I read a passage in Matthew this morning. Every now and then, God uses a passage that I have read many times to speak wisdom into my life today. Here are the verses:
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Matt. 12:33-37 (NLV)
Jesus was speaking to some religious leaders of the day, called Pharisees. They did not like Jesus, and used any opportunity they could to try and discredit the ministry of Jesus. In this case, they had even accused Jesus of getting his power from the Devil.
These were men that were looked up to in the community, and were leaders in the Jewish church, not just average citizens. Jesus looks right past their “standing” in society, and their pious attitudes. He goes right to the center of the problem…the condition of their hearts.
Does this hit you the way it hit me? How often do I rely on my own thoughts, traditions, and perspective in the way I follow Jesus? Do I allow my heart to become calloused and cold, resulting in speech that demoralizes, or criticizes others? I have to admit that I find myself fighting the urge to be snarky, cold, and critical of others. It is particularly bad when I am tired, or when things have not gone my way. I hate to admit that, but it's true...
Truthfully, we are no different than the Pharisees in this story, if left to our own devices. Jesus IS in fact saying this to us, as well. Check your heart...make sure it's tuned into God, and not yourself! I pray that God uses you in mighty ways this week!