Although each person is different, researchers have estimated that the average person uses between 7,000-10,000 words per day! At the 7,000 word per day rate, that would mean that the average person speaks around 49,000 words per week and over 2.5 million words per year! Imagine what that number would be over a lifetime.
The way we use our words is very important to God. There is a reason why the Bible gives so many warnings about how we use our words. Consider a few examples:
Exodus 20:7- “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD the God in vain; for the LORD will not hold guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Proverbs 10:19- “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
Proverbs 21:23- “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”
James 1:19, 26- “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
Although there are many warnings against the wrong use of words, we must recognize that God made us to communicate with one another and with Him through the use of words. We are relational people and verbal communication is an important part of maintaining healthy relationships. However, the Bible has much to say about the words we use. And the words we use reveal what is contained within our hearts.
In Matthew 12:33 Jesus said- “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” In the natural realm, if a tree is producing rotten fruit, it’s an indicator that the tree is diseased. If the fruit is good and healthy, it’s an indicator that the tree is healthy.
In Matthew 12, Jesus had been responding to the hypocrisy of a religious group in His day called the Pharisees. These Pharisees were very strict about outward observances of the law and their extra-biblical traditions they added to the law. However, on the inside they were full of corruption and sin. Jesus knew their hearts and He knew why they continued to speak against His miracles. Jesus would go on to say to them some very direct words that exposed the rottenness of their hearts. He said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” Jesus knew that it was impossible for them to speak good things about God because their heart was evil. He reminded them that it is “out of the abundance of the heart [that] the mouth speaketh.” Their blasphemy against the Lord was indicative of their heart attitude toward Him. Just as a diseased tree produced rotten fruit, so the Pharisees revealed the spiritual corruption in their hearts by the blasphemous words they spoke against Christ.
Jesus went on to say that “a good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35). A man who has been saved by the grace of God and is walking under the control of the Holy Spirit will, out of his heart, bring forth good things. His words will be wholesome, truthful, edifying, holy. But an evil man will bring forth evil words. His words will be blasphemous, deceitful, profane, and destructive.
That is why the Bible warns that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgments. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words though shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36). The Lord reminds us to guard our words. He also reminds us that our words reveal what is on the inside. Clean up the heart and the words will follow. A clean heart comes through: 1) Salvation, 2) a Spirit-filled life, 3) Sanctification.
May we pray with the Psalmist- “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in they sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
~Pastor Aaron Francis