Summary: I. Why must I manage my mouth? A. My Words Determine Where I GO B. My Words Can Destroy What I HAVE C. My Words Display Who I AM II. The Solution A. Get A New HEART B. Ask God for HELP C. Think before you SPEAK

Managing Your Mouth

Today we are going to look at what James tells us about “Managing Your Mouth”. People love to talk. We love to watch talk shows. Everybody seems to have something to say. Everybody has something to talk about. Did you know that the average American has thirty conversations a day and will spend a fifth of their lives talking. In one year if all your conversations were written down with just your words – they would fill sixty six books of eight hundred pages per book. On the average in America – a man will speak twenty thousand words a day. If you are woman – you will speak thirty thousand words a day.

Some of us are born with a silver foot in our mouths. We have the natural ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble. James talks more about managing our mouths – than any one else in the Bible. Follow along with me as I read from James chapter three:

“We all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”

James 3:2 (NKJV)

James says that if you can control your mouth – you’ll be perfect. Go ahead and circle the word “perfect”. The Greek word for “perfect” does not mean – sinless. What it means is – mature or healthy. James tells us that to be spiritually mature or spiritually healthy we must learn to manage our mouths.


Why is it so important to manage my mouth? Look at what Jesus says in Matthew chapter twelve:

“I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36 (NASV)

I think that what Jesus is saying that we will give an accounting for not just for our careless words – but that we will be accountable for every word we speak - even the careless ones. Words are significant. Words are important. With your words you can build others up and with your words you can cut people down.

“Sticks and stone can break my bones – but names will hurt my feelings.”

Be very careful how you use words. Every truth can be turned into a lie – just by twisting it a little. That’s why Jesus said we would be accountable for the words which we speak. Let me give you three reasons that we need to manage our mouths:

Reason number one:

1. My Words Determine Where I GO

Your words have a tremendous influence over your life. James gives us two illustrations of this fact. Let’s look at James chapter three – verses three and four:

“Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.” James 3:3-4 (NKJV)

A huge horse – even a Clydesdale – can be controlled by a bit in its mouth. The ocean liner – The Queen Mary – has three acres of recreational space on board. The anchor weighs more than ten cars. Yet it is steered by a small rudder that keeps it on course.

Go ahead and circle the word “turned”. A horse is "turned" by a small bit. A ship is "turned" by a small rudder. Your car is "turned" by your steering wheel – and your life is "turned" by the words you say. Your words are the steering wheel of your life. It is the guidance system. If you don’t like the way you are headed now – change what you say.

A guy joined a monastery where silence was valued. Each new monk was given a probation period of three years. At the end of each year each monk was allowed to speak two words. So at the end of the first year the young monk said, “Bed hard.” The second year can and went and the young monk said, “Food cold.” At the end of the third year the young monk said, “I quit.” The head priest said to him, “That doesn’t surprise me. All you have done is complain the whole time you’ve been here.”

James tells us that the words we speak direct our lives. We need to control what we say.

Why must I mange my mouth – point two:

2. My Words Can Destroy What I HAVE

Look at what James tells us in verses five and six:

“The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6 (NKJV)

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