March 3, 2014
READ: Matthew 15:1-20
It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth (v.11).
It’s true that “you are what you eat”. I have a favourite sugary cereal that I sometimes snack on, even though I know that half an hour later I’m going to crash. Diet is important, because—thanks to the miracle of metabolism—our food literally becomes a part of us. I might be 20 percent milk and hydrogenated corn syrup!
It’s even truer that “you are what you say”. When the religious leaders complained that His disciples were eating with unwashed hands, Jesus replied that it’s not what you eat that corrupts you, but the words that come out of your mouth. Why? Because there is a direct line from your mouth to your heart. Jesus explained, “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you” (Matthew 15:17-18).
If you want to know what’s in your heart, think about what you said today. Did your words nourish and encourage others? Were they kind “like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body”? (Proverbs 16:24). James said we can tell what we’re really like by the way we talk to and about others. We know better than to curse God in the presence of others, but do we curse “those who have been made in the image of God”? If we do, then our hearts have become a “salty spring” that produces only “bitter water” (James 3:9-12).
Last night I did something worse than eat junk food. I carelessly spoke junk words to my daughter, which caused her eyes to be filled with hurt. My heart sank for the damage I had needlessly inflicted and for what my foolish words said about me. I asked for her forgiveness and thank God for a fresh start today. —Mike Wittmer
Joshua 7:1-26 ‹365-day plan
Read James 3:1-12 to learn about the danger and importance of our words.
What do your words reveal about you? How can you use your words to lift others to God?