Have you ever said something you wish you could take back?
R Ellsworth once said “The tongue is the little hypocrite in our mouths that can make big hypocrites out of us.”
It is frightening to think that something as small as the tongue can cause such incredible damage.
We’ve all experienced cruel words from others but what about the words that come out of our very own mouths?
I was challenged by this the other day as I spent time in the book of James. I found James 3:9 particularly confronting because it says that sometimes we use our tongue to praise God and other times we use it to curse those who have been made in the image of God. Ouch!
How confronting is that! I love praise and worship and I love prayer. But I have never considered that with that same mouth that I praise God I also wound those created in His image.
It can be very easy to compartmentalize what we do and say with God and what we do and say to others. But to God it’s all the same as they have all been created in His image. God asks us to love Him with everything we have and then to love others in the same way we love ourselves. Matt 22:36-40
James is very clear that our tongues are powerful and not easily tamed in fact he says that it is much easier to tame all kinds of animals than our tongues!
In fact if we were able to control our tongues (v2) we would be perfect, and we would be able to control ourselves in every other way.
There is a huge amount of power in the tongue.
If the tongue is so powerful, yet so wild, how are we possibly going to tame it?
I want to share with you 4 things we need in order to move from a tongue that is controlling us to a tongue that is under control.
1) We need Holy Spirit
We cannot do this on our own. The tongue is simply too powerful for us to control. Just think of how many times it gets us into trouble! The only way we are going to be able to tame our tongues is through the power of God’s Spirit working within us. Galatians 5:16 reminds us that when we allow Holy Spirit to guide our lives we wont be tempted to follow our sinful nature. His Spirit empowers us to overcome anything, even an unruly tongue.
2) We need to be willing.
This is a critical area to deal with in our lives as James said in verse 2, ‘for if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way’. James is saying that this is such a powerful tool and if we can control it, then controlling other parts of our lives will be a lot less challenging. This tells us that it is vitally important for us to learn and grow in this area. The only way we are going to be able to do this is if we are willing to humble ourselves and repent for sin in this area.
3) We need to embrace a new way.
Instead of allowing critical, hurtful words to come out of our mouths we need to exchange them for words that breathe life and love to others, Ephesians 4:29. This requires discipline on our behalf. We can choose to make it our business to fill our mouths with good things rather than poison.
How wonderful it would be if there were no differentiation between the words we speak to God and the words we speak to others?
If the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts were acceptable in the sight of our Lord, Psalm 19:14.
It is only by the power of Your Spirit that I will be able to control my tongue. Help me to think before I speak and in those moments choose to speak words that speak life and love into other people’s lives.
Question: In what situations do you struggle the most to control your tongue? You can leave a comment by clicking here.