Summary: The small but mighty tongue.
Watch Your Mouth
Freedom of speech...just watch what you say. Today we will be looking at one of the most powerful forces on this earth. Our speech. What we say can have great influence and impact upon our lives and the lives of others.
James starts off this chapter with an admonition to those who speak publicly as teachers. Because the teacher has great influence by his/her words, they are held to a higher standard. The teacher is to be judged more strictly, because the influence of their words is great. How many of you ever questioned what your school teacher was teaching? Unfortunately, many people speak without being grounded (jailhouse lawyers, barstool lawyers, armchair quarterbacks). Those who speak without proper knowledge and foundation can be devastating to those around them.
Here’s a news flash for you...no one is perfect. A perfect man could control what he says. He would be perfect because his ability to control his mouth would carry over into all areas of his life.
The power of the tongue is an amazing thing. James compares the tongue to 3 symbols of power. Horses, Ships and wildfire. Each is very large and powerful, but is controlled by something very small. It takes very little to change the course of each of these things. Similarly it only takes a few words to hurt, encourage, destroy, heal, etc... James uses the analogy of an evil fire. Let’s think about what a fire does. A fire brands, a fire burns, a fire scars. Your words can be a beginning place for evil (bitter words, cursing, enticing). As a beginning place that means that words can also be the doorway to bigger evils...affects the whole person (stands in God’s way).
Can the tongue be tamed? The Bible tells us that we are able to tame all sorts of animals, but that the tongue is unstable (praising one moment/cursing the next). The tongue is even recognized as the most harmful of man’s body. I liken the activity of the tongue to Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde. The tongue can do some great things, here are just a few examples:
1. praise our Lord
2. pray to God
3. confess our sins
4. encourage others
5. sing unto the Lord
But there is a dark side, for example:
1. curse men
2. mock God
The Bible tells us that both cannot be present within a person. You must realized that what comes out of the mouth comes from the overflow of the soul. The fruit of the tongue is the harvest of the soul. I challenge you to look at the fruit of your tongue. Ask God to show you what truly resides in your soul. Let Him transform your life that your tongue be a source of glory for His kingdom.