O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
“Men’s language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.”
As Singapore’s 46th National Day approaches – August 9, 2011, our local newspapers do not reflect the contentment which is great gain, which the Bible talks about despite the fact that Singapore is not one of the bankrupt countries in the world which has to seek IMF intervention. In truth, Singapore is practically a land “flowing with milk and honey for those who would find it with contentment” compared to surrounding countries. Yes, it is true that there are many who are poor, but the poorest in Singapore cannot be compared to those in the third world countries. We are blessed with a government that has the propensity and the means to provide for those who have fallen between the cracks and are looking at the issues. The worst in Singapore are those who would remain there by choice or need a helping hand to know what is available. So why do we reflect a discontented, unhappy lot? It is because we do not know what is good and bad and how worse it could be which is so often the case of people who have been used to the “good” life. We, even many Christians among us, have not learned to be grateful to God for all He has provided for us as a nation. Our hearts are not right with Him if we are perpetually hankering for the “good” things which are temporal when we already have our basic necessities for living met. We continue to seek and work feverishly to fulfil temporary gains rather than the rich gains for eternity.
Why don’t we instead speak of what we know?
John 3:11 — verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
As Christians, do we
- Know of God’s love for us as children because it is Christ, the one who died for us and who is risen from the dead, who is the guarantor of our saving relationship with God. We know God loves us because of Jesus, not because we have had an “experience” but because we know in faith that we do belong to God. It should come as no surprise that the discovery of one’s relationship to God is an incredibly powerful experience in the lives of many believers. The experience is not what makes one a Christian, but the power of that experience that flows from one’s awareness of being loved by God .
- Cultivate a personal relationship with God in Christ like cultivating a relationship with anyone who is important to you, such as a spouse or an important friend. Relationships that are important need time dedicated to them so that they can grow and flourish. Open, honest communication is a must. Also, the time spent together should be enjoyable and refreshing, as much as possible. When things go wrong in a relationship, of course, we have to spend time sorting things out, apologizing, and recommitting. However, much of the time spent in a healthy relationship means just enjoying each other’s company. All this applies as much to our relationship with Christ as it does with a close, personal friend. And that is because Christ truly wants to be our close, personal friend.
- Meditate. Read from Scripture, listening with the heart and mind, until something strikes you in a special way. Meditate on that word as one God has spoken to your heart.
- Pray. Make prayer a loving conversation with God. After deeply pondering the word spoken to you in Scripture, turn to God, offering your heart, mind, and will in joyful gratitude.
- Contemplate. Finally, rest in the presence of God, emptying the heart of emotions, the mind of thoughts, and the heart of desires. This is a time to simply be with God.
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (Matt 7:21)
Likewise, those who will be rejected will have forfeited their opportunity because their actions failed to show any love for Jesus. Both those who are accepted and those who are rejected are said to be puzzled by the judgment rendered them. When did they ever see Jesus hungry, thirsty, naked, or in prison? They are told that they are being judged by what they did for the least of those Jesus calls his own (see Matt 25:31-46 for full context).
It takes more than just a spiritual experience to unite us with Christ. Our spiritual rebirth is a call to practical concern for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the neglected, and the scorned in our neighborhoods and around the world. Our response to them is what will ultimately demonstrate our faith in and love for the One who gives eternal life.
Can we speak of what we know? He promises to meet our needs, not what we want. Can we testify of what we have seen in Christ, so others will not reject the good news of Christ Jesus? Do we speak the truth in love.
As Christians, if we have nothing good to say or do then it is imperative that we humbly review our relationship with Christ Jesus.
What say you and me?