Taming The Tongue – April 25, 2016

James 3:1, Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Proverbs 21:23, He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.

The current title of the sermon series at Cottonwood Creek is Legit Faith: All Day. Every Day. This study of the book of James, which was written by James the brother of Jesus, is a how-to manual for living life the right way each and every day. So far, the topics examined what James said about dealing with trials, handling temptation, and relating faith and works. This week, James takes up the subject of our tongue. First, James says that our tongues can either make us or break us.

James 2:2 says, “…we all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is mature, able to keep their whole body in check.” James acknowledges the obvious by saying we all stumble in many ways, and he is right. But then he says, if you can master your tongue, you can probably keep the rest of your body in check. In other words, if you can be more careful with your words, you can probably keep the rest of your body out of a lot of trouble. Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from many troubles.”

Our tongues display maturity or immaturity. Our speech demonstrates self-control or lack of control.  If you have one area of focus for improvement in your life, it just might be the tongue because if you can harness your words, your voice tone, your topics of conversation, James tells us that you can keep the rest of your body out of a lot of trouble.

Think about it… if you speak differently to your family, would your family life be stronger (out of trouble)? If you spoke differently at work, would your work situation be better (out of trouble)?  If you spoke differently in your social life, your hobbies, your free time activities, would your life be better or worse? James says it would be better.

So remember this today, what you say can “make you or break you!”

Think about that and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D