Ps. 12: 3-4 "May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said "With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?"
"Our lips are our own..." Those who speak thus, according to David, speak deceit. They flatter their neigbors (v. 2) and boast about themselves. (v. 3) "They speak idly everyone with his neighbor..." (v. 2); the words they speak serve no useful purpose. Those who speak such things, and those who allow themselves to listen, waste valueable time. Such talk ends in oppressing the vulnerable (v. 5) and the Lord will bring judgement upon those who engage in it. (v. 5)
In this day we value our personal autonomy. Our very dignity as persons is tied to our supposed authority to decide our own destiny. We Americans fought a revolution on the principles of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Yet sinful men and women say, "My lips are my own." If God's Word tells us this is what the sinful think, then the truth must be the opposite. Our lips are not our own. We are not to speak deceit or flattery, to curse anyone made in the image of God. (James 3: 9-12) Instead of flattery, we are to speak words that build up, edify, that warn against sinful conduct and ungodly thinking. (Gal. 6: 1-2, IThess. 5:11, Jude 22-23) Yes, the Lord has given us the freedom to decide what we speak. But we are not free to exercise this freedom free from acountability to a holy God. Our words will bring upon ourselves either blessing or curses.
If our lips are not our own, does it not logically follow that our thoughts are not our own? Christ said, "...what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man...But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adultries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Mt. 15: 11, 18-19) If we are not free to speak what we like without being accountable to a holy God, and if what we speak is the result of what we think, then our own thought life is not our own either. The carnal person responds: "This threatens my very self identity, my very individuality, my dignity and worth as a person." The Christian must respond with a resounding "No!" In salvation and sanctification, we become more like our savior. As we spend time in Christ's presence, Christ transforms us into the person He wants us to be. We begin to think His thoughts and desire what He desires. We are then able to see our neighbor as Christ sees them so we no longer use our lips to flatter and deceive but to bless them. Our thought life is freed to think about God, Man and ourselves as God truly created us to do. We are free to produce fruit that pleases God and confirms to ourselves and others that we are indeed redeemed. You see, none of us are really free. We are slaves, either to God or to sin. (Rom. 6: 15-23) The only freedom we have is to choose our masters: the master of our lips, our thoughts, our very being.
All Scripture quotations from the NKJV