In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus paints this picture of the type of fruit that healthy vs unhealthy fruit trees produce. He draws upon this analogy to make us all aware that what comes out of us, reflects what is in our heart. And what Jesus is talking about coming out of us is our actions (what we spend time doing, what our priorities are for our time, money, and energy)… our words (the words we use in everyday conversation or heated arguments)… our thoughts we express… our attitudes we have towards other people and situations… and our emotions that often drive what we do (anger, jealousy, pride/ego, shame, bitterness). Matthew, in his Gospel, actually makes it very clear what Jesus says on this topic. In Matthew 15 Jesus has a whole discussion with the Pharisees and his disciples about what defiles a person. Does neglecting the ceremonial hand-washing before eating cause a man to be defiled spiritually? Jesus concludes by making his teaching clear:
…the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” (Matthew 15:18-20)
Jesus is talking about what’s in our heart. What comes out (or pops out) of the box of our heart, reveals who we are and what we’ve packed inside. That’s what Jesus means in Luke 6 when he says “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (v45) What comes out is what’s inside. In the NT Book of James, this brother of Jesus writes “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings… Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be… can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?” (James 3:9-10,12)
I think the question to ask ourselves is: what are we filling our hearts with? What’s really going into your heart? What are you really allowing to enter deep into your heart that shapes what you do, what you think, what you feel, what you express? What any of us produces from our inner storehouse, whether good or bad, depends on what it contains. Sometimes we experience such terribly traumatic things in our lives – like sexual abuse or physical or emotional abuse – and that leaves deep emotional scars on our heart. Those emotional scars are fertile soil where the devil’s lies are planted. These are things that happen TO us when we’re vulnerable. Those scars need healing, usually through counseling & the healing power of Jesus, to deliver you from the harm they’re causing, and neutralize the bad memories causing destructive patterns to pop out in your life. But… not everything that fills our heart comes from a traumatic experience. Most of the time we choose the things that fill our hearts. We intentionally pursue them.
Our heart is a jewelry box, a treasure chest. It can be a collection of beautiful, valuable, uplifting, encouraging thoughts, words, actions, attitudes and emotions. Or… it can be a storehouse of evil intent, negative thinking, cursing, foul-language, bitterness, anger, lust, controlling attitudes & actions, narcissism, selfishness, and the desire to make myself look better than you. We all know people who’s treasure chest is full of bad stuff like that because we hear it and see it and experience it over and over from them. It just pops out of them and spills all over you. But we can’t just point the finger and think of someone else. We’ve got to examine ourselves. We’ve got to do some self-evaluation, asking the Holy Spirit to shine light into the dark areas and replace all that is harmful, negative and sinful, with the good things from the Lord. What’s in your heart?