James 3:5-8 – “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” NKJV
Years ago I heard a message preached on THE TONGUE and specifically the destructive power of gossip and rumors. After the service the Evangelist asked for anyone who had a need to come forward for prayer. One lady who was well known for the sharpness of her tongue and the propensity to spread rumors or as she called it “news” came forward. She said, “I want to put my tongue on the altar.” The pastor gasped and the Evangelist, without missing a beat said, “Ma’am that would be a miracle for the altar is on 10 feet long.” Snickers rippled through the congregation but the point was made and numerous people came forward to confess their misuse of the tongue and asked forgiveness of God and members of the Body.
The rudder of a ship is quite small in comparison to the size of the vessel but that small rudder can turn a ship in the direction desired. A match is a small thing but one careless match can start a raging forest fire that will destroy thousands of acres of land. The Bible tells us that a “soft answer” turns away wrath but a “harsh word” stirs up strife. The passions can be ignited by the tongue as the words are spoken that bring pain and/or joy. The tongue can be our greatest asset or enemy depending on what is controlling it. If the carnal man is in control then it will be an enemy but if the Spirit of God is setting watch over it will be an asset of incredible power.
Proverbs 18:21 declares that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof.” Peter declared in I Peter 3:10, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” Paul taught the Ephesians in 4:29 they were to “let no corrupt communication proceed from their mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” David prayed in Psalm 19:4, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
In Proverbs 15:4 we read that “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” In Philippians 2:14 we are instructed to “do all things without murmurings and disputings.” In Proverbs 13:3 we find, “He that keeps his mouth keeps his life: But he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” We are instructed to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
Back to Proverbs 18:21 in harmony with the other passages we cited we realize that what we say and how we say it is incredibly important. If my mouth is filled with the Word of God, my heart tends to follow and my mind focuses on those words. If my mouth is filled with doubt and fear, my heart tends to follow and my mind focuses on the negative, death and destruction. I am not suggesting mind over matter but I am saying that we need to allow the Holy Spirit set a guard at our lips and let our words be the Words of the Spirit of God.
With the tongue we praise and with the tongue we curse that is a conflict and contradictory. A spring does not give forth sweet and bitter water and a tree will not produce both good and bad fruit. Therefore it is incumbent on us to guard our words and let them always be seasoned with the Salt of God’s Truth.
Blessings as you go through this day in Him!