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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bite Your Tongue

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
James 1:26

The book of James talks a lot about the tongue.  As humans we sometimes have a hard time keeping a tight rein on the tongue, as the verse above suggests, but as Christians, we must try. Why? Because we are to live as Christ lived.  He is our example. And also, as the verse above tells us:if we don't keep a tight rein on our tongues, we deceive ourselves and our religion is worthless. No Christian would want a worthless religion, would they?

Think of all of the negative ways we can use our tongues:  gossip, slander, curse, criticize, lie, humiliate, vent anger, complain and there are others we could list. So, obviously, there are many, many ways to use our tongues.

I had a friend who once said she was in a conversation and she had to "bite her tongue".Then she said, "Literally!" She was half-way joking, but I thought about that. How many times would it have been better for me to have "literally" bitten my tongue than to actually say what I said?  Too many times, I'm afraid. Although I have worked to control my tongue a lot, I have to admit that I still have a long way to go to have total rein on it. But, God knows that and He is aware of the struggle it is with me and maybe with you, too.

Look at the following passage of James 3:2-10:

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

So, we see in that passage that James says (in God's inspired Word), that no man can tame the tongue. Does this mean we can never have a tight rein on it? Or does it mean that no man can tame it on his own? I believe that it's the latter.  I can not control it totally on my own. I must rely on God and His Spirit to help me control it.

Much damage can be done by the words we say. On the other hand, much good can come from the tongue. Some positive ways to use are tongues are for praising God, or encouraging and uplifting others, for confessing to God and to others when we've done wrong, for teaching others and telling others about Jesus, and many others ways.

These are the ways we should use our tongues - to glorify God and in the name of Jesus. 

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:17


Gray said...

My toes are hurting, but this is an area that is easy for us to forget our Christlike attitudes. Thank you Lori!

Helene said...

Wow I'm beginning to think God is just saying "go, girl, throw her another one she needs to hear." :-) I remember when they did James in church and I thought yep, that's me.
But then a couple years alter, yesterday my basement was flooding from drain backup which it never does. My best buddy due to the recession has been living with me and fixed up the area my son moved out of last year in the basement. After he left for work I checked and saw the backup coming in. When he got home (a plumber and $1200 later) I asked why he hadn't told me when he was leaving. He said he saw the kitchen light on but thought if he told me I'd say "What do you want ME to do about it?"
I was soooooooo sad. I've read the Love Dare and realized I do the part about treat everyone you barely know very nice and the ones you love not so nice at times.
I started praying a little harder for both our relationship AND me.

Helene said...

after, not alter :-)

ps keep going-I NEED your daily bible study :-)
Off to the food blog...

Wa Wa Waughs said...

I totally agree with you...however, I think sometimes people say things in writing, by email, whatever, that are even harsher. Things they wouldn't have the guts to say to your face. Happened to me and my husband both this summer, and we dealt with it quickly by phone! It was hard, but good to not let it linger...

Lori said...

Thanks, everyone.
Helene - I think we are all like that...consistantly nicer to those we don't know. We can all work on it!

Robin - I've had two of those types of emails myself in the past. Not pleasant. Thanks for the great point!

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