Summary: The changes God wants to see in us.
Extreme Makeover: Pierced Tongue
This morning we’re going to continue our series on Extreme Makeovers, what God would do in each of our lives to help us look more like him and less like the world. We’ve looked at a Broken Heart, Dirty Hands, and having Cross Eyes. This morning we’re going to be talking about having a pierced tongue.
When I was a youth pastor, I got exposed to a lot of things that are popular with the youth of today (music, fashion, the relationships, the drama) and I can understand a lot of it, I can even relate to some of it, but I will probably never understand the fascination that some people have with body piercing. It just looks painful and it seems that it would be awkward to have metal sticking out of so many areas of your body. Despite my thoughts, tongue piercing continues to gain in popularity as more people have the procedure done.
From the world’s perspective, a pierced tongue makes you think of youth, rebellion, maybe foolishness and impulsiveness. You see the piercing or piercings and its hard not to jump to a quick judgment. It is a very visible and outward sign that’s hard to miss. God is calling for each of us to have a very visible and outward sign of our loyalty to Him in the form of a pierced tongue. Obviously we’re not talking literally here but for a Christian, a pierced tongue is one that has come under the control of the Father. In the times of the Bible, piercing had a whole different meaning and significance. In the book of Deuteronomy, we have a practice of piercing laid out for us. When a slave had served his master for six years it was the custom of the day to offer that slave their freedom, to allow them the opportunity to leave and have independence. If that slave loved the master and desired to stay with the master, a visible sign was needed to mark that loyalty and submission to the rule of another person. The slave’s ear was placed against a doorframe and an awl was pushed through it, their ear was pierced as a sign of voluntary submission and slavery. Piercing meant loyalty and devotion, a choice had been made to give up personal freedom to serve another. This is the piercing I’m talking about when it comes to our tongues, having a tongue that comes willingly under the control of another.
Controlling our tongue is one of the toughest battles we will face in our spiritual lives.
Our words and our speech are to be glorifying to God and used to build up those around us. It doesn’t take people long to get a feel for a person through the way they talk, the tone they use, the words they choose, a pierced tongue is going to sound different.
It’s going to be free of :
- coarse joking
- hurtful words
- negative talk
It’s going to be full of:
- Positive talk
- Healing words
The Bible is full of references to the importance of the tongue in the lives of a Christian because if we can’t control the tongue, the rest of our growth is going to be in vain. The tongue is the key to our maturity as a Christian.
James stresses this point in chapter one and verse 26.
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
Our spiritual disciplines, our striving for maturity, all of that is wasted if our tongue is out of control because our tongue is the true measure of the change that’s taken place on the inside. Often we deal with the more impressive issues of faith, the seemingly more important issues, we may fast, spend hours praying, memorize whole books of the Bible, all of these are good things and commanded by God but if we fail to control our tongue, James says they are worthless.
We’re going to be spending the majority of our time in the book of James, chapter 3.
But, before we look at that passage, I want to look quickly at why it is so important for the Christian to control their tongue, what’s the big deal. So we slip up every once in a while and say things without thinking, does that really hurt anyone? I’ve already said that a pierced tongue is the key to maturity as a Christian but that may be hard to believe, it’s such a small part of our body how can its impact be so large? Well, here’s why.
See, the Bible says that all of us will give an account to God for what comes out of our mouths. We need to control our tongue because the day will come when we will answer to God for every word that comes out of our mouth.