Barnabas loves to play with balls. He’s not the greatest at fetch because he doesn’t always like to bring the ball back. More often than not, he’ll chase the ball, catch the ball, then settle down on the grass to chew on the ball. Good times! To help him understand the concept of releasing the ball, we tried playing with several balls at a time. The crazy dog will chase and catch one ball, then chase the next and try to pick it up without dropping the first. The result is one frustrated pup and one tickled “mommy.” It’s hilarious to watch him try to fit two balls in his mouth at once. Eventually, he realizes he can’t do it and drops the first ball in order to pick up the second one.
As I watched my hyper pup, Psalm 34:1 came to my mind–I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. The thought struck me that just as Barnabas can’t hold two balls in his mouth at once, neither can I hold praise and complaints in my mouth at once. No, if God’s praise is continually in my mouth, there’s no room for criticism, hurtful words, or murmuring. It’s either one or the other. Not both.
The Bible makes this clear in James 3:10-12, which says, Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Blessing or cursing. Not both. It’s just not right.
As this year draws to an end and a new year begins, I pray I keep my mouth full of the right things like praises to God and words of encouragement to others. With my mouth packed full of positivity, there will be no room for the negative, which leaves a nasty taste and results in a bitter spirit.
So, I ask you, what’s in your mouth today? Is it full of complaints or praise? I’m pretty sure it’s not full of tennis balls like Barnabas’.