He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.Proverbs 22:11(NASB)
Perhaps one of the more important areas in most lives is relationships - our communion with God and affinity with others - and the book of Proverbs contains a wealth of advice and information on maintaining fellowship with the Father and our relationship with one another. Here, we discover that the one who loves purity of heart and is gracious in their speech is a friend of the King, and honours the Lord.
Despite its simplicity, this verse supplies an abundance of wisdom that can place our feet on the path of purity and the road of righteousness. Solomon advises, "he who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend." This great king of Israel identifies pure motives and godly thoughts combined with gracious words, as the character traits he associates with his trusted friends.
Many of his proverbs provide insight into developing a godly character, well-pleasing to the Lord, and here in chapter 22, we discover that the pure in heart and gracious in word are those who command the king's friendship. Purity of thought and graciousness of speech streams from an unpolluted mind that is centred on God.
It is not only the presence of a pure heart and gracious speech from which flow the fruit of the Spirit that is so attractive, but the absence of an ugly, bitter soul that spews forth hypocrisy, malicious words, and all that accompanies a proud heart and a selfish, self-righteous soul. As James rightly points out, "Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" Can gracious, godly words and those that are rude, uncouth, hostile, inconsiderate, and insensitive be spoken from the same lips?
No matter what one's station in life, geographical location, or bank balance, Solomon identified purity of heart and graciousness of speech as the characteristics he found so endearing in those he chose to call his friends. Such are the character traits we recognise in faithful servants of God like Joseph during his sojourn in Egypt, and prayerful men like Daniel during his time in Babylon.
Purity of heart and graciousness of speech were two of the attributes that described the Lord Jesus. He was the eternal Son and incarnate Word Who was "full of grace and truth." He was the perfect Man Who caused his enemies to say, "no man has ever spoken like this man." He was the Holy One of Israel Who at the start of His ministry caused people to "wonder at the gracious words that fell from His lips."
Both purity of heart and graciousness of speech are character traits we should all seek to develop, but neither are possible in our own strength. Purity and grace only comes through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but in Him we have everything we need for life and purity, goodness, and grace.
May we who have been saved by grace through faith put on the new man and abide in Christ, day by day, for we have been made a new creation in Him: "Created according to God's likeness - in righteousness and purity of the truth."
May our speech be gracious and pleasant at all times, seasoned as it were with salt, so we may speak the truth in love. May we encourage and edify our brothers and sisters in Christ, with gracious words and pure deeds - so we remain in close fellowship with our heavenly Father and become the living testimony to our fellow man.
Heavenly Father, what a wealth of truth there is in the book of Proverbs. Thank You for reminding me that You desire purity of heart and graciousness of speech in Your blood-bought children. May the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart, the actions I undertake, and the motives behind all I do, be pleasing in Your sight. Purify my heart I pray, with the burning coal of Your purifying fire so that after I have been tried, I may come forth as gold. I pray that all my words may be seasoned with salt and spoken in love for Your greater praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.