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Summary: Christian discipline begins with taming your tongue. You must control your tongue, realize that it is a spiritual indicator, and that their is power in our words.

Taming the Tongue

James 3:1-12


We have been talking about having a faith that works.

We have looked at: Trials and temptations, Listening to and doing the Word of God.

Playing favorites, and last week faith and working your faith by being active.

James you remember is talking to believers, he is the half brother of Jesus and he himself was not a believer until after the resurrection of Jesus. I believe Jesus made a special point to reach James in his faith. This week let’s see what James says in chapter 3 about taming your tongue, and watching what you say. James 3:1-12. James 1:26-27 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” The religion James talks about is taking care of orphans and widows. He has pain-stakingly given the Christian directions on keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world, and in this chapter on the tongue to keep us from polluting the world by getting control of our own tongues.


General Robert E. Lee was once asked what he thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army, an officer who had made some mean-spirited remarks about him. Lee thought for a moment, then rated him as being very satisfactory. The person who asked the questions seemed troubled. “But General, I guess you don’t know what he’s been saying about you.” Oh yes, answered Lee. I know. But I was asked my opinion of him, not his of me” controlling our tongue is one of life’s greatest challenges. The tongue is very small but very powerful. The primary function of the tongue is to chew, swallow, and to speak. Animals such as the lizard, ant-eaters, frogs, use their tongue for food gathering. The human tongue has over 9000 taste buds. Most people think that the bumps on our tongue are the taste buds. They are on the surface, but smaller than the bumps on the tongue. The medical term for the bumps are papilla and they are used to create friction between the tongue and the food. 85 % of the people can curl their tongue into a tube. Tell the truth You just tried it The Guinness world record for the longest tongue is not Gene Simmons from the band KISS. It is Stephen Taylor at 3.74 inches long. The tongue muscles that guide your food are the same muscles you use to speak. From there the problems deepen. As babies we teach our children to talk, waiting anxiously for them to say their first words. As they get older, say teenagers, we wish they could be quiet, say till they are 30 years old. Words are like dynamite, if used properly and in the right place they are beneficial. Used improperly and in the wrong place they can produce a lot of damage. Which words would you like to hear? I love you, your important to me, thank you, you look nice. Or you disgust me, I hate you, never speak to me again. James wants us to understand something here this morning. Words are powerful They can tear down or build-up. They shape our lives and define who we are by the words we use.

3 points to this message this morning.

I. The Tongue has to be controlled

II. The tongue is a spiritual indicator

III. There is power in your words.

I. The tongue has to be controlled


“ When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example, although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder” James creates word pictures in our mind, we can imagine a horse being turned around with one yank of the reins, a ship being guided by the rudder steering a ship. James addresses teachers in V1-2, be careful what you teach, watch what you say because you will be held accountable for your words. Matthew 12:36-37 “But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. James tells us we must get control of our tongues. We must have understanding both of restraint and direction. There are times when speaking your mind is saying too much. Times when our anger has gotten out of control and we have stepped over the line. Times when that juicy tidbit we just have to share should be kept to ourselves. There is negative people in the world. They just have to share things that tear down, hurt, destroy. 5 minutes with them and you feel like you need to take a shower again. Bite your tongue is something you must do

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