Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bite Your Tongue

What is in your well?
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~James 3:8

There have been times when I have said something which I immediately regretted. Every so often my old sin nature will rise to the surface and in the heat of the moment I will say something that I must apologize for later. How is it the same tongue which we use to praise God and to read aloud the Holy Scriptures can be used to lash out and hurt those around us? James compares our mouths to wells of water and asks a question; can we draw both fresh and salt water from the same well?

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? ~James 3:9-11

James says you shouldn't be able to find both fresh and salt water at the same well. That happens because we just don’t have our tongue under control; we have not tamed it. This past Sunday Pastor gave is five points to remember as we seek to tame our tongues; they were:

  1. Recognize you will be held accountable for what you say. 
  2. Recognize the tongue’s tendency towards evil. 
  3. Recognize the tongue is a spiritual EKG of your heart. 
  4. Recognize it is humanly impossible to tame the tongue. 
  5. You must recognize your continued need for Christ. 

 Thinking back to James’ illustration of the tongue as a well, we should ask ourselves a question; what kind of well am I? Can people come to me and find something which blesses and refreshes the soul, or is it possible that they may find salty, bitter and undrinkable water polluted by sin. Where does this salty water come from? If our mouth is a well of water, then it is our heart which is the spring supplying it...

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. ~Matthew 15:18

When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees about His disciples eating with unwashed hands, He used the opportunity to point out it is not that which enters into a person which defiles them, but that which comes forth out of the heart. It is not some outside influence or circumstance which causes us to sin. The outside influences are catalysts which reveal the sin already present in the heart. It is like taking a glass of water in one hand and striking it with the other. The result is water on the floor. Water does not end up on the floor just because you struck the glass, but because when the glass was struck there was water already in it...

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. ~Proverbs 4:23

When we say those things which require an apology later, then what we really want to look at is our heart. When the Bible speaks of our heart in this manner it is not talking about the muscle pumping blood throughout our bodies, but it speaks of the inner person where our thoughts, emotions, soul, and spirit are; the part of us where only we can see and no one else. The writer of this proverb exhorts us to keep or guard our heart with all vigilance. We are to guard our hearts against the evil and corruptive influences of this world. When we allow worldliness into our lives, even a little, we will see it later in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Oh yes, there is One other who can “see” into our hearts...

If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. ~Psalm 44:21

Pastor was right when he told us it is humanly impossible to tame the tongue. That is why our need for Christ, even as believers, will never ever diminish. That is what the Gospel is all about. I hope you have agreed to and joined in memorizing this verse from the Psalms as a reminder of how much we need God when it comes to taming our tongues...

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! ~Psalm 141:3

1 comment:

  1. I have found society is teaching us today to be quick and aggressive with our words, especially as a woman. I do find that I have to hold my tongue a lot, not to become quick to anger. It is a challenge especially when others immediately use his or her words to bring me down. I feel that in societys eye, when I think before I speak or hold my tongue, it makes makes me dumb, weak or wrong. It is definitely a challenge that I know will only make me stronger and more faithful in trusting God.