Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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The Power of Words, Day 2

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you . . . your tongue is a mirror into your heart.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So if I have a critical heart, what kinds of words are going to come out? Critical words. When I speak angry words, what does that tell you about my heart? It means I’ve got an angry heart.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

We’re returning to a series Nancy began yesterday called, "The Power of Words."

Nancy: The verse we’ve been meditating on and I’ve encouraged you to put in different places around your home is Proverbs 18:21. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We’ve seen that our words have power to wound and destroy or to heal and to build up.

Now, if we were just all the time speaking one of those sorts of words, it would be easy to figure it out. The problem is that out of the same mouth often come the kinds of words that heal and the kind of words that destroy and wound, which is why we need the Spirit of God to fill our hearts with His Word and His ways so that the words we speak will not be the foolish or the wounding or the deadly words.

One of the themes that comes through many times in the book of Proverbs is the connection of our words to our heart. In fact, I counted eleven verses—there may be more than that—where the word heart is in the same verse with the word lips or tongue or mouth. The connection is made over and over again.

The contrast, for example, in chapter 10, verse 20: “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is worth little.” The tongue is connected to the heart.

Proverbs 15:7: “The lips of the wise disperse [or spread] knowledge, but the heart of the foolish”—why doesn’t it say “the mouth of the foolish”?—“does not do so.” The contrast is between the lips of the wise and the heart of the foolish. Why? Because there’s a connection between what we say and what’s in our hearts.

In fact, as you go through the book of Proverbs—and I’m encouraging you to do your own study; I’m hoping just to whet your appetite for your own study on the book of Proverbs and its many references to the tongue—you’ll find that there are many places where we read about the mouth or the words of the wicked, or the mouth of the foolish.

Then there are other places where you read about the mouth or the tongue or the lips of the righteous, or the words of the pure or the tongue or the lips of the wise. What’s the connection there? The tongue reveals the condition of my heart. The words that I speak are a mirror into my heart.

The words come out. That’s what’s heard; that’s what’s evident. But they reveal what is not so evident until I speak the words, and that is the condition of my heart. So if I’m a foolish person, I’m going to speak foolish words. If I have a wicked heart, the words that come out of my mouth are going to be wicked words.

Hundreds of years ago Francis DeSalles said this: “Our words are a faithful index of the state of our souls.” So, you want to know what’s in your heart? Jesus said, “Out of the abundance [or overflow] of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

So if I have a critical heart, what kinds of words are going to come out? Critical words. If I have a mean-spirited heart, what kinds of words are going to come out of my mouth? Mean words, unkind words.

If I have a proud heart, I’m going to speak arrogant words. If I have an unloving heart, I’m going to speak unkind words. A self-centered heart is going to speak selfish words. And when I speak angry words, what does that tell you about my heart? It means I’ve got an angry heart.

If I speak profane words, what does that tell you about my heart? It’s profane. Impatient words come out of an impatient heart. Complaining words come out of a discontented heart. A heart that is selfish is going to talk about what? Self.

I can remember my dad telling us as we were growing up that one of the important things in conversation is not to talk about yourself. He said, “People want to talk about themselves. So ask questions that draw them out.”

As you think about the people you know who have a lot of friends, people that others want to be around, one of the things you’ll notice is that they talk about others. They ask questions about others. They’re not always talking about themselves.

I’m thinking of one Christian leader I know; I saw him just recently, and I made the comment after I left him . . . I’ve talked with him a handful of times over the years, and I said about this man who is the head of a ministry, one of the things I so appreciate about this man is that whenever you see him, he’s not telling you how he’s doing or how his ministry is doing.

He’s asking how you’re doing. He’s asking about your background and your friends and your life. This is a man whose words reveal that he has an unselfish heart. As a result, he’s an encourager. You want to be around him because there’s blessing and an overflow that comes out of that heart.

Now, we’ve seen that a wicked heart is going to produce wicked words. Conversely, if we have a pure heart, a righteous heart, the overflow is going to be words that are pure and righteous.

So if I have a loving heart, what kinds of words am I going to speak? Loving words. If I have a kind heart, I will speak kind words. If my heart is unselfish, as I saw in that Christian leader, I’m going to speak others-centered words.

If I have a humble heart, I’m not going to be saying arrogant things; I’m going to be saying humble things. I’m not going to be saying things that draw attention to myself or my accomplishments or what I’ve done. If I have a humble heart, I’m going to be lifting others up. I’ll have the attitude of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Where do those words come from? A humble heart. If I have a pure heart, I will speak pure words. If I speak words that are sensual or corrupt or ungodly words, I’m showing there’s a heart condition, that I’ve got a problem with my heart; my heart is corrupt, and that’s why I’m speaking corrupt words.

Proverbs talks about a gracious woman. If I have a gracious heart, I will speak gracious words. I think of some women I know who are just gracious people. When they open their mouths to speak, they’re encouragers. Some of you in this room are this way. I listen to you and I think, I’d like to be like that.

I’m not—I know you may think of me as being very outgoing and extraverted—but making conversation with people, especially that I don’t know, doesn’t come really easily for me. I would rather just kind of sit behind the scenes or in a corner and let other people carry the conversation. It takes effort for me to go out of myself and out of my way to speak words that are gracious and encouraging.

But I’m noticing that as God does a work in my heart, I’m filled in my heart with His Spirit and with His love and with His grace, then it’s not such an effort to speak words that reflect that heart.

If I have a grateful heart, what kind of words am I going to speak? Thankful words. A thankful heart produces thankful words. Again, you could think of people that you know—they can be in the midst of a really troubling situation, but they’re talking about the goodness of God and the faithfulness of God in the middle of what is a very difficult situation. They are saying thankful words because they have a thankful heart.

Some of you have been so gracious in expressing gratitude for what these sessions have meant to you, and you’ve taken time to stop and say, “Thank you for this teaching. Thank you for your ministry to me.” As I hear you express gratitude, I’m realizing that gratitude is flowing out of a grateful heart.

If you have a wise heart, you’re going to speak wise words. Now, the challenge is that I want to speak wise words, but I don’t always want to pay the price to get a heart of wisdom because it takes work and effort to fill my heart with God’s words so that I have wisdom inside of me that will come out in wise words.

I always have this mental image of what it means to be a wise, old lady, and I want to be that lady. I want to have that kind of wisdom, but I don’t always want to pay the price to get there, to have the kind of heart that is going to give out that kind of wisdom.

If I have an honest heart, I’m going to speak truthful words. If I’m speaking words that are deceptive or not true, it’s telling you something about my heart.

If I have a heart for God, a spiritually-minded heart, it’s not going to be difficult for me, in the course of everyday conversation, to talk about spiritual matters because out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

I know some people who have been in church forever, it seems—who are active in doing church work and doing various kinds of ministry—but you get them in conversation, and they can talk about everything except the Lord. It’s just difficult.

You don’t hear them talk about what God’s doing in their life or about what God’s been teaching them or what they’re learning about the heart and the ways of God. It’s like that’s a category of their lives that’s for church time, but it doesn’t affect the way they talk all the time.

I’m saying that shows something about the heart. If I can’t talk about the Lord in the course of conversation, it means that my heart is not as focused and set on the Lord as it needs to be; because if I have a heart for the things of God, I will be able to talk about the things of God.

So as we think about our words and our hearts, the words that we speak are really the thermometer of my heart. Those words don’t determine the temperature. The thermometer doesn’t determine the temperature; the thermometer just registers the temperature; and the words that I speak register the temperature, the condition, of my heart.

Now, we’d like to think that that is usually true, but not always. So we tend to trivialize, many times, the words that we say by saying things like this: “I really didn’t mean it. I couldn’t help it. It just came out.” "That’s not really true."

The fact is, I may have said it thoughtlessly or carelessly, but that too reveals something about my heart. If my words are uncontrolled and unrestrained, that says that I have a heart that’s not disciplined, that’s not restrained, that’s not under the control of the Holy Spirit. The fact is, what I say reveals what I mean.

So we want to just throw out these heated words, these damaging words, and then try and take them back and say, “I didn’t really mean that.” Well, I may be sorry I said it, but I’ve got to acknowledge that this is no trivial matter that I said this. Though it was thoughtless or careless, it revealed a condition of my heart that is serious; my heart had its temperature taken, and what registered was something that is not pleasing to the Lord.

So let me ask you this: What do your words reveal about your heart? And don’t just ask yourself that as we’re sitting in this room talking about . . . well, you’re sitting here listening, so nobody is sinning with their tongue right now. I’m the only one who has the possibility of doing that right this moment.

But as you go back into your home, as you go back into your workplace, as you get back on the telephone, as we carry on conversation as this session is finished (if anyone has the courage to carry on conversation after we finish talking about the tongue), ask, “What do my words reveal about the condition of my heart?”

Then if we want to change our words—and all of us have times when we so regret what we said. Someone was just sharing with me today how she regretted, as a young, angry mother, things she said to her daughter.

Now her daughter is grown, and she is still reaping the consequences in that relationship of things that she said as a young mother. She regrets those things; she wishes she could go back and take those words back and redo those conversations.

You can’t. But what you can do is let God search your heart now. If you want your words to change, it’s not enough to focus on changing your speech. What we really need is a heart change.

Some of us need major heart surgery; to say honestly before the Lord and maybe before another person, maybe before your mate who would help hold you accountable, “I realize that the words that I speak show that I’ve got some issues in my heart that are very serious. I’m seeing that those quick, thoughtless, careless, unrestrained, gossiping words reveal a condition of my heart that needs to be repented of.”

Now, I don’t want you to leave here feeling overwhelmed and like, “I’ll never open my mouth again because I just can’t say anything right.” What I do want you to do is to repent, to agree with God, to humble yourself, to acknowledge whatever God shows you about your heart, as I’m being forced to do about my own heart as I’m studying this.

Get before the Lord and say, “Lord, change my heart. Fill me with Your Spirit,” so that when I’m under pressure, when I’m speaking to those children, when I’m speaking to my mate, when I’m speaking to my coworkers, when I get on the phone in a conversation, what will come out will be the overflow of a pure heart, of a heart that is controlled by the Spirit of God.

Leslie: What do your words reveal about your heart? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has challenged you with that question today, and she’ll be right back. That message is part of a series called "The Power of Words."

For the next few minutes, we’ll hear from a woman who has undergone a major heart change, and her heart has greatly affected her tongue.

Debbie married a man who did everything thoughtfully and deliberately.

Debbie: He is a hard working man. He is a perfectionist. And as that, he wants everything done right the first time. 

Leslie: Debbie’s husband didn’t just work slowly and deliberately. He also spoke slowly and deliberately.

Debbie: He is a person who has to think very carefully about his responses.

Leslie: Now, Debbie was just the opposite.

Debbie: I’m a person who wants a quick response. I would rather do it myself than wait on someone else to do it. I'm very controlling, very type-A. I want it done. Let's get it out, let's get it open, let's get it over with, let's handle it and be done with it. 

Leslie: And these differences led to a lot of conflict.

Debbie: Our home had become a battlefield. I'm a screamer. I have no patience. He is a very quiet person and never speaks. He very seldom shares his emotions. Some of the very things that drew me to him were some of the things that began to take over and push me away from him. 

Leslie: When Debbie impatiently pushed for answers or communication, her husband just withdrew. Because he tackled things slowly and deliberately, Debbie took thing into her own hands.

Debbie: I took over everything that needed to be done. I just handled it without bothering him. As a result, that just pulled us further and further apart.

We reached a point where I said, "You do what you want to do, and me and the kids will do what we need to do." So we actually began living separate lives.

He saw that I would take care of things at home, so he would do things for other people. He began to be very good at helping anybody that wanted to be helped, except for those people who lived in his own home. He was needed by these other people, and he didn't feel needed at home.

We had been married nineteen years almost to the day when I asked him to move out.

Leslie: After Debbie asked her husband to move out of the house, she continued to pray that he would change. In her mind, the problem was all his.

Debbie: Because I was doing the right things. I was praying. I was taking the kids to church. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was praying that God would make him right, and that God would take care of him, and God would change him, and God would his heart, and God would change his job, and God would do this, and God would do that, but, hello? It wasn't just him. I needed a lot of fixing.

Leslie: It took about a year for Debbie to be convicted of this, and her prayer began to change.

Debbie: "It’s not him You need to fix, it's me You need to fix. And I have to understand that I have to wait on Your timing. And this is not something that is easy for me to do."

Leslie: As conviction grew in Debbie’s heart, she confessed her attitude to her kids.

Debbie: "Your mom was wrong. I asked your dad to move out of the house, and I was wrong. Now we just have to pray that God can fix it, because I can't."

Leslie: And then Debbie met with her husband at a restaurant.

Debbie: And I said, “God has been really working with few days. It's just been revealed to me that I've been wrong. I've been praying that God would change you and fix you, and He needed to change me and fix me. We love you. I want you at home, and I want our marriage to work. I believe God wants our marriage to work."

Leslie: For twenty years, Debbie had been in a habit of pressing her husband for decisions. But this conversation ended differently.

Debbie: And one of the hardest moves I've ever made was to get up and walk out of that restaurant and leave that for him to think about with no answer.

Leslie: In the meantime, a friend at church told Debbie about a 30-day challenge. Nancy DeMossWolgemuth has offered this challenge many times, and it’s the same challenge you’ll experience when you get a copy of the booklet 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. For a month, don’t say anything negative about your husband, to your husband or to someone else about your husband. And each day during that time, do one thing to encourage him.

Nancy from the 30-Day Challenge: Day one. Have you ever thanked your husband for choosing you above all other women?

Leslie: After reading this, Debbie sent her husband a text.

Debbie: "I don’t know if I’ve told you, I'm sure I have not, but I want to thank you for chosing me all those years ago."

Nancy: Though many circumstances in your marriage may have changed, let your husband know that you are glad that God led you together.

Debbie: "And I hope that you'd choose me again. I love you." That's all that I said.

Leslie: That night her husband moved back home after being out of the house for a year. So day one of the challenge was also day one of a new start in their marriage.

Debbie: I went through the thirty days, and every day was a real blessing. It not only encouraged him, it reminded me of the things I had loved about him to begin with.

Leslie: Following the suggestions in 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband had a big effect on Debbie, but it also had a big effect on her husband. This man who didn’t spend much time talking has opened up.

Debbie: It made him feel loved and respected and needed, and he responded to that. He doesn't feel that he's going to be attacked at every thing that comes out of his mouth.

Leslie: Debbie was surprised to hear her husband make a statement while in counseling.

Debbie: That I have been very encouraging since he has been back. When a wife is encouraging to her husband, it's easier for him to respond in a way that is loving and kind and also encouraging back to you.

The 30-day challenge for me did become a habit. I just can't put into words what meant to both of us.

Leslie: Like Debbie, I hope you’ll experience the power of encouragement, and learn to let the Lord control your tongue. To help you, we want to invite you to a 30-day challenge. Starting July 1, Revive Our Hearts will send you an email each day with a devotional thought about your words from Nancy or from Mary Kassian. She’s the author of a book called Conversation Peace.

When you’re signed up for this 30-day challenge, you’ll also have the chance to win some giveaways. You’ll get more out of this challenge when you sign up with a friend or a group. You’ll be able to discuss the daily devotional together and encourage each other in the challenge.

To sign up for the 30-day Power of Words Challenge, visit by June 30. Everyone will start the challenge together July 1. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Visit

Lying can be subtle. Identify sneaky ways the heart tries to deceive, tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is back with a final thought.

Nancy: How many of you would be honest enough to acknowledge that even over these last few moments, the Spirit of God has pointed His finger at your heart, and you have seen that there is an issue, maybe more than one issue, in your heart that needs to be repented of, and that your words are just a reflection, an expression, of what’s deep in your heart? You just want to ask the Lord to forgive you, to change your heart; you want to repent of whatever it is that He’s shown you that’s in your heart. You want God to change your heart in those specific areas, knowing that then the words that come out will be an expression of a pure heart.

If that’s true of you in some specific issue that we’ve addressed, or maybe something the Holy Spirit has poured out to you, would you just be honest enough to slip your hand up in the air? I want to pray for you, and pray for us, as most of our hands are in the air. Thank you for being honest. You can slip them down.

Lord, You see our hands, but more important than that, You see our hearts. We do lift up our hearts to You and confess that we want to justify and trivialize this so often, the things that we say.

But we come before You brokenly and humbly to say, “It’s our heart that is the issue,” and to plead with You to give us repentant hearts, to cleanse our hearts, to purify us, to fill our hearts with You and with Your Word so that what comes out of our mouths will be the fruit of Your Holy Spirit.

Change us, Lord. Change our hearts, and then change the way that we speak so that our words can bring glory to You. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you weigh your words. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.


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About the Teachers

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.