Funny how you can pray for something for years like a flat stomach or a big bag of cash and it never comes. Yet you can pray for something really small like a heart change and God answers right away. Why is that? Oh sure, the pure heart lasts a lot longer than the money bag. But isn’t it funny how God knows what we need and when? It’s like he gives us a hint what to ask for because he knows he is about to give it to us anyway. We’ve got to have it to grow.
I have been asking God to help me tame my tongue. Why do I inevitably drift to the negative side of the pond? If I love and adore my family the way I profess, how can I be so quickly irritated by their humanness? The last few days I have been asking God (again) how to beat it.
For years when I read “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” I just assumed this meant that the mouth speaks the truth that is in my heart. If I say I love my kids yet cannot be patient with them in all things, I don’t love them enough; love is not in my heart. Right? No! This is impossible for me to accept. I know I love my family. Thus I am left unable to glean any concise guidance from that verse.
But today it happened. It was like that moment when you’re focusing the binoculars and you think, “Wait. Go back. There it was. I saw it.” I saw what I have missed all those times I have quoted that verse and questioned my love and devotion. “Out of the ABUNDANCE of the heart the mouth speaks.” Not out of truth – abundance.
I am studying the Spiritual Formation Workbook with some friends. My moment of enlightenment came when I read, “Pray for the Holy Spirit to purify your hear and mind. Then listen.” It was automatic! I asked. I listened. And I heard...My heart needs purifying. Then I recalled the Bible verse about what I say revealing what is in my heart and I realized….It’s not that my love for my family isn’t sincere. It’s that other junk is in my heart getting in the way of love. I am abundant in something not so nice and my heart needs purifying.
Now Matthew 15:11 makes more sense. It’s not what goes into my mouth that makes me unclean. It’s what comes out. I can have all the love in the world. I can feel it, see it, touch it. But then I can open my mouth and negate it. Ahhh! Now I have something I can work with.