“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
– Jesus (Matthew 12:33-37)
I’ve been meditating fervently on this Scripture passage lately. I’m learning a lot.
I’m asking Jesus to reveal to me my real motives in different situations, asking Him to test my words and make them align with my heart. I don’t want to have an ‘evil treasure’ to offer Him, either because of sins of omission or commission. I want to daily have an abundance of praise to offer Him, a pure and contrite heart of which He cannot despise (Psalm 51:17). I want him to show me areas of sin in my life I am blind to because of my pride, areas in which I have become lax, areas that I’d rather just forget, etc. I want to refined and made new, so that I can continue to do His work and feel the freedom that He has offered me as His child.
I want the Holy Spirit to purify and cleanse me, to reveal to me my sin and show me Truth. It’s not that I don’t want others to speak into my life, because I do and highly regard those that love me enough to point out my sin. I just know that only He can tell me the motives of my heart, good or bad, no matter what my words convey.
My husband can think my heart is in the right place when it could be far from it. Someone else could think my heart is not in the right place, when again, that could be the furthest thing from the truth.
What is true: A human’s”diagnosis” of another’s (or their own) current status in their sanctification is inevitably skewed. Mortals, no matter how well-intentioned, cannot play the Holy Spirit.
In saying that, it’s important that we weigh whatever exhortation (positive or negative) we get from another against what the Spirit is telling us once we are in a posture of humility toward our Heavenly Father. When we’re confronted, we can’t just get hurt, say “that isn’t true” and refuse to listen. can’t just say “well, that’s not how I feel I am” and refuse to ever listen to that person again. Oh, how I wish sometimes, though, that we could. Don’t you?
We can’t get in that posture to hear the Spirit, however, if we allow ourselves to continue to feel prideful, defensive, unteachable or any other emotion that will negate our ability to hear His voice. I don’t know about you, but if I’m really doing something wrong, I desperately want to hear the Spirit. I want to hear from the one-and-only True Judge who can discern my motives the best, much better than I can or someone else just as fallen as me.
We must test what is said to us against Scripture, humble ourselves and be teachable, yet never forget that, in the end, we’ll stand before Christ – and no one else – and give account for our individual heart’s motives and our careless words.
We must exhort each other in the Body, yes, but we also must do so as a matter of necessity — not an attitude of joy or pride that we’re somehow “better” — and with a posture of humility which leaves room for the Holy Spirit to convict us, as well.
Part 2 to come….