In Matthew 12:33-37 God gives us an amazing way to gauge the condition of our hearts. What is that gauge? It is the words that come out of our mouths.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasures brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures brings forth evil.” Matthew 12:34b-35a
God is purifying the treasures in our hearts. He is cleansing His people of the mixture of good and evil— because as we know, a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf. Or a little evil contaminates the whole heart.
As God’s children, we long to have clean hands and pure hearts. So God, in His great kindness and mercy, is purifying the hearts of His people so that there we will not be contaminated by things that compromise purity and goodness. He is inviting us to come before Him and allow our hearts to be washed from all impurities that remain in us.
One thing that I find very helpful is to pay attention to my thoughts first. What do I dwell on? Do I dwell on thankfulness? Is my mind filled with thoughts of good toward others and believing the best? Do I find beauty quicker than what has clouded beauty? Or do I obsessively dwell on negative thoughts leading to believing the worst in others and seeing what appears ugly.
We all have times that challenge our hearts and threaten to destroy the goodness and fruit that had been growing there. The enemy prays upon those going through difficult seasons. He will release little foxes to run through the pathways of our thoughts and hearts (and words) in order to ruin and rot the tender fruit growing there. Often these hard seasons begin with a loss, a heartbreak, disappointments, a trauma or merely loneliness. If we don’t properly address the situation and pain with the Lord and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with those near to us, we can find our heart’s harvest at risk.
Trauma, pain, suffering and loss can become doorways to our hearts. They can either lead us to encounter the Lord of comfort and peace which brings healing and wholeness or they can open the door to offense, isolation, vain imaginations and accusations. Remember, the enemy wants to release little foxes in the the vineyard of our hearts that will spoil the tender fruit on the vine.
“Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 2:15-17
Our Beloved Jesus feeds us among the lilies. Lilies are summer flowers and this is where He leads those who have gone through a winter season of grief and pain. He is calling to those whose hearts have faced the barrenness of winter to come with Him into the new season of healing and warmth— the place where blossoms appear once again. He will call to you to come out of the “winter of your soul” so that your heart does not become frozen and cease to bear fruit. Come to where He feeds His flocks among the lilies— a place of summer and fruitfulness.
“The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." Song of Solomon 2:11-13
How are the fruit of our words and a winter season connected? They are so closely connected and we must be aware that what our hearts experience and how we walk through those experiences (especially the hard ones), will always affect our heart’s condition. If we do not let the Lord take us to the place where we allow Him to “feed us among the lilies” then we will feed upon the pain and feel the thorns. Our thoughts will become fixated on negative things, and then we will find that as we open our mouths— thorns come forth. It may not be intentional or your desire— but undealt with pain is like an invitation for the release of those little foxes that come to spoil the tender blossoms in your life. God is not angry— He is merely inviting you to “Come yonder with Him…to feed among the lilies and allow your heart to be healed.”
This is why I watch and listen to my own thoughts— and my words. They are a gauge to measure the condition of my heart. When they become negative or obsessive about something negative, I know that I must allow my Beloved to take me through that door of hope, among the lilies, to feed me with His love, His truth, His comfort and let me sit in the garden of His bounty. It is there that fruit comes forth once again and my pain is turned into joy.
“…to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
A person can only live with a spirit of heaviness for a short time before it weighs them down and begins to spoil the good fruit in their lives. If we do not allow the Lord to exchange the ashes, the mourning and the heaviness with beauty, joy and praise we will find that our hearts will be become unfruitful and thorns will appear. Soon after, our words will have thorns that bring harm and pain to others.
As we enter the last month of 2023– let us stop and go before the Lord, asking Him to take us and feed us among the lilies where we can be healed of any trauma, pain or loss that this year may have wounded our hearts with. Ask Him to wash you of every thought and every word that spoils the fruit of your life. Ask Him to forgive you for any thorns that have wounded those around you. And sit before Him and let Him feed you with His bounty that heals. Receive His comfort, His light, His warmth, His mercy, His forgiveness, His healing and His love.
Begin 2024 with a heart that is healed and words that flow like honey from your lips. If you do this, it will be a fruitful year that adorns your life with beauty, joy and praise.
Let us finish this year whole and enter the new year feeding with our Beloved among the lilies!
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