READING: Matthew 15-17
Growing up, I learned the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That phrase sounded good then, but I don’t believe it now. Our words have power, and they sting sometimes. They can affirm, or they can destroy.
Words matter because they reveal who we really are on the inside. In Jesus’ words, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them” (Matt 15:11). Our words reveal our heart, and our heart is often filled with things like “murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, [and] slander” (Matt 15:19).
Simon Peter is a picture of this reality. One day when Jesus asked who people thought He was, Peter got the answer right: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Matt 16:16). Jesus, though, reminded Peter that he didn’t come to that truth on his own; rather, the Father revealed it to him (Matt 16:17). At least on this day, Peter’s heart was listening to the Father.
Not long thereafter, however, Peter seriously missed it. Jesus told His disciples about His coming death, and Peter confronted Him. “Never, Lord!” he said to his Master (Matt 16:22). Jesus recognized where Peter’s heart was, and He in turn confronted the disciple with a blistering word: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matt 16:23). What had been a good day when Peter listened to the Father turned into a terrible day sometime later when he listened only to the enemy.
You see, out of the same mouth (and sometimes in the same conversation) can come the words of God and the words of the enemy. We must constantly guard our lips, recognizing that our lips reveal our heart. Daily, we need to pray the general words of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Matt 16:22).
- Watch your words closely today. Examine your heart as you speak.
- If Jesus is the living God to you, follow Him with all your being.
PRAYER: “Lord, Son of David, do have mercy on me. May my words today reveal a pure heart dedicated to You.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 18-19