Updated: Jan 13
When we take inventory of our lives as Christians and begin considering what to cultivate and what to weed out, we can determine the value of something by the impact and effect it brings. Jesus Himself established this principle when He said that a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 12:33). For instance, verse 11 of our reading today states that, "He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread." Here, the act of working hard to till the land is identified as good explicitly because it yields the good result of satisfying food. Similarly, the foolishness of being frivolous in our activity is linked with a lack of understanding. If we only took care to examine the outcome of an unserious or aimless life, we would see that it is foolish!
The law of sowing and reaping, as in Galatians 6:7, is threaded throughout this chapter of Proverbs. Perhaps the most crucial example for our society is found in verse 18, where we read that, "the tongue of the wise promotes health." One of the most acceptable and rampant evils in our society is in the realm of slander, gossip, and maligning others. There are entire careers built on doing this. What is perhaps more deadly, however, is the smooth words that appear to come from "the tongue of the wise," but do not align with God's wisdom. We must examine the persuasive arguments we are drawn to. What is the result? Are they bringing us closer to the God who loves us and formed us in our mother's womb? Are they making us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, more loving, more Christlike? Or, rather, are they dulling our spirit to God's promptings, presence, and wisdom?
You and I can determine once and for all the moral value of any habit, decision, or word spoken, by asking the question, "Does this numb my spirit toward desiring God? Does it zap my love for Jesus and His Word? Does it leave me cold and indifferent to prayer?" If the answer is yes to any of these questions, we need to rid ourselves of that thing. When we do, we will find that Jesus is the treasure hidden in a field, and it is worth selling all we have to buy that field!
How about our speech? Does it promote health? Sometimes, God will call us to withhold something that is "true," because in the timing or circumstances, it is not "wise." The tongue of the wise learns when to hold back, because its concern is promoting health. Even Jesus said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). As sad as it was, certain truths would not have resulted in spiritual health for the disciples but would have been too much to bear. Conversely, consider the moments when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and even Peter! Sometimes, the tongue of the wise will even strongly rebuke someone we love. Why? Because the rebuke is needed to stir that person to spiritual health.
To have a healthy soul and to increase the health of our church, I encourage you to surrender your tongue to the Lord, continually. Ask Him to control the tongue what we have failed to control. In fact, if we see there is anything in word or deed that is not producing a healthy soul, let's trust Jesus by crucifying that thing. If we do, we will find that the fullness of knowing Jesus Christ is infinitely and eternally worth it.
The Rock Church