James 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless”
James 3:8, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison”
When we became born again it would have been nice if we had a total makeover of the mouth; however, it isn’t so. Although we became new creatures in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we also have with us the old nature or simply put the flesh, which is constantly warring against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). My beloved, the tongue is one of the major battlegrounds in this war and we must wage war daily on this front.
Would you agree that an uncontrolled tongue can sure get us into a heap of trouble? For example, when our teachers all had the same report for our parents: “Nice student, but he talks too much.” Or when we’re on the phone and our mind says, “Don’t spread gossip about Sally,” but our mouth says, “You wouldn’t believe what I heard about Sally!” Or what about those harsh words to the children the other night? Need I go on? I don’t have to for my sake. It’s getting pretty close to home, wouldn’t you agree?
The battle to control our tongue can seem like a losing cause. No wonder James called the tongue “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). So, my beloved given our natural tendency to get into trouble with our tongue, what can we do to gain tongue control? Even though James said that “no man can tame the tongue,” we have help from God and His Eternal Word. Pleas consider the below principles:
(1) Don’t let your tongue speak evil (Psalm 34:13)
(2) Use your tongue to praise God (Psalm 51:14-15)
(3) Promote health with wise words (Proverbs 12:18)
(4) Don’t “badmouth” others (James 4:11)
(5) Instead of boasting, trust God (James 4:13-16)
For these biblical principles to work we must depend on Jesus Christ and His Spirit to guide what we say. Even under the strictest self-discipline and constant monitoring, the tongue’s unruly nature lurks dangerously below the surface. You can tame a tiger, but only by prayer, watchfulness and a dependence on Jesus Christ and His Spirit to guide what we say will, then we will be able to control our tongue. Thus, if you realize your tongue is out of control, seek Christ’s forgiveness and allow Him to change the attitude of your heart and mouth, so they will be pleasing to Him and edifying to others because He alone can give us tongue control.
My words definitely have an effect on others and they most certainly have an effect on me. When I speak evil,
Others words for evil would be: wicked, malicious, immoral, foul, vile, nasty, horrible, unpleasant, disgusting and obnoxious)
I not only reveal the sin in my own heart (Luke 6:45), I also reinforce that evil and cause it to grow. Jesus said it’s not what goes into my mouth that defiles me, but what comes out. James put it another way, “The tongue … defiles the whole body” (James 3:6) Thus, my untamed tongue corrupts me.
However, on the other hand, when I refuse to give expression to impure, unkind, ungodly thoughts, I begin to choke and strangle the evil in my soul. That is why the wise man said in Proverbs 13:3 that we must guard our mouth. When we do that, we starve he evil that is gnawing insidiously at the root of our soul. Do we want to put an end to the evil that so easily rises within us? With God’s help, we must learn to control our tongue.
You may say, “I’ve tried to, but I have no power to subdue it.” James agreed, “No man can tame the tongue”. But Jesus Can. Ask Him to “keep watch” over your mouth (Psalm 141:3), and hand the bridle of your tongue to Him. Let’s echo the prayer of the hymn by Frances Havergal, “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages for Thee.”
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles – Proverbs 21:23