During World War II, I was a hospital attendant with the British Army in North Africa. At one time, I was appointed the NCO in charge of a small reception station in the desert that catered only to dysentery patients.
Each morning the doctor under whom I worked would summon me and we would go on rounds of our patients who were all lying there on stretchers right on the sand. I noticed that every morning the doctor always greeted each patient with the same two sentences. The first one was, "Good morning, how are you?" The second one was, "Show me your tongue."
It was not long before I realised that the doctor paid very little attention to the answer to his question, "How are you?" He always moved on immediately to the next question, "Show me your tongue." When the patient stuck his tongue out, the doctor looked very carefully at it. Then he formed his estimate of the patient’s condition—much more from looking at his tongue than from the answer the patient actually gave to the question, "How are you?"
That stuck with me, and later, as I moved on into the ministry, many times it occurred to me that God does much the same with us as that doctor did with his patients. God may ask us, "How are you?" and we may give Him an estimate of our condition. But I think the next thing that God says, metaphorically, is, "Show me your tongue." And when God looks at our tongues, then He forms His own estimate of our true spiritual condition. The state of your tongue is a very sure guide to your spiritual condition.
Now we will apply that from Scripture. Many passages establish the principle that there is a direct connection between the heart and the mouth. Jesus states in Matthew 12:33-37:
“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree rotten, and its fruit rotten; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers [He’s speaking to the religious leaders of His time], how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” (NAS)
Jesus here establishes the direct connection between the mouth and the heart using parabolic language. He refers to the heart as the tree and to the words that come out of the mouth as the fruit. And the kind of words that come out of your mouth will indicate the condition of your heart.
Dear Lord, I know You ask me to keep my tongue in check and to control my spirit and emotions. I thank You for Your Holy Spirit in me Who not only reminds me of this but also helps me, giving me grace. I pray Your Spirit may always flow through my mouth in the words that I say. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.