We love to talk. Nothing is opened more wrongly at the wrong time than our mouth. Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble. James in Chapter 3 says, “If you can control your mouth, you’re perfect….”— literally “mature, healthy.” Three reasons we have to learn to manage our mouth.
MY TONGUE DIRECTS WHERE I GO: Our tongue is like a rudder that steers us. Don’t like the way you’re headed, change the way you talk. Some people think it may be best not to say anything.
A guy joined the monastery. He was given a three-year probation period where he was not to speak at all, at the end of each year he could say two words.
At the end of the first year he said, “Bed hard.” At end of the second year he said, “Food cold.” At the end of the third year he says, “I quit.”
The head priest says, “Doesn’t surprise me. All you’ve done is complain since you got here.”
MY TONGUE CAN DESTROY WHAT I HAVE v. 5 James gives another illustration: Imagine a beautiful forest, tall beautiful trees everywhere. Now imagine it in one minute up in smoke, completely destroyed by a tiny match. A careless camper can destroy an entire forest overnight. A careless word can destroy a life overnight. Gossip like fire, spreads quickly, wrecks havoc.
Fire and words under control can give tremendous warmth and light, but fire and words out of control can be devastating.
A couple comes in for marriage counseling. “I said this and then she said that, then I said this…” Then what happened? “All hell broke loose.”
MY TONGUE DISPLAYS WHO I AM. It reveals my real character. It tells what’s really inside of me. James says, “With the tongue we praise God and with the same tongue we curse men who’ve been made in God’s likeness. From the same mouth come praise and curses. My brothers, this should not be.”
Cursing here means any kind of put down. Have you heard someone say, “I don’t know what got into me. It’s not like me to say that. I don’t know why I said that. It’s totally out of character.” James would say, “No, that is exactly like you. Quit kidding yourself. What’s inside is going to come out. What comes out of a well is what is inside of it.”
Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Your tongue problem is more serious that you think, for it is heart related.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? Get a new heart
Ezekiel 18:31: “Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit!” Painting the outside of the pump doesn’t make any difference if there is poison in the well.
Ask God for help every day.
Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips so my tongue can direct where I go; it can destroy what I have; and most of all, it clearly displays my true character.”
Bottom line—don’t let your tongue lick you.