Summary: James in our text gives 3 reasons why we should learn to manage our mouth and he backs each reason up with 2 illustrations

Keeping Your Foot Out Of Your Mouth

James 3:1-12

Today we’re going to look at what James has to say about "How to Manage Your Mouth". We love to talk. There are talk shows everywhere. Everybody seems to have something to say. Statistics on the average American. You have 30 conversations a day and you’ll spend 1/5 of your life talking. In one year your conversations will fill 66 books of 800 pages a book. If you’re a man you speak an average of 20,000 words a day. If you’re a woman you speak 30,000 words a day. [Like the guy who was asked, "Do you resent that your wife has the last word?" He replied, "No, I’m just glad when she finally gets to it!"

Some of us are born with a silver foot in our mouths. We have this natural ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Nothing is opened more wrongly at the wrong time than our mouths.

[Like the stock boy at the grocery store. A lady asked him, "Can I buy a half of lettuce?" He walked back to the manager to ask, not realizing she was walking right behind him. He said, "You’re not going to believe this, there’s an old bag out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce." Then he turned around and saw her standing there and said, "And this fine lady would like to buy the other half." Later in the day the manager cornered the young man and said, “That was the finest example of thinking on your feet I’ve ever seen! Where did you learn that?” “I grew up in Grand Rapids, and if you know anything about Grand Rapids, you know that it’s known for it’s great hockey teams and ugly women.” The mangers face flushed, and he interrupted, “My wife is from Grand rapids!” “And which Hockey team did she play for?”}

Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble. James talks more about the tongue than anybody else in the New Testament. Every chapter in the book of James says something about managing your mouth. "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." James says, if you can control your mouth, you’re perfect. He’s not talking about sinless. The word "perfection" in Greek literally means "mature, healthy". When you go to the doctor and say, I’m not feeling good. The first thing he says is "Stick out your tongue." Your tongue reveals what’s going on inside of you, not just physically but spiritually. James says, you’ve got to learn to manage your mouth. You’ve got to learn to tame your tongue. You’ve got to get your tongue under control.

James in our text gives 3 reasons why we should learn to manage our mouth and he backs each reason up with 2 illustrations



Our tongue has tremendous influence and control over our life.

Where are you headed in life?

Where are you going to be ten years from now?

Look at your conversation. What do you like to talk about? What do you talk about the most? We shape our words and then our words shape us.

James in our text he compares the tongue to a bit and a rudder. These 2 times, though small like the tongue exercise tremendous directional power.

Consider a bit in a horse’s mouth. You’ve got a huge stallion, 2,000-3,000 pounds, and a 95 pound jockey on his back. The jockey can control the tremendous mighty horse by a little piece of metal stuck strategically over his tongue. Likewise your tongue controls the direction of your life wherever you want to go, and a little bit of a word or a phrase can influence the total direction of your life.

While In the Navy I spent 3 years at New Port News Naval Shipyard, and I had the opportunity to see air craft carriers and submarines sitting our of water in dry dock. If you think these ships are huge in the water you should see them out of the water. Yet, despite their size they are controlled by a small rudder.

Both the bit and the rudder must overcome contrary forces. The bit must overcome the strength of a power horse and the rudder must fight and overcome the strong winds and swift currents that can drive a ship off course. And in like manner, the tongue, must overcome the powerful influences of our fleshly nature.

Th question we need to ask ourselves is where is my tongue directing me to. Is my tongue directing myself and those around me into terrible danger, much like a ship that is out of control and about to crash against the rocks?

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