How To Control Your Tongue

The 3rd chapter of James began by saying “not many of you should become teachers.” The reason? Because of its responsibilities, start with learning how to control your tongue.

We all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.  James 3:2

I’m sure you have heard the phrase; “sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The Bible though, says this in Proverbs.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords. Proverbs 12:18

As we continue in James, he made some comparisons of how much power the tongue contains.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. James 3:3-4

The horse’s bit and the ship’s rudder are proportionately tiny compared to the task they are asked to do. Look what James said about the tongue.

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. James 3:5

My words don’t get me into trouble like they used to. I think that comes from a combination of age and experience. But I can identify with the tiny spark of words.

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:6

Curses and Blessings

The tongue can spew nasty, sinful words one moment and encouraging words the next. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what is coming out next.

Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.  James 3:10

James said, brothers and sisters, this is not right! Then he brought some logic into this conversation.

Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. James 3:11-12

You Control Your Tongue

I can’t control your tongue, and neither can your pastor or anyone else for that matter. Trying to put a clamp on your tongue would do no good, either.

James said we can tame other things but not the tongue.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8

In reading the words that Jesus spoke, he said the tongue is only part of the problem. Your tongue is your mouthpiece, it isn’t your source.

For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you.” Matthew 15:19-20

Control Your Tongue

You see, you are the only one who can bring any kind of control to your tongue. And if you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time you should know this;

God doesn’t give us formulas for living a Christian life. You can, however, take some steps to help control your tongue. Below are 5 of them.

Steps to Help Control Your Tongue

1. Dedicate yourself to the Lord every day. Starting with your heart and mind.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45

Be careful what are you filling your heart and mind with?

2. Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of your words before they come out of your mouth.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Take responsibility for the words that come out of your mouth.

3. As Christians we have many “rights.” Complaining isn’t one of them.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9

Enjoy the rights you do have, don’t exercise the ones you don’t have.

4. Ask forgiveness for your unloving words

If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2.

Work on changing the way you speak so you can demonstrate His love.

5. Make it a habit to speak words of encouragement, comfort, and edification.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

Lord, help us all to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Check out some other posts related to how we relate to others.

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