Living the Resurrected Life: The Testimony Part 4 The Voice of Power the Tongue - David Mitts
We live in extremely perilous times. What marks them as such is the delusions and divisions that are represented as truth in our world. Yeshua declared that such times would immediately precede His return.
“And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. “And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. “But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:10-14)
Betrayal, hatred, deceptions, lawlessness, and coldness of love. These are the challenges we face today. Yeshua admonishes us to endure and to preach the “gospel of the kingdom” as a testimony to all the nations or ethnos. The word testimony in these verses should give us a signal that this is essential to our overcoming in these hours.
I was challenged recently by a word that I heard to rethink what I was thinking about what the vengeance of the Lord truly was. The minister suggested that God’s true vengeance was when a person who was bent on evil was turned to good. He used the example of the murderous Apostle Paul who presided over the stoning of Stephen and then was dramatically converted on the road to Damascus and became one of the major influences for the “gospel of the kingdom”.
Paul was an agent of darkness. He was by his own admission, the height of religious hypocrisy, what he called a pharisee of pharisees:
although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. (Php 3:4-6)
In this way, Paul accrued judgement to himself. He, through his zeal persecuted the church. In this way he set himself as an enemy of the gospel of the kingdom. God’s vengeance in our thinking would have been to give Paul cancer or strike him with boils or leprosy or some other malady. This is how we think. We think that vengeance should be destructive because our thoughts of vengeance are destructive. Yet God who says that mercy triumphs over judgment has a different perspective. God is ultimately and totally a God of love. He is the ultimate sentimentalist. He is always and forever pulling for love to carry the day. He is always for restoration, for healing, eternally merciful.
For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy, mercy triumphs over judgment. (Jas 2:13)
You see Satan is the accuser of the brethren. This means he operates in the realm of failures and judgments. In this realm legalism rules the day. In this realm God is portrayed as full of rage for the failures, the sin of man. In this Paul should have been stoned. Yet the destiny of Paul was to evangelize the gentiles. To reach this place he has to be broken and, in this place, true repentance could occur, and a new life arose out of the ashes.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Php 3:7-11)
If you read these words carefully, you see the true new covenant vengeance of God. The first step is a new value system. All the things that were symbols of worldly victory, pedigree, education, and worldly pursuits were to Paul as rubbish. This statement is more than a comparison of the things of Paul’s life but points to how he “knew” himself. He says that his former identifying trademarks were as trash compared to being found in Christ. He says that in this new covenant reality, he experiences righteousness, being declared to have integrity with his God-ordained purpose. Paul sees himself release from the performance-based righteousness derived from the perspective of the standards of the law. Instead, he has made the leap of surrender into faith, or trusting God for his righteousness.
This transformation redefines Paul’s being. He is truly a new creation that has been set free from the identity and destiny of performance and striving to be good enough in the world’s system. This re-identification in Christ, translates Paul from the kingdom authority of this world into the authority of the kingdom of God. In that reality, he no longer lives for himself, trying to prove his worth and causing harm and devastation in the process. Now in the new reality Paul is one with Messiah, in suffering, death and resurrection. This is a true expression of the new covenant. Can you hear the wedding vows? In sickness and in health till and beyond death, an eternal marriage that transforms us.
This is the true vengeance of God, to translate us.
In that place there is anew confession with our tongue. Now, we can speak words that are empowered by our new heart.
The first expression of the transformed heart is a changed conversation. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Is this an automatic? No. Certainly not. We can still choose the conversation of the world. God always gives us a choice. James tells us this:
For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (Jas 3:2 NASB)
James admits, we all stumble. Then he defines stumbling by what we say. He even goes so far as to say that our entire body is affected by what we say. James goes on to explain in depth:
Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can saltwater produce fresh. (Jas 3:3-12 NASB)
The imagery here is so powerful. Comparing our speech and choice of words to the rudder of a ship or the bit in a horse’s mouth reveals how life impacting our conversation can be. Perhaps the most descriptive, though, is the recognition that we have choice in what we speak about. We can choose sweet water or bitter water. We can bless or curse. James proclaims that this shouldn’t be this way. Yet this is the way God made us intentionally. Our ability to choose is where God can be expressed in our lives.
Solomon tells us:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Pro 18:21 NASB)
We need to focus on our speech because it will source the fruit in our lives, which is the material of our testimony.
Yeshua tells us:
"For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. "For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:43-45 NASB)
There is a connection between the treasure in our heart and what comes out of our mouth. Clearly, the Lord is telling us that our testimony, our confession is based on what we have treasured in our heart. The question then becomes how do we impact the treasure in our heart?
The Lord gives us a clue when He says:
"And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luk 12:29-34 NASB)
We will be attacked by the accuser in the area of our provision. We are already seeing this with the vaccine mandates. The threat of comply or lose your job is a strategy out of satan’s playbook. The real focus is on our testimony. If Satan can steal our heart treasure, he can steal our testimony. This is the hour to overcome by trusting anew in the provision of the Lord and aligning our confession with that provision!
Activation: alignment of the heart with our future. Writing a letter from our future. Write yourself a letter a year from now. Congratulate your self in a great year of accomplishment! Acknowledge the difficulties but celebrate the victories.