I have times when I’m quiet and I have times when I talk a lot. It depends on my mood. It depends on if I’m in a large group or with a small group of close friends. Sometimes I feel like talking, sometimes I don’t.
There are times I wish I had words or the right words. Times that I want to reach out to someone else and I feel helpless or clueless. There are times that the words I’ve spoken, leave me cringing later, wondering what I was thinking.
I’ve had times when there were walls that I didn’t know how to scale. Walls that left me wishing for the perfectly placed comment that would at least cause a crack.
I’ve stood in awe of other people that always seem to know exactly what to say and when to say it and the way in which to present it. I’ve heard people voice their opinions in a charming and disarming way and I’ve compared it to myself, knowing if I would try, it would come out in such a jumble and mumble and heap, bringing with it a whole new mountain, instead of chipping away at the situation at hand.
One time, in my childhood, I remember listening to my dad talk about the tongue and give an illustration from James. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” My dad began to describe a fountain. I think he may have named a particular fountain, but that part of the memory escapes me. He described the water hurtling up out of the fountain hundreds of feet into the air, sunlight catching in the silvery spray, drops of water misting in the air, wonderful and fresh, a thing of absolute, breath-taking beauty.
As you stand there gazing at the fountain, taking in its beauty, snapping photos, suddenly something happens. Instead of fresh, mouth-watering, thirst-quenching, sunlight-catching, beautiful water, it becomes black. Black and ugly, too dark to reflect any sunlight, putrid and stinking. The beauty is gone as this blackness emits itself from the depth of the very same fountain. The happy onlookers step back quickly wanting to avoid any overspray. Cameras disappear and the crowd disperses rapidly. There’s just not much of a drawing to a fountain that is stinking and black and there isn’t any beauty to be found.
The pump mechanism and the jets and whatever it takes to create a fountain hadn’t changed, but what was inside of it and being spewed forth had changed drastically.
Too often, I am this fountain.
I read God’s word. I learn His word. His spirit flows through me and my words come out sparkling and sweet and beautiful. My family is drawn to me. I laugh and share with my friends. I reach out to others. Just like a fountain, the water of my words flow back inside of me to be recycled and pumped again.
Self shows up. Satan shows up. Black and ugly and putrid. Words leap from me, from inside me. Words of impatience. Unkindness. Demands for my own way. Words that cut down instead of build up. Bitter words.
The kind of stuff that makes crowds disappear. Moods and ugliness that repel instead of draw. Attitudes that hurt my family.
I am this fountain.
BUT, James says this SHOULD NOT BE. A salt spring cannot produce fresh water.
I want to be the fresh water spring and yet how easily I forget and I seem to start to think that a salt spring can produce fresh water. It can’t.
I don’t have an easy solution or a fix all to keep my fountain from malfunctioning. I wish I did. Sometimes I want to lay down on the floor and beat it with my hands because I despair and I’ve turned into that black, harsh, ugly fountain again. The one that cannot produce fresh water.
I do know the only solution. It doesn’t keep the blackness of this flesh, that we are in warfare against, from never reappearing, but He pulls you out of it and He dusts you off. The Repairman. When I call out to Him in repentance and regret, He always comes. He rummages in His tools and He finds grace and He covers me with it. Grace runs down and it removes the blackness and I am fresh again. Ready to work the way He wants me too. Without Him, there is no hope of being the beautiful fountain that I deeply desire to be.James 3:9-12 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
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