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Lesson 16: What is in the Well of Your Heart?

James 3:9-12 

What is in the well of your heart? James 3:9-12What makes a man perfect according to James 3:2? A man who is not at fault in what he says. As a bit and rudder control and direct a horse and a ship, a tongue under control results in maturity and gives evidence of faith.

Last week saw the controlled tongue can direct the whole course of someone’s life or the work of God. We also noted some principles of how we can use our tongue to bring life, not death.

This week we will examine the source of our words. The well of our hearts.

Read James 3:9-12

Looking back at verse 8, James has noted that no one can tame the tongue. Man can tame animals and make them workers instead of destroyers, but can’t tame his own tongue. We’ve seen that yielding to the Holy Spirit is a key in not being a fault in what we say. We need to yield control of our tongues to the Holy Spirit to bridle and direct our speech. And now he proceeds to give us another clue to control our tongue, by explaining that our words are a matter of what is in our hearts.

Verse 9 looks at the facts. The truth is the tongue is used to bless God and curse men. What a contrast! How can both come from the same source? The Jews were to bless the name of God every time it was spoken. They would say "Blessed be He." Yet in the next breath they would be cursing man whom God had created in His image! Blessing is praise. Cursing is putting another down or speaking bad of someone. Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. And James says this shouldn’t be happening!

Look at this reality even in the scriptures. Peter sys he would die for Jesus, before he would deny him and soon afterwards he is not just denying Jesus, but cursing himself. John the disciple speaks about loving one another, but yet he is the one who wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village to judge it (Luke 9:51-56). We do the same, don’t we? How many of you have had the experience of trying to get to church on time and several unkind words have been said in the process and then you get to church and stand and worship God? Or we find ourselves being very gracious to someone and the next minute we are ruining someone’s reputation with our words. Or we’re patient and kind outside the home and impatient and irritable within our homes. It is a reality that blessing and cursing can come from the same mouth. In verse 10 gives us the warning. James says it shouldn’t be!

What comes naturally to us, is really unnatural to God.

Then he gives us the explanation in verses 11-12. He gives the natural example of a fountain and a tree and what they produce. A fountain that would usually produce refreshing and cleansing water can’t produce bitter water also. It’s one or the other. A tree will produce fruit after its own kind. You won’t get a fig from an olive tree or a vine. It’s the same with our mouths. It shouldn’t be producing both blessing and cursing unless the source is polluted or contaminated. It is very common, but unnatural and the warning is that it shouldn’t be this way.

Our goal is stated in Proverbs 10:11 "The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life." So what’s the problem with our tongues? The trouble is not our tongues, but the source of our words –where our words come from. It’s not just what comes spilling out of our mouths, it’s flowing from our hearts.

The source needs to be examined. Our words are a matter of the heart.

Matthew 15:18-20

"But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." When we put others down, literally curse others, it comes from an impure heart.

Have you ever said something and you can’t believe you said it? Or said it and you know it’s a reflection of what’s in your heart concerning that person or situation? Our words can reflect anger, disappointment, pain, discouragement, impatience, pride, contention, envy, selfish ambition, immorality, bitterness, fear, rebellion that has been stored up in our heart. How we need to examine our hearts and not let it go any further. Recognizing what we say and where it comes from is important to progress along this path of sanctification. Of becoming Christ-like. Don’t let it go any further – confess it, receive forgiveness from God, and ask forgiveness of the one whom you spoke against, complained about, or were unkind towards. There is forgiveness with God.

John 7:37-39 We have seen that the source of pure water is the Holy Spirit given to each of us through the promise of the New covenant. He is fountain of living, pure water welling up within us. Cleansing and refreshing us through His Word as He speaks truth to us. So we yield to the flow of the pure water of the Holy Spirit. Filling us up that which is good in our hearts.

Jesus also says in Matthew 12:33-37 that we can store up that which is good so good will be produced through our lives. If you have an evil heart, you can’t speak anything good. "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Out of your mouth comes what you stored up – good or evil. And we will be held accountable for our careless words on the day of judgment. Throughout the Word, God has held out that high standard of living for us – to be found blameless at his coming. And this passage feeds right into that call. We want to become perfect, whole, blameless in our words so we can bring praise and honor and glory to God here and now and for eternity. We need to fill our hearts with good things – store up God’s Word so that it will be what flows from our mouths. Its truths and principles will bring life to us and others. Fill the well of our hearts with that which honors God. Be in the right company, be in the word, read the right material – fill your well!

Our words will be the fruit of a relationship with Him, yielding to the Holy Spirit’s control and being filled with Holy Spirit and storing up the Word of God in our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 says to guard our hearts for it is the well-spring of life.

When you guard something your aim is to protect it from harm. So guard your heart – watch what’s around. Watch what’s filling your heart. Determine what to let in and what not to let in.


What’s in the well of your heart?

"Out of the mouth flows the abundance of the heart."