Put your heart where your mouth is

Careless words are of ill-effect, but words from the heart reach the heart.

People say a lot of things.

We here promises made all the time. “I’m going to do this,” or, “When I get this, I’m going to do that.” Oftentimes, we find that these promises are quite empty.

I am sure we can all attest to having made an empty promise or two. In fact, we say things all the time that are truly devoid of meaning, without even giving it a thought.

Talking to a friend one time, she told me her philosophy of when people ask, “How are you?” She went on to tell me that she avoids asking this question, because when people pose it they do not really want a genuine answer; they really do not want to know how you actually are or have a conversation about your current issues. Instead, most times people just want to hear the very cliché, “I’m good, and how are you?”

My friend made a good point that day. I had to think about the times that I posed this question. Did I really want to hear about the problems of the people to whom I asked this question? If they were to start pouring out to me, what would be my response? Sympathy? Apathy?

In a larger sense, “How are you?” is just one of the many things we allow to escape our lips on a daily basis without any connection to our hearts. The most popular of these sayings has to be, “I love you.”

Over the last four posts, we discussed four characteristics of love: passionate, practical, persistent and preeminent. Saying you love someone, then, should result in these characteristics being made manifest in the context of the relationship.

In a very plain sense, we should not just throw these words around. Every time we say we love someone without giving it any kind of thought or really meaning it, the words themselves lose their meaning. Eventually, words reserved for intimacy and esteem become casual catchphrases.

This is especially the case when it comes these three words: “I love Jesus!”

Many people lay claim to this confession. From the “Religious Views” line on Facebook to t-shirts and other paraphernalia, “I love Jesus” has become a rather common occurrence. What is not as common, however, is actual love for Jesus—as Christ, himself, defines it.

Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). This is to say that what you value will determine where you place your affection, or what you truly care about. He adds later, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34b). Valuing Jesus and, thus, having our hearts hidden in him will result in a genuine expression of that love when we open our mouths.

When we talk about Jesus, we should always be giving a gesture of our love. We should never come to a point where we get so comfortable, that God’s greatness is an afterthought. Our evangelizing, singing, teaching and preaching are reflections of our love for Christ. Ultimately, though, we can effectively do these things and bear witness to our risen Lord because of the practicality of our confession.

We can truly evangelize if we live a life of servitude to Christ. Our singing is powerful if we live the lyrics to the songs we sing. Teaching is effective when the scriptures leap off the pages into the reality of our lives. Preaching is heartfelt and anointed after life’s experiences have facilitated an authentic encounter with God.

Our confession is displayed in its most practical sense, however, with our obedience.

In Luke 6:46, Jesus inquires, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” If you confess Jesus as Lord then you should do what he says!

Jesus does not allow us to just carelessly throw words around. In fact, Proverbs 13:3 admonishes, “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

Our words are a condition of our heart. In the case of Jesus, we treasure him so that he will take a place of preeminence in our hearts and that this priority will be evident when we open our mouths.

What starts with our mouths should end in loving obedience. Living a life that seeks to concretize the term, “I love Jesus,” will, in turn, allow us to experience Christ’s love. John 15:9-11 reads:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

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~ by christianballenger on April 20, 2012.

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