Saturday, April 2, 2011

Develop a Prosperous Tongue

Once again, the first of the month finds me at Psalm 1. A fresh month, a fresh opportunity to think about the prosperity God desires for you and me. It looks likes this:

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
(Psalm 1:3)
There are two things necessary for experiencing this prosperity in our lives, one positive, and the other negative. The positive is found in verse 2:
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Notice the word “But.” It is the hinge point that turns from the negative to the positive. The negative is found in the first verse and it is just as important as the positive.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
Now, the first line, of course, is positive, “Blessed is the man.” Or better, “Oh, the happinesses of the man!” But the next three lines set up the negative, about what the man who is blessed does not do.
  • He does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.
  • He does not stand in the path of sinners.
  • He does not sit in the seat of the scornful.
The tendency here might be to think of those who are flamboyant in their ungodliness, or accentuated in their sinfulness or very loud and exceedingly abusive in their mockery. It is pretty much a given that we should not follow them and their ways. But it is the more subtle forms that we should really be watching out for. They can be much more dangerous to us, and the blessing and prosperity God has for us, because they can be so deceptive and yet seem so reasonable. They show up, for example, when we make decisions that leave no room for God, or God becomes merely an afterthought, even when we are trying to do something good. Then we are leaning on our own understanding and there is no dependable direction when we come to the crossroads (see Proverbs 3:5-6). They show up as pride and arrogance, the puffing up of ourselves and supposing that our own needs matter more than others. We have long been discipled in the subtle art of rationalization. Jesus nailed some these subtle forms in the Sermon of Heaven on Earth (my title, a. k. a., “Sermon on the Mount”), when He declares, “You have heard it said … but I say to you” (see Matthew 5:21-22, 21-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44).

Then there is the matter of what we do with our mouths. Not merely open mockery, which is easily detected and avoided, but the little ways we tear things down with our words, and especially how we belittle each other, and ourselves, by the things we give voice to. Our words are very powerful, and how we use them is very important.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. (James 3:8-12)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37).
No man can tame the tongue, it is attached to the heart and merely reveals what is in the heart in abundance. In other words, to deal with the tongue, you have to deal with the heart. How important it is, then, to continually meditate on the instruction of the Lord and let if fill your heart to overflowing. Then His words will inform your words, and when you speak, you will be speaking in alignment with the prosperity of God. Your faith will be activated and you will see that divine prosperity begin to come forth in your life.