It’s the heart.

Can both salt water and fresh water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? James 3:11-12

James asked the questions not because he didn’t know the answers. We know the answers. Of course not. I would not go to a fig tree to get olives. I would not go to a grapevine to get figs. And I certainly cannot drink the water if the spring is salty. But James is not talking about fruit and water. His point has to do with our words.

How important are your words? Haven’t we learned that the wrong word at the wrong time can ruin a relationship? A promise can be broken. A bad impression can be given which can never be repaired. No wonder Proverb 4:23 tells us: Above all else (if you don’t hear anything else, hear this), guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

There are times we’d like to dismiss what comes from our mouths. It wasn’t me! But if it wasn’t me, who was it? James knew what his brother Jesus taught: The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart (Matthew 15:18). Only a renewed heart can produce pure speech. We often excuse our words and actions because we want to believe that we have a good heart, but our words and actions are the stethoscope to the heart.

A first step to a renewed heart is to admit that there is a problem – to admit that I am powerless and there is One who is greater who can renew my heart.

You, O Lord, are the spring of Living Water offering water to us all. In those times when I am less than I want to be and less than you need me to be, help me to hear my words and recognize my deeper need to drink from your spring of Living Water. May my words and actions this day give honor and glory to you. Amen.

Today’s reading: James 3:1-12

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