Saturday, July 18, 2009

Motives: Where Do They Come From (and Lead Us)? – Proverbs 18

The heart is the seat of the intentions, as Jesus says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in them, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in them” –Matthew 12:34b-35 (TNIV). Chapter 27 of Proverbs has a series of proverbs (vs. 17-21) on the heart and its function in motivation, but Proverbs 18 also proposes this as a broad theme, connecting heart and tongue.

Our words, then, are based from the depth of our deep souls at times, hardly discernible even at a personal level, especially when we try and recall why we did certain things (v. 4). The opposite is a flowing stream or a “bubbling brook,” which relates to the life-blood of wisdom--the invigorating, incisive nature of living truthfully i.e. wisely, though it is equally difficult to explain.
Words also, when we listen to them and absorb them, go down to our ‘innermost parts’ (v. 8) entering that heart level that defeats understanding.

When it’s gossip we’re listening to it reveals two things: 1) we listen due to the fact that our hearts are hungry for ‘choice morsels’ of basically seditious information, and 2) the attention we give to this talk means both the motive and information propagate inside our hearts, making us even hungrier for the choicest morsels!

Alternatively, when we devote ourselves to meditating on the things of God (Psalm 1:1-3), or dealing in only good information (limiting our exposure to gossip), this [good] information and our thinking filters down to the heart, also in ways we cannot explain, and good propagates. (Is there a relationship here to the television we watch and the music/radio we listen to? Does Media count?)

What we consistently sow thought-wise we reap.

Is there, then, a connection between the tongue and the reapings of life?

“From the fruit of their mouths people’s stomachs are filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” –Proverbs 18:20-21 (TNIV).
The tongue and the heart are intrinsically linked. We can’t spray words recklessly and expect to be respected as having a moral heart. That thinking is nonsensical. Good, wholesome words, on the other hand, satisfy--and not just ourselves--others too. What we say has a habit of affecting our fate.

There’s an even more dramatic message. What we say and how we say it seems to have a direct affect on how we’re fed i.e. how much we succeed materially in life.

It simply brings us back to Jesus’ words in Matthew 12. We’re best advised to ensure the right things enter our hearts whilst we carefully monitor and bar, where possible, the entry of ‘choice morsels.’

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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