Beneath The Soil
Posted by Karen Kinnaird, October 25, 2023
Are you minding your mouth? Do you gossip? Talk too much? Catch yourself complaining? Too often, I sense conviction the moment something comes out of my mouth! The Bible sets a very high standard for our speech and teaches that how we use our tongues, whether for good or evil, affects our entire life.
In the book Conversation Peace, author Mary Kassian shares the story of her sick African violet. The leaves were dark, curled and jelly-like. The flowers had died. Assuming insects were to blame, she sprayed the plant with bug killer. A few days later, the violet looked worse. It was her mother who quickly diagnosed the problem - root rot. Root rot is caused by fungi that infest the soil and attack the roots of plants. As the disease progresses, the leaves begin to rot. Kassian had an inverted perspective on what was causing the problem. Thinking the problem was the leaves, it was the roots.
We too can have an inverted perspective on our words. We may think the words coming out of our mouths are to blame when it’s the heart buried underneath that contains the root of contamination. The flow of contamination goes from the heart to the mouth. Communication problems are truly spiritual problems requiring spiritual solutions. Fortunately, we don’t have to muster up the effort to attain godly speech in our own strength. The good news is our speech can be transformed by relying on God’s power to transform our hearts from the inside out.
...for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34
In the book Faithful, Kelly Minter writes, “God does so much of His best work beneath the soil.” The soil of our hearts must be filled with the truth of God and His Word. What’s underneath the surface will eventually come up - in one way or another. James 1 says “Humbly accept the Word planted in us and if we have the Word in us and obey it, we’ll be blessed. It’s the Word that produces right living and right speech.”
One of my favorite teachings of Conversation Peace is the P-4-8 test. Kassian teaches that Philippians 4:8 can be used as a filter to test the goodness of the seeds of thoughts, beliefs, and words. Are the seeds pure, right, admirable, and true? After shaking them through the P-4-8 filter, should they be thrown out or planted?
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Allowing God to transform the quiet hidden place of our hearts is a life-long process.
But, what a gift! We’ll find ourselves being quick to listen, pacing ourselves when we speak, and only speaking what builds each other up. Let's be mature believers and allow God’s Word to do its transforming work deep in our hearts.
“If we sow excellent seeds into our hearts, we will reap a harvest of excellence from our lips. The more generously we sow, the more generously we reap.” (Mary Kassian)
Karen Kinnaird brings the vast experience of having served as a ministry wife for nearly 38 years. Her husband has served as a church planter, senior pastor, state denominational leader, agency specialist at NAMB, and Associational Missionary Strategist. Karen currently serves as the Executive Assistant for Forgiving Forward, a ministry dedicated to helping people experience the freedom of the Gospel through the power of forgiveness. Karen and Jimmy, also known as Gigi and Poppy, have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.