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TONGUE - TAMED OR UNTAMED?

Saturday, 13 January, 2018

Proverbs 15 : 1-33

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” - Proverbs 15:4 [KJV]

Over 100 times in the Book of Proverbs alone, the “tongue” has been mentioned which points to the importance of the subject. What comes forth from our mouth is to be given careful attention as the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21).  Hence the wholesome tongue is referred to as a tree of life- nourishing our entire life!

James tries to explain the power of the tongue in James 3:1-12. A person who can control his tongue has the ability to control his entire body. James 3:2 says, “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” Like a bit kept in the mouth of a horse that helps control it, the tongue has the power to control the entire body. A horse is tamed by controlling it by using the bit; likewise, a tongue tamed to speak the right way can help direct the life of a person in the right course.

James 3:6 compares the tongue with fire. A small spark of fire can set the whole forest on fire and such is the case of a tongue left untamed. Although the words that come forth the mouth seem small, it has the power to cause significant damage. James 3:8 goes on to say “… It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” A tongue has the power to destroy relationships, crush spirits and cause irrevocable damages. See the need to tame the tongue!

In a reprimanding note, James asks how we believers can continue to praise God and curse people with the same tongue! How can words of praise and curse come out of the same mouth?  “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” (James 3:11).

Instead, what does God expect from us? God expects us to speak forth:

  • Words of wisdom and knowledge— “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom…”(Prov.10:31); Proverbs 15:7 says, “The lips of the wise spread knowledge.”

  • Words of encouragement: It says in Proverbs 12:25: “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”  See how right words cheer up someone!  “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov.16:24)

  • Words of nourishment: Proverbs 10:21: “The lips of the righteous nourish many.”

  • Words of blessing: Jesus says in Matthew 5:44: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Although the words we speak are often left unanalysed, remember words that come out of the mouth have to be given an account of; Jesus says in Matthew 12:36-37:  “I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  How much we need to give careful thought to our words!

If our existing lifestyle is not aligned with the Word of God, we need to make a decision to change. We need to ensure we speak words that are acceptable in the presence of God; not words that cause anger and hatred but words of love, joy and peace. Let this be our prayer!

Prayer- (based on Psalm 141:3): “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. In Jesus name, Amen”

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