The Fruit of Our Lips
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
I'm constantly being reminded, about the principle of the fruit of our lips. So very often, I find that we are not wise to the fact of how deeply our words (both spoken and unspoken) can go effect our hearts, minds and behaviors. Our words can begin to foster good or bad habits, foundations for Godly wisdom and growth or false idols of worship.
We should pay close attention and take careful note to what is coming out of our mouths. Not only as to how its effecting us but how its impacting others. For instance, as believer's how are we uplifting others, how are we set apart, what habits are we teaching others, let alone creating within ourselves. While we should we be reflecting the light of the Kingdom (in our speech and actions), in reality are we often reflect something that looks and sounds more like rotten fruit of the enemy?
Scripture presents us with a few concise examples found in Proverbs 12 and 13, James 1:19-27 and James 3 that bring to light the results of this fruit and how to best examine ourselves, our thoughts and our actions/habits to cultivate the "righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19-21)
Proverbs 12 / On Thoughts:
2 Good people obtain favor from the Lord,
but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
Proverbs 12 / On Speech:
5 The plans of the righteous are just,
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
and so the innocent escape trouble.
14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
17 An honest witness tells the truth,
but a false witness tells lies.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Proverbs 13 / On Speech:
2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,
but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.
3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
James 1 / The Habit of Listening & Doing
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James 3 / Taming the Tongue:
2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison (but be encouraged that through Christ redeeming power and love that He has provided the key to tame this through him alone.) 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
This is not at all to discount the need for forgiveness, humility or confession. Christ calls us to a higher standard and by that we should err on the side of the former graces (the fruit of the spirit) in every way. Always seeking to forgive and be forgiven putting ourselves aside for His greater glory. We use these things not as a weight but as our guiding rod of discipline and correction and as an example of how we should live daily, examining our own thoughts, speech and actions that will eventually produce the fruit everlasting or the fruit of sin (death in many forms). As always the choice is ours for the making.
In essence, be more discerning in our thoughts, speech and how we interact with others. especially those close to you (business or personal).