“What we allow entrance to our mind through our eyes and ears determines what comes out of us – through our actions, and through our speech.”
This is where we left off and where we will begin today. What we allow entrance into our minds and our hearts will find its way out. Much of the time that happens through our speech – the words we use.
I’ll find myself at times just listening to my girls play. Often I’m surprised by how the game they’ve created develops. The dynamics of their dialogue is neat to listen to. But there have been times that I’ve heard a phrase come out of one of the girls that is way out of character. I’ll stop their game and ask them do they know what that meant.
It’s not like they heard a curse word and then cursed. It’s more along the lines of a phrase they are too young to understand, a figure of speech, perhaps would be a better descriptor. Often the phrase doesn’t even fit into the game they are playing and doesn’t make sense with the game’s context.
“I don’t know” is the usual response when I ask. And that’s alright with me. It gives me opportunity to guide and direct.
My point is this. Somewhere in their daily lives, they’ve heard that phrase. And although they don’t understand it, it will indeed find its way out.
What goes in…is what comes out.
Take music for example. I can open up iTunes and there are 25 different genres of music to choose from. Let’s say for a month I choose to listen to the heaviest, angriest, most explicit screaming metal music out there. What effect do you think that would have on me?
At the end of that month I would have to imagine that I would have a lot of angry words to use as well as the feelings to go with them.
Or let’s say for a month I seek conversations where I know I’m going to hear some really juicy gossip. I only listen at first, but slowly I’ll join in. And after that month is up, I’ll probably find most of what I’m conversing about with other people is going to be more gossip than building up.
We may think this is a new problem of our day, but nothing has changed really. The book of Zephaniah, chapter 3 is a perfect example. Zeph prophesied between 635 and 625 B.C. Purity in speech was just as much a problem then as it is today. And we see this in chapter 3.
Chapter 3 begins with a laundry list of Jerusalem’s sins. By letting other idolatrous nations in, they’ve contaminated themselves. Look at the list of sins.
- rebellion against God (v. 1)
- spiritual defilement (v. 1)
- disobedience (v. 2)
- lack of trust in the Lord (v. 2)
- wickedness of rulers (v. 3)
- corrupt religious leaders (v. 4)
- injustice, by contrast with a just God (v. 5)
- lack of shame (v. 5)
- refusal to heed God’s warnings to repent (vv. 6–7) (These all are found in the Holman Bible Commentary)
It bears repeating again. What goes in…is what comes out.
Verse 8 and 9 is what I want to point out.
Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.
Zeph gives us a laundry list of sins that culminates in judgement that demands repentance in verse 8.
Zephaniah 3:9 “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
Ah, the moment of hope! Verse 9’s first two words are crucial. “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips” Once the sin is purged, then, God says, will I give to the peoples purified lips.
If we want to clean up our talk, build up, instead of tear down – speak truth instead of gossip, then we must first seek to repent of any sin that stands in our way of the blessing God has in the form of purified lips.
The blessing of purified lips isn’t possible until repentance! God *will not* help with what comes out of our mouths if we are still putting into our minds that which goes against obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). It’s the same as eating contaminated food and expecting to not get sick from it.
No one would expect otherwise! So why do we with God?
Why do we expect God to give us clean lips if we don’t have clean hearts because of what we are putting in? Jesus clearly states in Luke.
Luke 6:45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Indeed, what we fill ourselves with comes out through our mouths.
What goes in…is what comes out. Our prayer ought to be for the Holy Spirit to make us acutely aware of what is coming out of our mouths. Those words are an incredible indicator of the quality of material that we are feeding our minds and our hearts. And should we discover that we need a change, we have the assurance of His Spirit to come alongside us and guide us to the changes we need to make, to help us live a Spirit Filtered life.