“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
A few years ago I had a continuing dialog with an old friend about his heart. He had been convinced by fundamentalist teaching that his heart was desperately wicked. It took me several sessions to help him understand that his problem was not his heart but his flesh - not the innermost being but the outer one. It is a problem that many have because of bad teaching. In truth, we who have been born of the Spirit were given new hearts by God.
In these few sentences Jesus speaks to this very issue of the inner person exercising control over the outer one. He says that the condition of your heart matters because of the words that come out of your mouth. In my thinking the issue of bad speech or behavior is one of strength. If our good heart is stronger then our nasty flesh then good words will come from it. It speaks to me of how I need to daily feed, encourage and strengthen my heart.
Help me Lord to be strong on the inside today. Help my new heart to win.