Author's note: Today's post is to share a little of what has been convicting me over the past month. It's from a verse that I have known for a long time, except it never really "got to me" until I recently read it within the New Living Translation. It is summer time too, and I admit that my brain gets a bit scattered in summer, as my family is not on its regular schedule, and I have less scheduled time to write. I think this post is reflecting some of my mind-scatter too. Enjoy!
I was reading the Bible a few weeks ago, and a verse popped out at me which has been poking on my heart ever since.
The verse is Luke 6:45. But let's look at it first in the NIV:
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
That's the version we used in my church in the 90's. It's a little formal in the way it is written. I'm a bit of a grammar enthusiast, so I noticed that the sentence in this verse starts with a preposition and also ends with a preposition. For me, the structure of the verse is interesting, but those prepositions are a bit of a distraction from the meaning of the verse.
So, now lets look at the KJV:
...for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
That's even more formal, of course. It starts with a preposition also, but then ends with the ever so formal word, speaketh. It's the formal language of the 1600's. I do like it. I still love the word "shall," by the way, and I still use the word "shall" a lot, in sort of a fun loving manner. Shall we go out for dinner? Today, I shall do some laundry. What shall we do this morning? I think we shall take the dogs for a walk together. I admit that I'm peculiar. I love the word shall, and I have definitely not retired it from my everyday vocabulary. I usually reserve it for use at home with my family, of course. My family members are used to it, and they often tune out much of what I say, anyway. I like the formality of the KJV. When I was elementary school age, we memorized all our weekly memory verses in the KJV. Still, in this version, I again get distracted by the formality of the wording. This verse worded this way doesn't quite stir my spirit, yet.
Let's look at one more translation:
What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Ouch. That one pinched me right in the heart. That is direct and to the point. That is Jesus speaking directly to me in Luke 6:45! When I read Jesus' words in that translation, I know it is truth, and that should be Truth with a capital T. Ouch!
What I say flows from what is in my heart? I can't just blame it on my current situation? I can't just blame it on being tired, or on merely having a bad day? I can't blame it on the person who provoked me, maybe even intentionally provoked me? My critical words didn't come from any of those circumstances? It's a spiritual problem? A spiritual heart problem? My spiritual heart problem?
That is personal! That really pinches!
What you say also flows from what is in your heart, too. Do you feel pinched now, too? Now you and I shall both feel the twinge of conviction, together.
That particular phrasing of Luke 6:45 is from the New Living Translation (NLT). I started doing my regular Bible reading in both the ESV and the NLT recently, and I have decided that I would like to read the whole Bible through again in the NLT translation. This translation is actually a good, modern translation, according to most Biblical scholars. It's not just a paraphrase like it was in the original Living Bible published in 1971.
Reading from the NLT has revitalized my Bible study, and I've been able to more easily go to a "deeper level" of understanding in the scriptures without getting caught up in the peculiar grammar of some of the earlier translations. As I read the NLT, I notice a lot of verses popping out at me that I never really noticed that much before. In other words, a whole lot of verses are pinching me in ways they haven't done so before! I shall have to do something about that!
I actually like it when a Bible verses "pinches" me. Do you? In the past, I might have felt guilty, as if I could never change such deeply ingrained habits. However, now I see it as an opportunity -- an opportunity to grow my relationship with God and get even closer to Him. That's part of what occurs in the process of sanctification.
Sanctification is the process by which God reveals to you areas you need to change in your life, in order to live more in line with His will and purposes. When you recognize these areas and you genuinely desire to change, He, through His Spirit, draws closer to you and helps you. These "pinchy verses" are used by God to help me see areas in my life for which I need to ask His help to improve. The benefit is that throughout it all, I am able to grow closer to Him. That is what I really want: to be closer to Him. It's worth going through the "spiritual pinches" when the result is being closer to Him.
For the next several weeks, I am going to do my best to keep this verse at the forefront of my mind. I am going to tackle a new project: monitoring my words with my family and friends, and checking those words to help determine the true status of my heart. If I'm honest, I have many days where my words indicate I have a sick spiritual heart surrounding certain issues. I don't want a sick spiritual heart. I want a heart that flows from a reservoir of love and understanding. A reservoir that is filled by His words and truth. I want a patient heart. I want a heart of kindness, not a heart that is mostly healthy with splotches of dark, unhealthy spots. I want a heart that inspires and encourages, not one that criticizes or wounds.
After reading Luke 6 in the NLT, I realize this: my words flow out of me as if they come from a water hose that is attached to the spigot of my heart.
Now that is an image that makes it real. Real pinchy. It stings.
What do the words that I say throughout the day reflect about the status of my heart?
What do the words you say throughout the day reflect about the status of your heart?
Ask God to help you keep this heart crisis at the forefront of your mind; ask Him to help you monitor your heart talk.
Do you have any verses that really "pinch you?"
Please feel free to share in the comments or on my facebook page here.
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