The kind of person I am is revealed by the words I speak, and in the twelfth chapter of Matthew, Jesus compared my words to fruit. My words can be sweet and nourishing or they can be hard and bitter. What is the taste that lingers when I speak? Do people want to hear more of what I have to say, or do they want to get away from me?
…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. (Mt 12:34b)
My words reveal my heart. If I want my words to change then my heart must change, and by “heart” I mean my attitude. In another parable, Jesus compared the heart to the soil of a field. The soil was either hard, stony, thorny, or good soil, and on whichever type of soil seeds fell would determine how those seeds would grow.
So, how do I change my heart to ensure that the soil is good so my roots can grow deep and my branches produce good fruit?
If my heart is hard:
Jesus taught that people’s hearts are hardened based on what they hear and what they see (see Matthew 13:15-17). So, in order for me to cultivate the soil of my heart, I need to be careful and purposeful about what I’m listening to and what I allow my eyes to look at.
This doesn’t mean I plug my ears and sing, “La La La” to block out any opposing viewpoints, but I need to be a gatekeeper for my heart. It’s important to understand other people’s views, but I need to determine how listening to them is affecting me. Do I need to change my viewpoint, or do I need to respectfully listen and make a choice to leave their views with them? Does that make sense? Paul wrote about not having a weak mind that is tossed about with every wind and wave. So, it’s important for me to be secure in myself and my core values, and be careful about what I allow myself to think about. Another effective way to soften a hard heart is through prayer and worship.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
In the same way, I need to be careful what I allow myself to look at. In Job’s defense, he stated,
I made a covenant with my eyes… (Job 31:1)
I need to do the same.
If there are stones in my heart
I believe the stones represent wounds, so to dig out the stones, I need to forgive those who hurt me.
If there are thorns in my heart
I need to cast my cares and worries upon the LORD, and trust Him for every aspect of my life.
Cultivating the soil of my heart, breaking up the hard ground through prayer and worship, digging out the stones through forgiveness, and casting my cares upon the LORD prepares me to receive the good and incorruptible seed, which is the Word of God, which produces abundant fruit in my life by the words I speak.