21st May 2012

The Tongue

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
James 3:8 (NIV)

Have you ever thought about the power of the tongue? It is the very power of creation! John 1:1-3 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” Note that the one who creates is called “The Word”, or one who speaks.  Genesis 1:3 says, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Note that God spoke in order to create.

This is God’s perfect use of the tongue. However, a sinister being is at work who corrupts the use of the tongue. The serpent in the garden of Eden tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit with the lie, “You shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This is the first lie recorded in the Bible.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” The tongue, if misused, is a very destructive weapon that can destroy relationships and reputations. None of us are perfect in this regard.  James 3:10 comments that, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things the Lord detests, and the last two in verse.19 are, “a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissention among brothers.”

Sometimes we can talk too much, as we see in Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Think before you speak and ask yourself, what would Jesus have you say?

There are things that should be kept private without others knowing. “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbour, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:12-13). You need to ask why you feel the urge to pass on a secret. Is a voice in your head egging you on to speak inappropriately? Beware! This is Satan working through the flesh. The only spiritual voice you should listen to is the gentle whisper of the Lord. (1 Kings 19:12).

Heavenly Father, we confess that we don’t always say what we ought. Help us to realise how powerful the tongue is and use it wisely for the benefit and uplifting of others. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Paul Bartlett

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