Daily Word

Watch your words | Matthew 12:33-37

33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Matthew 12:33-37 (NLT)

Tree and fruit

Jesus is continuing to address the Pharisees in their rejection of Him and generally leading the people away from the Father. It’s pretty simple. A tree is known by its fruit. My parents owned a fruit farm when I was younger so we spent all our summers and most weekends in the spring and fall on the farm around fruit. The scent in the middle of acres of apples at harvest time is wonderful! When there is no fruit on the tree, to the uninitiated, all the trees look the same. But as soon as fruit appears, it’s easy to tell which is an apple tree, a cherry tree, pear, etc.

Jesus is pretty direct with His rebuke: “You brood of snakes! You are evil men. You can’t speak the truth.” Based on what they say (calling His work the work of Satan), He makes the judgment that their hearts are evil.

Watch your words

“For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” The original Greek reads more like the ESV: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Whatever is in your heart – evil or good – is what comes forth in speech (and actions). A simple analogy is you can find out what kind of tea is in the tea bag when you put it in hot water and the flavor and scent seeps out. Trials and tests expose what’s in our heart. So watch your words for they will tell you what’s going on in your heart. They won’t lie – especially in a trial.

Judgment day

And it doesn’t stop there. It’s not just in this life that words have an impact. The words we say (and I would say the actions we do) will be evaluated and judged at the end. “The basis of justification and condemnation is character, but words reveal character, so they become the instruments by which God judges. Jesus’ critics thought they were assessing Him when they said that He did His works by Satan’s power (v. 24). Jesus pointed out that they were really assessing themselves.” (planobiblechapel.org)

From this point on in His ministry, Jesus and the religious rulers have a clear separation. He continues His ministry despite them and they make it their number one goal to rid Israel of Him.


  • When others look at the fruit you bear, what do they see? Good fruit that blesses others and brings glory to God? Or bad fruit that only serves yourself and even harms others? You may need to make a tough decision to make big changes. Maybe you haven’t become a follower of Christ yet. If not,  click here.
  • When you are in a trial or test, what comes out of you? We can be coy and expertly control our words, but we know what’s really in there wanting to come out…a reflection of our hearts. Do we trust the Lord in all situations, relying on His control?
Typewriter power of words. Image from Pxfuel.com

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