I am more and more convinced that the highest calling of the church has got to be getting a handle on our words. Sure you may say that we are to witness of Christ, making disciples, and teaching everything that Jesus taught but in an of those very things are a numerous amount of words. The challenge we face is the consistency of our words no matter the context in which they are used. James in his epistle reminds us that salt water and fresh water do not flow from the same well nor should praising God and cursing of man come from the same mouth. (James 3:9-12) Since Jesus reminds us that the words that cross our lips are merely exposing the deeper darkness that plagues our hearts, we must be willing to submit ourselves to the transforming power of God in order for our words to reflect Christ. (Luke 6:45)
The question we face is, how do we engage in a way that transforms our hearts and words to reflect Christ. The short answer, renewal. We need a constant dose of God's Word poured into and over our hearts. Paul tells the Romans and the Ephesians that there must be a renewal of the mind(Mind/heart). (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24) This is because we have clung deeply to old self patterns adopted from the world and we are daily immersed in the barrage of worldliness. We must turn to God's Word to counteract those influences, trust in His life giving Word and commit to obedience to His Spirit. That's where transformation begins!
As we engage in the renewing of our mind we must understand that this will lead to refinement in our lives. Refinement is when God exposes the darkness that is still residing in our hearts. God uses the everyday moments of life in conjunction with His word to make us aware of things that we would rather keep hidden or ignore. When the words come out of my mouth that I wish I could put back in, an opportunity has arisen to let God make me aware of the heart issues I still deal with. It is in these moments where we are tempted to tell ourselves I know better and I'll never do it again. That lie keeps me from understanding that my heart desires were what overflowed in the words I used.
Instead I need to do some research and begin to ask questions about what those words exposed about my hearts desires. Since worldliness can be narrowed down to pride and lust, the words I use will either reflect a submission to Christ or a form of pride or lust deep within my heart. When the words we use do not reflect Christ they do reflect something. Is Christ King or am I? What was I wanting that I didn't get? Were those wants in line with what God wants? Who am I serving by saying those words? Difficult questions to ask yourself but important to get to the heart issues. (those are not an exhaustive list of questions one could ask but you get the picture)
As we research the motivations of our hearts, within the context of renewing our minds, we will often find ourselves in the need of repentance. This is the opportunity to face God with our failed words and darkened heart places and seek help to turn the opposite direction. This is a chance to embrace the fullness of grace in the midst of our failures and experience the love that propels us toward the new life that has already been granted just not enjoyed.
Having made the commitment to go another direction than the one we have been heading we begin to replace the old patterns with the beauty of God's way, the Christlike patterns that are described in the Scriptures. (Colossians 3, Ephesians 4, 5, 6, etc) Pretty much all of Scripture provides insight toward living a Christ-like life, whether through emphatic instructions like put on/put off statements, or examples of the past provided as a warning for our lives today. Either way we must make a habit of obedience before it becomes a natural outflow of our lives. So, while renewing our minds we become aware that words we are wanting to use may not reflect Jesus so well, we obey Christ by not saying them and we dig down deep to find out what's motivating those words, we seek God's help to put those selfish motivations to death, and celebrate God's graciousness in helping us to see areas in our lives that don't reflect Christ and His willingness to change us so we can.
Remember as a believer we are all on a journey of sanctification and God will finish what he has started.