Cleansing and Healing the Tongue

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The prophet Isaiah provides us with an example of how we can heal our tongue.

1. Isaiah drew near to the Lord and prayed for a vision of God’s holiness. “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1, NKJV).

Anyone who wants to live a life that pleases God must constantly go into his presence until he sees God’s holiness. All healing, true blessings and victories begin at his throne. That is where we see God in his holiness!

2. While standing in God’s holy presence, Isaiah was deeply convicted for having unclean lips. “Then I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts’” (Isaiah 6:5).

Why did Isaiah cry out, “I am a man of unclean lips”? It was because he had seen the king of glory. God’s presence exposes everything that is unlike him.

3. Isaiah allowed the Lord to touch him and cleanse him with his sacred fire. “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged’” (Isaiah 6:6-7).

God’s Word is a live coal, and the Holy Spirit is its fire. Right now you have been touched by the Holy Spirit through this message, and God wants to purify you with its flame. He can do it if you will let his Word reach your innermost being. He is the only one who can do it. Your part is simply to confess, as Isaiah did, “Woe is me, I am unclean.”

I pray that the power of God’s Word will touch and purify you. Confess, “Yes, it is me, Lord; I will not let this conviction pass me by. Cleanse my mouth and my heart.”

The Careless Words We Speak

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37, NKJV).

We seem to think our words simply fall to the ground and die or vanish into thin air and dissolve into nothingness. Not so! Our words live on; they do not die.

You may say, “But I only told this gossip to one friend, and they promised never to repeat it. It will end with them.” No, it will not. Every single word you and I utter is recorded and written down in eternity. We will hear them all repeated to us at the judgment.

I recall coming under deep conviction after sharing a vicious bit of gossip with a friend. What I said was indeed true. It was about a moral situation I’d had to deal with concerning a minister. His name came up in the conversation, and I said, “Don’t trust him. I know something about him.”

Even as I mouthed off, I felt condemned. The Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Stop right there. Nobody needs to know that. Don’t say more because there’s no purpose to it. Even though it’s true, don’t repeat it!”

What I had already said was bad enough, but then I blurted out the lurid details. I knew I should have been quiet; and sure enough, I was deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit. Later, I called my friend and said, “I’m sorry. That was gossip. I was out of order. Please don’t repeat it. Try not to even think about it.”

Is my sin covered by the blood of Jesus? Yes, because I fully acknowledged that I had sinned, and I allowed the Holy Spirit to show me some of the legalistic pride left in me. I allowed him to humble me and heal me.

Now, whenever I begin to say something against somebody, I obey the Holy Spirit as I hear him say, loud and clear, “Stop!”

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Whenever I said something naughty as a child, my mother washed out my mouth with soap. It was not my mouth that needed cleansing, though; it was my heart! You see, your tongue speaks what is already in your heart. Those are the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he says that loose, careless, evil talk can come only from an unclean heart.

As believers, we have not taken seriously what our Lord said about taming our tongues. He has made it a heart issue. Not only does my careless tongue discount all my spirituality, but it also reveals to me that my heart is unclean.

If I gossip, tell off-color jokes, run down other people, raise my voice and scream at my family, I must ask myself, “What unclean, filthy stuff is still stored up in me that I could speak this way?”

I must examine my heart and ask, “Where does this come from? There must be something I haven’t dealt with, or I wouldn’t be saying such things. Why do I go on gossiping? Why do I utter mean, careless words? What unsanctified strongholds still exist in my heart?”

Jesus gave this matter serious weight. “How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35, NKJV). Jesus was saying, “If you are careless with your tongue—quarreling, complaining, murmuring, tattling—you have a serious heart problem, and it goes very deep.”

Whenever I allow something unclean to come out of my lips, I must stop and say to the Lord, “Master, there must still be a root of sin in my heart. Dig deep into my heart and pluck out the roots of bitterness, pride, jealousy or whatever it is.” God wants to help you deal with every sin that pulls you into its grip. All you have to do is ask him; he will root it out and heal you completely.

Loving God with All Your Strength

Gary Wilkerson

Many people grew up hearing teaching on the verse that says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little” (1 Timothy 4:8, KJV). This phrasing was often interpreted to mean that taking good care of one’s physical health was at the bottom of the list in terms of overall well-being.

However, let’s take a closer look. In this epistle, the church was being established. Paul was constantly on the move, laying the foundation and raising up leaders. He had placed young Timothy in charge of the Ephesus church. Timothy had his hands full with teaching, refereeing doctrinal differences and developing other leaders. Paul was encouraging Timothy in his difficult task of dealing with these practical issues.

The point of verse eight is simply to remind the faithful that our spirits live on, therefore spiritual health is paramount. However, Paul wasn’t demoting physical health to a footnote. In fact, he promoted holistic health throughout his epistles. He was saying, “Timothy, make sure you teach them how to keep their priorities straight and live a balanced life.”

Physical health is a key part of that balance, and the facts should give us pause. In many countries, large population groups live sedentary lives. Since COVID-19, remote schedules are becoming the workplace norm; employees can sit at home and do a full day’s work practically without moving. Today, you can obtain a university degree online and have your groceries delivered while you study. 

All of this, however, comes at a price. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that more than 42 percent of American adults are obese. David Bush, author of The Body Gospel, says that obesity is 10 percent higher in the church.

Our physical vigor impacts our spiritual walk. Prayer, fasting and all manner of spiritual disciplines require energy. If our bodies aren't cooperating, we may miss out on opportunities to enhance our spiritual growth. Frankly assessing our physical health, and taking the steps we can to improve it, expands our ability to serve.

Bush says it well: “I want to be able to enjoy more of God, and I can do that when I'm eating right and exercising and I'm at a healthy weight. I want to be able to love on my family as well as strangers who need the Lord. I want to be able to engage them at their point of need. I do that better when my physical body is under control.”

How Do We Become ‘Good Soil’?

John Bailey

In Matthew 13, Jesus shares the well-known parable of the sower. The seed is the unchanging Word of God from heaven. The culture and values of this world are constantly changing from culture to culture and generation to generation, but the Word of God is eternal. The seed sometimes falls by the wayside in stony places or thorns, and it never produces a harvest.

The seed that produces a harvest is the seed that goes into fertile soil. There, the Word goes deep, the roots go deep, and the fruit multiplies.

Of course, the sower and the seed are critical. However, the Word can be proclaimed in truth; but if the soil is not able to receive the Word, there will never be thirty-, sixty- and hundred-fold harvests. After the parable of the sower and the parable of the weeds, Jesus bluntly told his disciples, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age….The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace…. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:37-39,41-43, ESV).

Individuals can show up every week to church; they can hear biblical messages delivered by men of God, but if the soil of the heart is not soft, tender and able to receive the Word, there will never be the fruit of a changed life.

What creates good soil in a heart is a culture of repentance. Sadly, that element is often lacking in the Western church and many other places in the days we live. As believers, it is vital that we cultivate an atmosphere of humility, sincere desire for God’s Word and an awe of his presence so that the soil will be soft. The Old Testament prophets cry out “Break up the fallow ground” (see Hosea 10:12; Jeremiah 4:3). It is in proper soil that God can produce supernatural results. A culture of repentance will create soil that can receive the Word and produce eternal fruit.

John Bailey is the Vice President of World Challenge Inc. and the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. John has been serving the Lord in pastoral ministry for 35 years, ministering the gospel in over 50 nations, particularly as a pastor and evangelist in Cork, Ireland.