TAMING THE TONGUE
. . . no man can tame the tongue . . . (James 3:8)
Have you ever seen those animal shows where they teach certain pets all kinds of tricks? It’s incredible. Then people walk away with all that prize money and I start thinking about the utility value of my pets! But then I think about all that work it would take and I just tend to keep things the way they are between pooch and me. And if I think about it, I tend to do the same thing with my tongue. James says you can train all kinds of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, but you never can tame that tongue. It is an unruly evil and full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8). I try to clean up that wagging peace of muscle between my teeth but it always wants to work out and get me into trouble. Is there any hope?
Oh course . . . there’s always hope in Jesus! Not in myself, mind you. I face defeat in any attempt to change my life without God’s help and power. But with Jesus all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Here are some key concepts from Proverbs to balance out what James says about the tongue:
1) DON’T SPEAK TOO MUCH - (Pro 10:19) In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
2) THINK ABOUT YOUR WORDS BEFORE YOU SPEAK THEM - (Pro 15:28) The heart of the righteous studies how to answer . . .
3) ONLY SPEAK WORDS TO THE BENEFIT OF THE HEARERS - (Pro 18:21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue . . .
4) SPEAK ONLY AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME - (Pro 25:11) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.
Now I don’t know if I can remember these verses all the time but with the Lord’s help I know I can speak for His glory and the benefit of my listeners. And a prayer will help, too. Here’s a good one from the Psalms that we can claim together right now:
(Psalm141:3) Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.