Speaking Life From the Heart
“...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” -Matthew 12:34b-37
For Christian leaders, speech is incredibly important. It is the primary way in which ideas, truths, propositions, feelings, and beliefs are presented and understood. A leader's speech about and with God and people is of paramount significance. "The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." (Proverbs 18:21) The tongue is a powerful instrument that can either bring life or death, depending on how we use it. As Christians, we must speak life. This is important because God has called us to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) If we are to convince people of the truth and grace of Jesus Christ, it will never happen when we are bringing people down.
In order to speak life, life must be ingrained in the heart of the believer. As the psalmist says, so we must say, "Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right." (Psalm 119:172) Because the tongue can be so deceitful, a Christian leader must be deeply connected to the Word of God. "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11) If we do not speak life, our leadership and ministry can easily be illegitimatized. We must be an example in speech. When we become an example in speech, we can no longer compartmentalize our speech about God. It becomes something more than just a discussion at church or a prayer in private. Our speech will permeate all of our life with Christ. We see this in Peter and John when they are before the Jewish council for healing a man in the name of Jesus. They are threatened and warned by the council to no longer continue speaking about Jesus. The apostles’ response is one that shows that their lives are an example of Christ: "Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20) In the same way, when Martin Luther stood before the Diet of Worms to defend his 95 Theses (among other works), he declared, "Here I stand. I can do no other."
So speak life into people in order to win them over for the Kingdom of God. But don’t just let your speech be words you make up; let your speech be an outflow of your very self. If your heart is filled with the Spirit of God and you are being obedient to His will, your speech will inevitably be life-bringing. When this happens, you will stand firm in your faith and speak the name of Jesus because you “can do no other.”