In Luke 22, we read about Jesus' arrest at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Peter is in the courtyard of the high priest, awaiting news of his fate. Being a stranger there, a servant girl points to Peter and says, “This man was with him.” Peter immediately denies it. He is asked a second time, and again he denies it. About an hour later, another person asserts, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” As Peter denies it for a third time, a rooster starts to crow, reminding Peter of Jesus’ words to him earlier that evening.
How did that person know Peter was a Galilean? Did Galilean’s look different from other Israelites? Did they dress a certain way? Was he wearing a jersey of his favorite Galilean sports team? No, of course not. Matthew helps us to answer this question. In Matthew 26:73, it says the people said to him, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Aha! That explains it. It’s hard to cover up your accent. Whenever I enter a store or meet someone on the street, people think I am an Italian. That is, until I open my mouth. My accent betrays me every time. The natives can not only tell I am an American, but some can even figure out that I am a New Yorker.
People will recognize us by our speech. Sometimes they recognize us by our accents. But always, they recognize us by WHAT we say.
Jesus taught us this in Luke 6:45, when he said “…out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.” What comes out of our mouth is important. Is it a good, encouraging word, or a criticism? Optimism or pessimism? Praise to God or cursing of people? James tells us that, for a Christian, both types of speech should not come out of our mouths. Salt water and fresh water cannot flow out of the same source.
Jesus is right, of course: what is in our hearts will come out of our mouths. So, we need to make sure that our hearts are filled with good things. What things? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Sound familiar? These are the fruits of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22. As we invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and fill us to overflowing, these fruits will manifest themselves in our lives. We don’t have to put on a "mask". We don’t have to “pretend” to be spiritual. If the Spirit of Christ dwells within us, we will bear these fruits. If we are full of the Spirit of God, He will fill our hearts so that, when we open our mouths, it will be evident that we are Christians.
So, what is coming out of your mouth? Judge for yourself and decide if you need more of Jesus in your life.