I was reading in James the other night and I started the third chapter. Goodness, did it hit me like a ton of bricks! I’d read the chapter before but it never really stood out to me. I mean, I understood the general principle of the whole thing, but it never really too root.
James 3:1-12 says, Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
I came across something a few years back and have done it a couple of times. It was called a Tongue Fast. Basically, you don’t speak for a set amount of time. You have to write down everything that you want to say. EVERYTHING! It is amazing how much you rethink things when you can see the words in writing. Then you learn what’s worth saying and what isn’t. What is edifying and what is demoralizing. The venom that we spew from out mouths without really thinking about it is amazing. I’m guilty of this. I have learned though that I have to really strive to control what I say when I’m frustrated or upset. The reason is, that I started to notice that my kids were behaving the same way. Your children are a mirror of you. Some of their behaviors are learned. Depending on their age, those behaviors are taught to them by you. So, what is the condition of your tongue? Does it control you? Does it seethe venom when someone wrongs you? The things that you say can be an indicator of your true character. To praise God in one breath and then turn and speak ill of a fellow believer in the next breath says that you have a heart condition that needs to be addressed. Ask God to reveal to you the areas of work that need to be taken care of and ask for His guidance in that work. Oh the joy to be had in the completion of that work. =) Be Blessed!