The Heart-Mouth Highway

I love the old spiritual, the “Dry Bones” Song. You remember — “Toe bone connected to the foot bone, foot bone connected to the heel bone, heel bone connected to the ankle bone, ankle bone connected to the shin bone, now hear the Word of the Lord.” (click to hear)

When I sing it to myself, I like to mix up the bones and even add a few. “The head bone’s connected to the knee bone, and the knee bone’s connected to the ear bone.” Or something like that.

If you want your skeleton to work right, though, the correct bone has to be connected to its corresponding bone.

Bone Surgery

There is a surprising connection that often determines how well our life works: the heart bone connects to the mouth bone.

Now at first glance that seems weird, but I didn’t make it up. Check out God’s x-ray:

“… For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matt. 12:34-37, NLT)

So, remember this: If you question if someone is good or bad, study the fruit of his life. Listen to what comes out of the mouth—yours and others. It’s the best sign of what is in the heart. The heart is KEY!

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (Proverbs 4, ESV)

If the motor of your car spits, sputters, and pops, you need to head for the mechanic. You hear what’s going on in the motor.

It’s the same with our heart. We constantly do a “mouth check” because it reveals what is in our heart. When we’re humming along with praise, encouragement, and faith-filled self talk, we’re getting about 50 miles per gallon.

But, if negativity, doubt, criticism, judgement and vulgarity typify our words, we better stop and peek under the hood. Something is wrong.

I Say What I Think

A lady in a church far away once told me, “I’m just a country girl. I say what I think.” I concluded that is okay if what you think is worth saying. In her case, a lot of things that came out of her mouth caused confusion, hurt, and division.

Let’s try this for a day. Keep a diary of what you say (or what you would say if you weren’t keeping track of it and planning to study the results.)

Are you speaking well of others? Are you expressing faith or doubt? Do you praise God often during the day? Speak up for the Lord? Do your words encourage or discourage? Unite or divide? Any curses?

Do you discourage yourself with all your “poor mouthing” about yourself?

Is your mouth the exit point for a lot of “everything is going to the dogs,” “that fellow is just sorry, there’s no hope for him.” Are you “trash talking” or praising and lifting others with the product of your heart coming out of your mouth?

Do you speak in faith and give God the glory or do you whine like you didn’t have a powerful, living God?

Do the words you hear coming out of your own mouth encourage you or discourage you?

If the product is nasty, bring your heart before God and ask Him to cleanse it, to give it faith and courage, to fill it with patience for others and yourself.

“Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around,” says the old spiritual. And strangely, the heart bone’s connected to the mouth bone and when the connection functions the way it should, you don’t walk. You run!

illustration: dall-e


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