to Jesus.
After the experiences in the summer of my 17th year, I found that my idle words were different. It was not a challenge to say the right things around my Christian friends. I stopped saying the other words around my locker room friends. My idle words had changed because I had changed.
Idle words are not just curse words. Idle words can be words of doubt. They can be words of hidden unforgiveness. They can be words of fear or lack of trust or any number of heart problems that all of us, even born again Christians, can have. As we listen to our idle words we can determine where we are and what we need to work on. That is why it is for these words we are judged. They are the ones that tell us what we believe.
Listen to what you are saying when you are not guarding your words. If you cannot seem to help speaking about how bad things are, there is some unbelief there. If you cannot stop telling how bad someone is, there may be unforgiveness. Whatever you cannot help saying is what you really believe and where you really are in the spirit.
The good news is that can change. We can decide to make our words productive. We can change what we say and what we thinking. That is why God told Joshua what he did.
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
God told Joshua how to change what his idle words would be. If he kept the book of the Law, the bible, in his mouth he would change what he thought. As he changed what he thought his words would begin to reflect the Word of God. When our words reflect the Word of God it means we have changed and our words with us. When our idle words change we begin to do the will of God and his power is released to enable us. We enter into God’s realm of possibility