Spiritual Dipsticks

A few days ago, I wanted to check the oil in my wife’s car. We were getting ready to travel out of town and I knew we were getting close to needing the oil changed so I simply wanted to make sure we were good to go. So, I opened the hood and checked the dipstick.

Now here is a dumb, simple question. Why did I do that? Why did I check the dipstick to gauge how much oil was present in the engine?

Obviously because I can’t see into the engine right? I don’t have awesome superhero abilities, so I had to use something to measure what was really going on inside an engine that I could not physically see into.

We have to do stuff like this all of the time in a physical sense.

But for us spiritual types…wouldn’t it be nice if we had a spiritual dipstick? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have something we could look at that would give us an indication about what is going on way down deep inside? Something tangible that would give us an indication when things maybe are not as healthy spiritually as we would desire for them to be. We have been given just that…check out these verses:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 ESV)

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. (Matthew 15:18 ESV)

Our language and words are our spiritual dipstick. The bible teaches us that if we pay close attention to the things we say, then we can have a good indication of what is in our heart.

My spiritual health is reflected in the words I say. Now, to be clear, we all occasionally say things in a moment of spontaneity that we do not truly mean! It would be unfair to judge our spiritual health simply on one particular thing we said in a moment of frustration…I believe that is just a sign of our general brokenness as fallen creatures. We all will sin with our lips at some point of time. What I think is meant here, and certainly is my intention, is that our “patterns” of speech can reveal to us much about our spiritual health if we are willing to reflect on them.

Here are some helpful questions to ask:

Is my language often filled with encouraging words of affirmation and grace to those around me or am I often critical, condescending and harsh?

Are my words filled with optimism and trust in God or are they generally pessimistic and negative?

Do my words reflect the realities of the gospel in my own life or are they often judgemental in tone?

Am I whiny? Or filled with praise?

Do my words reveal a fearful heart or a faithful heart?

It would be helpful for those concerned about their spiritual health to ask themselves questions like these and many others. Take some time to reflect on your speech and have an honest conversation with yourself about yourself. If possible, talk to a trusted friend and ask them to give you feedback on your speech because sometimes we are unable to see things in us that other people see clearly. It may be worth your time to ask someone. If you find out something about yourself you don’t like, try not to beat yourself up with guilt too bad. Remember that we are all on a journey and none of us have arrived. Allow the realities you find to push you ever more into the glorious gospel of Christ. We are all in desperate need of grace every day, every hour. If your language gives you evidence of an unhealthy spiritual condition, consider yourself blessed that it has been revealed to you and that it has been shown to you so you would draw closer to Him. God and the glorious gospel of grace He extends is the only true source of healing to be found for the sickness in our hearts. God can certainly change our hearts and in turn change our words.

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