Luke 6 - What Is Flowing Out of You?

This month, I'm running some posts from the archives, as we are in the middle of our transition back to America. I'll be popping in every so often to update you on our transition back home, but until then, enjoy the re-runs! If you want to hear the latest, you can always sign up for my monthly newsletter here. - whitney

(This was originally published January 18, 2014.)

This week, I took a class on "Really Speaking Life" by Jessi Connolly from the Influence Network {I know, I mention them a lot, but seriously, it is the most amazing online community I have ever encountered!}.

If you know me - at all - you know that speaking life is not one of my giftings. Let's be honest - I am blunt, opinionated, and good at pointing out flaws in others. God has done a lot of work in me, but I am still a very raw product. I've never been afraid to say exactly what I think. That can be a good thing when it's God prompting me to speak out for Him. But honestly? Most of the time, I am speaking out on behalf of myself.

Proverbs 18:21 says, Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit...you choose {The Message}. And many times, I am not using my words to give life to people. I am using them as a selfish outlet - a way to make myself feel superior, to judge others, to focus on the negative instead of seeking to praise the positive.

And why is that? Do I need to just change my habits, or find a new system to implement that will help me view the world in a more positive light? Do I need to pay a quarter into a jar every time I swear? {yes, let's be honest, there is one word I fear I will never stop using in moments of frustration...#keepingitreal} 

My problem is not a behavioral one, or one based on my circumstances. If my life gets easier or I'm around less-frustrating people, I won't stop having negative thoughts and saying critical words about everything. Because my problem comes from my heart.

That's why I love these words of Jesus. In Luke 6, he's refuting the Pharisees' belief that what touches a man from the outside makes him dirty or sinful. No, Jesus says; evil and sin already reside within us. And when we speak, whatever is in our hearts - including evil - will flow out.

I visualize it like a jar full of water. You may not be able to see what's inside the jar, but when it's pushed or jostled, whatever is inside will spill out. It's the same for me. If I am full of myself, pride, criticism, and self-centered thinking, all of that will flow out in my words. But if I am full of God's Word, his truth, his love, his Spirit - that's what will come out of my mouth in times of stress and testing.

It's in the moments when we're caught off guard or faced with unexpected challenges that our hearts are shown for what they really are. When life is smooth, it's easy to maintain a happy facade. But when testing comes, we can't maintain our masks. And our words are a key indicator of what's going on inside our hearts.

But the answer to change is not changing our outward behavior or learning new habits. That won't get rid of the darkness inside us. We have to repent and turn to Jesus, trusting him to change us - because we're incapable of that ourselves. 

So I created the above card to print off and remind myself that the words I'm using are a reflection of my heart. What am I filling myself with today? What is flowing out of me? And I hope you can use it, too, to encourage you to fill yourself with Christ and allow his Word to change your heart.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you struggle with speaking life? Are there verses that help you repent and turn to Jesus when you are not speaking life?

P.S. More thoughts on how Jesus empowers us to speak life to others.