Taming of the Tongue
Verse 8 …but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
By now in our discussion about the tongue we all know the problem it is in our lives, but how can we try to control it?
As humans we know that it would be impossible to control the tongue in every instance. And yet that isn’t an excuse to not do our best to keep it in check. It isn’t just about trying harder. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to control it enough to make a difference in our lives. It has to come from our giving control of our thoughts and speaking to the Holy Spirit’s control.
This surrendering our tongue to the Holy Spirit actually starts with a surrender of our lives to Him. Controlling the tongue is part of the Fruit of the Spirit – self-control. Being able to live in self-control comes from living in the Spirit. Our tongue gets us into trouble when we are living for self. We lash out because we aren’t getting our way or we are hurt. We gossip because we want to appear better than others. Each time our tongue gets out of control is reveals a heart that is living for self.
Remember Jesus said that it was out of our heart that we speak (Luke 6:45). Jesus said this as He was teaching that we can tell about the heart of a person by their actions. He said we would know if someone was good or evil by the fruit of their life. James understood this connection and that is why He is stressing this so firmly.
We need to ask ourselves if we are living for self or God. And if we are living for God, we need to make sure we are continually making the choice to follow Him. If we are living for self, we need to stop, repent and make the needed changes in our thoughts that will help us see what keeps us from living as God would have us live. Only when we are living for God instead of self, can we as a church be living the loving way that will reveal our relationship with our Savior.
We ended our time yesterday with the thought that we can use our tongues to tear people apart or we can use them to build each other up. To build someone else up we must turn our focus from self and see the needs of others. This is what James was seeing that concerned him. He knew it needed to be corrected. It remains true today.
Making It Personal
Do you see your tongue as a problem in your life? Do your words reveal a love for God or self? What needs to change for your words to reflect a love for Christ?
Making It Personal Kids
What does Jesus say that our words tell about us? How does having a relationship with Jesus help you talk nicer? Do you talk in a way that shows you love Jesus?
Father, we can’t control our tongue with our own power, we need You to do a cleansing work in our hearts. Teach us where we are living against Your ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.