The mission statement for this weekly blog is: Bridging the Bible and Real Life. I pray I am accomplishing this mission for you, because this study of the Book of James has certainly caused me to do an in-depth real-life examination. Today’s scriptures caused me to pause and assess my recent conversations.
First church must have had serious problems with their tongues because much of the Book of James is about the words we speak. In James 3:3-12, he compares the tongue to six objects to demonstrate the power of words. The six objects are:
- A horse’s bit – James 3:3 – “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.” Just as a small bit can control a wild, unmanageable horse and keep him from harming rider or those nearby, a decision to control our tongues can control our wild, unmanageable words and keep us from harming those we spoke to or those who heard it.
- A ship’s rudder – James 3:4 – “Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.” Avoid the strong winds of gossip, bullying, and verbal abuse that harms all on life’s ship with you by controlling your tongue.
- Fire – James 3:5-6 – “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” Just as a small spark can cause a destructive forest fire, our heated words can cause great damage in our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
- Poisonous animals – James 3:7-8 – “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” “The deceptive thing about poison is that it works secretly and slowly, and then kills. How many times has some malicious person injected a bit of poison into the conversation, hoping it would spread and finally get to the person he or she wanted to hurt?” (Warren Wiersbe)
- A fountain – James 3:9-11 – “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” The answer to this question is sadly, “Yes!” Sister Watermelon shouts the loudest “Amen!” during the Worship service and just as loudly defames someone’s character on the parking lot.
- A fig tree – “12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water”. A plant produces fruit according to its nature. Also, the water that feeds the plant/fig tree must be fresh water because salt water will kill it. We must be true to our new Christian nature and stop drinking from the salty spring of negative thoughts and words of our old sin nature.
How can we control our tongues? I have several suggestions:
- Pray this scripture: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
- Refuse to argue – “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
- Speak healing words – “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).
- Meditate on this scripture: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” Luke 6:45. (“What we say reveals what’s currently dominating us – the righteousness of Christ or the sinfulness of our flesh.” (Living Free Indeed blog).
Are you pleased with your recent conversations? If so, you are a very spiritually mature person. Share with us how you tamed your tongue. Are the words from your mouth an area of concern for you? What will you do to tame your tongue? Join the conversation.