Yesterday was a moment of growth for me. In a moment of frustration, I allowed my tongue to spit out harsh words. It can happen so quickly and leave you with a chip on your shoulder for hours if you let it. I found it hard to shake the feelings of frustration. It quickly started to suck me down and for some time I didn’t care. I let it. Thankfully, I had some pretty amazing women around me that helped lift my spirits and laughter came to the forefront.
Why are we so quick to let the tongue control us? To control our emotions? The Lord is constantly refining us, reshaping us and helping us to grow to become more spiritually mature. Today I was lead to James chapter 3 – Controlling the Tongue.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
What we say and what we don’t say are both important. An untamed tongue can come to light in many different ways. Gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering and lying. Sound familiar?
Before we speak it may be wise to ask ourselves: “Is what I say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
Although we may not achieve perfect control of our tongues, the Holy Spirit will help us learn self-control. Remember that we are not fighting this battle with our own strength. The Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s love. And for me, he reminded me of his love through those who loved me. He reached out through them and helped me smile. He reminded me of the preciousness of life, the power of laughter and the control the tongue can have over our thoughts and speech.
God works to change us from the inside out. When the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, he gives self-control. My prayer is that He may give you the self-control you desire today. That you can use your tongue for the good you have in your life. To bless others and praise Him. To encourage your friends, your spouse and your loved ones. And when it does start to rage on with flames of hurtful or destructive words, you can pray for control.