“If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and
could also control ourselves in every other way.”
Thoughts… When James uses the word “perfect,” he doesn’t mean sinless. The word “perfect” literally means mature and healthy. And according to James, your tongue is what gauges both your spiritual maturity and spiritual health. Just think of your tongue as a spiritual dipstick, measuring the level of your spiritual vitality.
Your words direct where you go; they can destroy what you have. But most of all, they disclose who you are—the real you! As Jesus explained in Matthew 12:34, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Simply put, your words simply display what you already are.
If you’ve got a problem with your tongue, it’s much more serious that you think: What you really have is a heart problem. A person with a harsh tongue has an angry heart; a negative tongue comes from a fearful heart; an overactive tongue means an insecure heart; a boastful tongue is from a prideful heart; a filthy tongue has an impure heart; a critical tongue reveals a bitter heart. On the other hand, a person who is always encouraging has a joyful heart. One who speaks gently has a loving heart. Someone who speaks truthfully has an honest heart.
So if you have a tongue issue, what you really need to do is deal with your heart problems. How might you do that?
To begin with, you’ve got to get a new heart. Mouth control begins with a heart transplant. Ezekiel 18:31 says, “Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit!”
Painting the pump doesn’t make any difference if there is poison in the well. You can change the outside, try to turn over a new leaf, but what you really need is a new life. You need supernatural surgery from the Great Physician
Ezekiel 36:26 says of God, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” David prayed in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Maybe you ought to pray that prayer right now, because God is in the heart transplant business.
Then once God gives you a new heart, ask him for help every day. You need supernatural power to control your tongue. You can’t do it alone. Your life is living proof of that. That’s why we’ve got to daily ask God to help us. The psalmist prayed in Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
That’s a great verse to memorize, then pray every morning: “God, muzzle my mouth. Don’t let me be critical or judgmental or harsh today. Don’t let me say things that I’ll regret.” If you ask God for help, he will.
Finally, develop the discipline of thinking before you speak. Back in James 1:19, we were told, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” In other words, you must engage your mind before you put your mouth in gear. Control your thinking and you’ll control your speaking. Control your speaking and you’ll control you whole life. And the best way to control your thinking is by filling your mind with the Word of God. What goes into your mind gets into your heart, and what gets into your heart, comes out of your mouth.
There are 800,000 words in the English language, 300,000 are technical terms. The average person knows 10,000 words and uses 5,000 in everyday speech.
If you will allow God’s Word to dominate your mind, your 5,000 everyday words will begin to reveal a truly mature and healthy person.
Prayer… Lord, help me to use every single word today to bring glory and honor to you and life to those around me.
One More Thing… “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” —Mother Teresa