Summary: Fourteen benefits of Spirit led restraint in our speech. Many problems could be avoided if we learn how to restrain our lips using discretion, tract and Spirit-led self-control. Prevention is better than any cure.

The Benefits of Restraint (James 1:19-21)

Solomon wrote, "Where there are many words, trangressions are unavoidable but he who restrains his lips is wise."

James wrote, "Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." (James 1:19)

Preventive Tactics

Things you should never say once without thinking twice:

It’s no trouble at all.

I love dogs.

We have plenty of room.

Call me any time.

Is there anything I can do?

My husband is a doctor/lawyer/accountant.

I’ll try anything once.

Of course, bring the kids.

Why don’t you stay for dinner?

If worst comes to worst, you can use mine.

Don’t worry—there’s more where that came from.

Over my dead body, you will!

Hester Mundis, Powermom (Congdon & Weed)

1. Jesus knew the His brother James would write, "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 3:2) The Lord Jesus was the only man who constantly controlled His speech. Ask the Lord to help you model your conversations after the pattern of the Master.

2. Jesus knew that where there are many words, transgressions are unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The Lord Jesus used few words, but chose them carefully. Ask the Lord to help you weigh your words carefully so as to speak as Jesus would speak.

Illustration: One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. - Will Durant

If you don’t say it—they can’t repeat it. - Wilbur C. Munnecke, quoted by Ann Landers

Lou Gehrig was once hired by a breakfast-cereal company to promote a cereal named “Huskies,” but when the radio interviewer asked Lou what he attributed his strength and stamina to, he quickly answered, “Wheaties.”

It would be better to leave people wondering why you didn’t talk than why you did.

3. Jesus knew that whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. (I Pet. 3:8-10) The Lord knew that we would be judged by our words so He cautioned people about unbridled tongues. Ask the Lord to help you avoid speaking evil and deceitfully to anyone at anytime.

4. Jesus spoke with gentleness, but with authority. The great Savior never lost self-control. Jesus knew, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger." (Prov. 15:1) The Lord Jesus controlled the tone of His voice. Ask the Lord to help you disagree with unrighteousness, but to speak without being harsh in tone.

5. Jesus knew that people who do not keep a reign on their tongue risk destroying their own credibility. The Lord knew that James would write, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." (James 1:26) Ask the Lord to bridle your tongue even when your emotions seem to be out of control.

6. Jesus knew how damaging thoughtless words can be. The Lord Jesus was mindful of Proverbs 12:18 which says, "Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal." Ask the Lord to let you more of a healer and less reckless with your speech, conversation and teaching.

7. Jesus knew the power of kind words and the destructive impact of cruel speech. The Lord Jesus was mindful of Proverbs 15:4 which says, "Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit." Ask the Lord to help you to be a little kinder, be a little blinder to the faults of those of others and to praise a little more."

8. Jesus knew that our basic integrity or lack of it is reflected in our speech. The Savior remembered the words of Solomon who wrote, "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight." Ask the Lord to help you speak with 100% integrity in all occasions.

9. Jesus knew that there are great rewards for those who learn to control their speech. The great Shepherd brought to mind the words of Solomon, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits." (Prov. 18:21) Ask the Lord to help you

develop your mind, will and emotions in Christ so that you can reap the rich rewards of a fruitful tongue.

10. Jesus knew that most people would fail to control their tongues so He designed an effective strategy. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven." (Matt. 5:11,12) Ask the Lord to remember your blessings and rewards that are yours when you patiently endure insults for His name’s sake.

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