• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • February 2016
    M T W T F S S
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And 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, (James 3:6 ESV)

taming the tongueIn this verse, James is essentially telling us to watch our big mouths. If we don’t watch over our tongues, we are in for big trouble. (Proverbs 21:23 ESV)

Have you ever met someone who did not seem to have a filter between the mouth and brain? This type of person does not put his brain in gear before putting his mouth in motion. It is reported that once a woman approached John Wesley and told him that God had given her the talent to speak her mind. Wesley replied that God would not mind if she buried that talent.

We have all heard the children’s proverb that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The problem with this saying is that it is untrue. Words may wound you more deeply and longer than sticks or stones. They can affect people for life. This is why Solomon tells us that a gentle tongue encourages life while a perverse tongue breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4 ESV)

James writes that the tongue is a fire which corrupts the whole body and sets the way of life on fire. The tongue is so important to every part of our moral character, there are no parts unaffected by it. The unrighteous world serves as its fuel while the uncontrolled tongue defiles its possessor. Solomon writes:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Proverbs 18:21 ESV)

In the verse above, note that the tongue can also promote life. The Scriptures teach us that our words should be good for building up and give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)  According to Proverbs 15:4, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life.” Wise words can bring healing. (Proverbs 12:18 ESV) The redeemed of the Lord are empowered and transformed to exercise greater control of the tongue when they submit to the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, there is new life in abundance.

Therefore, Christians are to speak words that make peace, build up, give grace, forgive, bless, impart wisdom, promote life, turn away wrath, pray, glorify God and praise Him. If you wish to discipline your tongue, you must change your thinking. The Christian who is serious about changing his conversation habits must focus his heart and mind on that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 ESV) Does such self-discipline seem impossible? Remember: “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

“When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.” (John Piper)


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